Knole’s big project one step further

Late-seventeenth-century mirror, its ebonised frame inlaid with pierced gilt brass chased with acanthus patterns, one of a pair, probably English, in the Cartoon Gallery at Knole. The pilasters with grotesque decoration are topped by ram’s masks, the old crest of the Sackville family. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has just announced that the Inspired by Knole project qualifies for a ‘first round pass’. This means that the HLF is recognising the project’s potential, and that the Knole team can now develop a detailed business plan for it.

The Cartoon Gallery. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The aim of Inspired by Knole is to improve the state of conservation of the house and its collections ad to put it on the map as one of the UK’s most spectacular examples of  a combined Tudor palace and Renaissance mansion.

Trompe l’oeil grotesque decoration in the Cartoon Gallery, probably created by Paul Isaacson in about 1608 for Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset. ©National Trust Images/Matthew Hollow

Plans for the project include the rewiring of the building, the installation of conservation heating and the creation of an on-site conservation studio which will be open to visitors.

Painted motif of a vase with a small lemon tree or branch in the frieze of the Cartoon Gallery, probably by Paul Isaacson, c. 1608. ©National Trust Images/Matthew Hollow

In addition the Knole team wants to open up more of the attics and tower rooms to the public, to develop new ways of volunteering and to make Knole a centre of heritage skills training.

Gilt table and candlestands in the Cartoon Gallery, thought to have been given to Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset, by Louis XIV in 1670-71. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The HLF will make its final decision about the £7.5 million grant application in 2013, but this initial response is very encouraging and will help the National Trust with its other fundraising towards Inspired by Knole.

The ongoing behind-the-scenes work at Knole can be followed on the Knole Conservation Team Blog.

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