And the winner is: Hanbury Hall

©Perry Lithgow Partnership

Two days ago the mural conservation project at Hanbury Hall, which I featured earlier, was given the Pilgrim Trust Award for Conservation at the 2010 ICON Conservation Awards.

©NTPL/John Hammond

The judges praised the project for re-establishing the unity of this historic painted space, enabling the trompe l’oeil effects to be appreciated as its creator, Sir James Thornhill, intended.

Graphic recording the condition of the paint on the north wall. ©Perry Lithgow Partnership

The judges also said that this conservation project has added considerably to our understanding of English Baroque wall painting techniques.

©Perry Lithgow Partnership

It was a good example of the importance of rigorous planning in order to integrate research, specialist advice and conservation skills. The project benefitted from good communication between the conservators, the Perry Lithgow Partnership, and the National Trust staff who acted as informed and collaborative clients.

Michelle Hill with the award. ©National Trust

Finally, the decision to allow the public to view the project up close was another factor in the project’s favour. Michelle Hill, the house steward at Hanbury, and her teams of volunteers organised ‘meet the gods’ tours and other activities to give visitors a better understanding of the murals and of the treatment they were receiving.

6 Responses to “And the winner is: Hanbury Hall”

  1. Guy Says:

    “Meet the Gods” – now there is some proper enlightenment.

    It has always been my biggest delight to be able to climb scaffolds at sites of restoration – I will admit to it being a generally illicit affair in my earlier years – and see what’s happening close at hand.

    This has generally met with ‘No’ whenever I have tried in the UK… fact I tried to have a peep at Soane’ roofline at the Chelsea Hospital stables this morning ( there was a ladder up against the wall) and was denied the look by the gate security. No great surprise really.

    My best recent scaffold climb & wobbliest, was at Tipoo Sultan’s summer palace at Srirangapatna – a mere 100 rupees to see the fantastic (and closed) upper floors of this fantastic ‘villa’ and the all-covering murals.

    My congratulations to Michelle Hill et al.

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Thanks Guy – well done you for being such a persevering scaffold-climber 🙂 And it confirms – as did this project – that there is great appetite out there for closer access to conservation projects.

  3. John J Tackett Says:

    Murals in historic houses in the United States often just get touch-ups by unqualified painters in an effort to disguise the cracks, and over-cleaned with much of the original shading removed. Hopefully, this will be an international model for preservation.

  4. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    John, thanks for your comment. Part of the interest of the Hanbury project was the opportunity to analyse the previous repairs and retouchings and to learn from that.

  5. Toby Worthington Says:

    If ever an award was deserved, this was it! Thank you Emile for enlightening
    us about the process. Your blog is indeed a treasure.

  6. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Toby, glad you approve. However, the blog itself is not a treasure, it merely ‘hunts’ them 🙂

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