Clandon Park: the Speakers’ Parlour

The Speakers' Parlour at Clandon Park following the fire, showing the carpet being removed. Also visible is a large frame from which a portrait painting was cut, in anticipation of the fire reaching this room, which fortunately didn't happen. ©National Trust

The Speakers’ Parlour at Clandon Park following the fire, showing the carpet being removed. Also visible is a large frame from which a portrait painting was cut, in anticipation of the fire reaching this room, which fortunately didn’t happen. ©National Trust

It has just been confirmed that the Speakers’ Parlour at Clandon was not damaged as severely in the recent fire as many of the other areas of the house.

The ceiling of the Speakers' Parlour propped up, and the chandelier removed. ©National Trust

The ceiling of the Speakers’ Parlour propped up, and the chandelier removed. ©National Trust

This family dining room was named after the portraits hanging there of the three members of the Onslow family who were Speakers of the House of Commons: Richard Onslow (1528-71, ‘the Black Speaker’), Sir Richard Onslow, 3rd Bt and 1st Baron Onslow (1654-1717), and Arthur Onslow (1691-1768, ‘the Great Speaker’).

View of the west front, showing the remains of the ground floor Saloon. The Giacomo Leoni-designed chimneypiece, with its overmantel relief of Mars and Venus, is visible through the second window from the left. ©National Trust

View of the west front, showing the remains of the ground floor Saloon. The Giacomo Leoni-designed chimneypiece, with its overmantel relief of Mars and Venus, is visible through the second window from the left. ©National Trust

The important plaster ceiling in this room remains in place and has now been propped up. The chimneypiece, designed by the house’s architect, Giacomo Leoni, also survives.

One of a pair of giltwood side tables in the manner of John Gumley and James Moore, made in about 1725, both salvaged from the State Bedroom. Inv. nos. 1440548.1&2. ©National Trust

One of a pair of giltwood side tables in the manner of John Gumley and James Moore, made in about 1725, both salvaged from the State Bedroom. Inv. nos. 1440548.1&2. ©National Trust

The Regency ormolu chandelier, the Regency steel grate and the Turkey carpet in this room have been taken into protective storage, as have all the paintings that hung here, including the portraits of the three Speakers.

Rooftop view of Clandon following the fire. ©National Trust

Rooftop view of Clandon following the fire. ©National Trust

Jim Foy, the general manager for Hughenden Manor who is currently leading the salvage operation at Clandon, comments: ‘We are still limited in terms of access while structural engineers assess the building. The weather is also a big factor, as we wait to see how the building responds to the high winds we have had over the last couple of days.’

List of rules to be observed in the Servants' Hall at Clandon, eighteenth century, confirmed salvaged from the fire. Inv. no. 1441224. ©National Trust

List of rules to be observed in the Servants’ Hall at Clandon, eighteenth century, confirmed salvaged from the fire. Inv. no. 1441224. ©National Trust

Jim adds: ‘We are incredibly grateful for the continued support we are receiving from volunteers, external specialists, the fire service and many others.’

20 Responses to “Clandon Park: the Speakers’ Parlour”

  1. CherryPie Says:

    Thank you for the update.

    I can appreciate how the winds we are currently experiencing are an additional worry.

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Yes, the walls are still standing, but the roof and most of the beams are gone.

  3. Andrew Says:

    Lots of good news about the survivals. Lets hope the structure can be made safe. I suppose props and braces will be high up the list, followed by scaffolding and a temporary roof.

    Do we have any information on what has definitely been lost?

  4. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    No we don’t have that information yet, but we will provide updates as soon as we can.

  5. Steven Says:

    Hi Emile

    Thank yuou for the updates.

    I was thrilled to see in the new NT video that both the Barlow ‘birds’ from the Marble Hall were saved! I have a question, not about what has been lost, (as I understand this will take time to confirm), but about particular items that may have been saved: are you able to confirm that the wonderful Zoffany and Wright of Derby pendants were removed from the house unharmed? Also, a previous poster indicated that two huge pictures were away for restoration work. It was said that these normally hang in the stone staircase, (one was said to be a Barlow). Can you confirm if this is correct, and name the two paintings please? Many thanks, Steven

  6. Susan Walter Says:

    Good news about the Speakers’ Parlour. It will be fascinating to watch the Trust dealing with this. It will really focus many people’s jobs and be tremendously rewarding.

  7. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Thanks Steve. Yes that video can be seen here: http://bit.ly/1zIKWfc

    Indeed it is wonderful to see that the Barlow picture of the cassowary from the Marble Hall was saved as well. And I also saw in that video the two busts of Africans from the Marble Hall, the portrait of the ‘Black Speaker’, cut out from its frame, and the portrait of the 1st Earl of Onslow in Windsor uniform, both from the Speakers’ Parlour, and the Chippendale-style ‘pagoda’ dressing table from the State Bedroom (from the Hannah Gubbay bequest).

    I haven’t been given any further details yet. We will provide more information as soon as we can.

  8. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Susan, at the moment the predominant emotions are sadness and determination, mixed with some relief about the things that have been saved.

  9. Andrew Says:

    Thanks for the link. The video is great.

    The fragment of charred book lying on the ground is just so sad.

    Several paintings, sculptures, and furniture, but I don’t see much (anything?) from the Surrey Regiment museum, or ceramics.

  10. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    I don’t have any information about those items at the moment.

  11. Neil J Says:

    So sad that this has happened. My abiding memory of the house was Mrs Gubbay’s birds. Were any of them rescued?

  12. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Neil, I’m afraid I don’t have any information on those yet.

  13. Steven Says:

    Hi Emile

    Many thanks for continuing to update all concerned with the future of Clandon Park.

    Are you able to find out if the Zoffany and Wright of Derby pendants were removed from the house before their respective rooms were lost? Also, is there any further detail on the two very large paintings that were said to be off-site for restoration when the fire broke out- I understand these usually hang in the stone staircase, and that one was a Barlow. the other may have been the enormous Wooton. I was thinking that it should not be too difficult to confirm that the two paintings were not at Clandon at the time of the fire(?). Like other posters, I am deeply concerned that it appears that from all the photos we have seen- and the salvage video, that none of the Gubbay porcelain collection, (in particular the extraordinary Chinese birds), was rescued from the house. Is there any news on this please? It would be a relief to know, one way or the other.

    Many thanks,

    Steven

  14. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Steven, I haven’t been told anything specific yet, beyond the fact that the colleagues involved have been doing their utmost to safeguard, assess and inventorise the objects that have been salvaged. I will provide more news as soon as I get it.

  15. Steven Says:

    Hi Emile

    As the weeks pass without any further news I think a lot of us are beginning to fear the worst. At the risk of being repetitive, is there any more you can tell us- particualrly in relation to the more important contents that are confirmed as saved? (By now the Trust must have compiled an inventory of the most important contents confirmed as safe, i.e. saparate from the items you/ they have confirmed in previous weeks).

    On another matter which I thought worth mentioning: as thus far there has been no commitment, not even in principle, on the part of the NT to rebuild/ restore the house, I suspect some supporters will withhold making significant donations until the NT’s intentions for Clandon are made clear. After the fires at Hampton Court, Windsor and Uppark, no matter how damaged Clandon is it can still can rise again. (Even if this involves rebuilding the great majority of it). As, for example, the designs for Leoni’s ceilings are well documented, it would make for a wonderful opportunity for craft workers. Of course, while insurance matters will be critcial to this, I suspect serious donations may be slow in coming until supporters see a commitment to restore a house the Trust accepted to maintain in perpituity.

  16. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Steven, I take your points. An lot has been going on at and related to Clandon, but most of that has necessarily been behind the scenes. We will bring out further news as soon as we can.

  17. Andrew Says:

    Perhaps needless to say, many of your readers are keen to hear some news! Presumably the structure is safe now? Is there is a reluctance to say definitively what is or is not saved until you have finished combing through the wreckage?

    Food for thought here – http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/545458d4-fae9-11e4-9aed-00144feab7de.html – regarding what can be preserved (in the light of the Clandon fire, and ISIS in the middle east) and the Japanese attitude to periodically reconstructing their heritage buildings.

  18. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Andrew, thanks very much for that link to that thoughtful article. I think the points about both preserving traditional crafts, methods and skills and using the latest science and technology to analyse what remains is very much part of the National Trust’s ethos. The rebuilding of Uppark was an example of that.

    I don’t have any more information about the situation at Clandon, at the moment, but further announcements will be made as soon as possible.

  19. Andrew Says:

    Well, there is this now: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-33188322

    And this: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1355900250028/#

    Good to hear that reconstruction seems possible.

  20. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Yes, we are hopeful.

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