Beyond Borders: Fillet and where to find it

One of the most elusive elements of the Breakfast Room scheme has proved to be the wall fillet which ran around the room and which may have contributed to the ‘blue ornaments’ described by Agneta Yorke in 1772. 

During his investigation of the Breakfast Room walls James Finlay, NT Advisor on Historic Interiors, discovered a ‘shadow’ of fillet on the yellow painted paper which runs vertically to the left of one of the window architraves.  This confirms that at some point the fillet ran top to bottom and not just as two horizontal strips around the room.The uncovered pattern of the fillet

James also suggests that this treatment might have been extended to the surround of the fireplace – as demonstrated in the State Apartments at Kedleston – round the door and possibly up the room corners.

Fireplace - State Apartments - Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire

©National Trust Images/Dennis Gilbert

During an in-depth clean of Osterley’s Upper Store several boxes of fillet were discovered including a booklet containing 4 sections of moulding trialled by the V&A in 1987 during the last redecoration of the Breakfast Room.

V&A Trials

Much older versions of the fillet were also uncovered and, excitingly, underneath the gold finish on a papier-mâché example a blue paint is clearly visible.  The fillet will be sent for further analysis in the hope of finding evidence of the 18th century scheme.

Breakfast Room Fillet: Older versions

In addition miscellaneous examples of papier-mâché fillet work were uncovered labelled “Found in Stable loft 2.1.97” and which do not appear to match any existing designs in the House.

Miscellaneous Fillet

These designs add to those still on display in Osterley’s Long Gallery, Drawing Room and State Bedchamber (below) and to that in the Breakfast Room which we are looking to reinstate.  Further fillet updates will follow!

The rest of the collection...

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