The Prince of Wales at Knole

HRH the Prince of Wales walking through the Outer Wicket and into the Green Court at Knole with property manager Steven Dedman and assistant director of operations Nic Durston. ©Professional Images

HRH the Prince of Wales recently visited Knole to learn about the major conservation project that is beginning to get underway there. Among his many duties Prince Charles is also President of the National Trust.

The Prince of Wales ascending the early-seventeenth-century Great Staircase with curator Emma Slocombe. ©Professional Images

Knole is a rare example of a Tudor palace that has survived and accumulated many subsequent layers of decoration and collections. Over time the house has developed some serious structural and conservation problems which are now being tackled.

The Prince of Wales talking to house manager Helen Fawbert in the Ballroom. ©Professional Images

Curator Emma Slocombe guided His Royal Highness around the house. Prince Charles saw how the furniture is cleaned – testing the suction on a ‘museum vac’ – and how pest infestations are treated.

The Prince of Wales and curator Emma Slocombe looking at the decorative plasterwork in the Ballroom. ©Professional Images

He also inspected the ‘Eyemat’, an extremely realistic photographic replica of a seventeenth-century Goan carpet. The Knole team is using this to test how an experimental heating mat, which has been placed below it, will cope with the footfall of thousands of visitors.

The Prince of Wales and Emma Slocombe looking at the seventeenth-century furniture in the Brown Gallery, mostly acquired as ‘perquisites’ – royal hand-me-downs – by the 6th Earl of Dorset when he was Lord Chamberlain to King William III. ©Professional Images

The Prince of Wales appeared to be impressed with what is happening at Knole and the visit gave a great boost to everyone involved with the conservation project.

More images of the visit and a photograph of a previous visit of a Prince of Wales to Knole (1898) can be seen on the Knole Conservation team blog.

8 Responses to “The Prince of Wales at Knole”

  1. Susan Walter Says:

    The eyemat and underlying heat mat are interesting developments.

  2. The Devoted Classicist Says:

    I, too, am interesting in learning more about the ‘eyemat’, its appearance, and how well you think it works.

  3. Richard Says:

    Knole looks like such a fascinating place…Hope to see it son…Love the blog…

  4. Andrew Says:

    The “eyemat” appears to be a protective floor covering, printed to be an exact replica of the floor underneath – see http://www.conservation-flooring.co.uk/

    • The Devoted Classicist Says:

      Thanks! Because of the difference in texture I suppose it could not be a substitute for a fine rug that was too fragile to be stepped on. But the possibilities are interesting.

  5. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Yes thanks Andrew. I haven’t seen one of these Eyemats myself yet, but they are supposed to be amazingly realistic and deceptive. I heard one of them was also used at Dumfries House (where, as it happens, the Prince of Wales was also involved). They allow for people to walk in areas where they otherwise couldn’t, with less use of visually intrusive barriers.

    Thanks Richard. When you go, do report back on what you think of the Eyemat, and everything else :)

  6. Mark D. Ruffner Says:

    Every time I see an article about Knole, the accompanying photo is always that grand staircase — it’s good to see other parts of the house!

  7. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    The Knole Conservation blog (referenced above) does a good job of highlighting all sorts of nooks and crannies at Knole. I will try to dig out some more too.

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