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Help colour Scotney Castle

PUBLISHED: 18:08 22 August 2014 | UPDATED: 18:08 22 August 2014

scotney castle

scotney castle

Copyright © 2014 Glynn Roche

As part of the Great British Walk 2014, Scotney Castle in Kent is hoping to encourage visitors to take a walk inside the house and discover some of its lost colours

The National Trust’s annual walking event, running from 8 September to 24 October, the Great British Walk this year focuses on colourful places and stories.

The team at Scotney Castle is shedding new light on the theme with a special house tour, illustrating how light affects and fades colourful objects, such as fragile wallpapers. The property also hopes to raise enough money to hang replacement wallpaper on the stairs, which has been badly damaged by light and damp over the years.

The new house tour, running until 30 September, uses printed sample books showing images of the house’s bright wallpaper as it would have appeared in its heyday. Visitors can then try to match the original colours of the samples to the upstairs rooms now that light, flooding in from huge windows, has faded many of the original hues and patterns of the intricate wallpapers and fabrics.

The light damage is particularly evident on Scotney Castle’s grand staircase, where the gold damask wallpaper has become badly damaged and is in need of replacement.

Laura Edwards, visitor experience manager at Scotney Castle comments: “Visitors will find it fascinating to see how bright and bold the house would have been when it was decorated by the Hussey family who lived here between 1843 and 2006. Sadly the golden wallpaper on the stairs is beyond repair, but we have already commissioned a specialist company to exactly replicate its design so that we can restore the original glow to this space”.

The replica wallpaper, using traditional block printing techniques, was handmade by Atelier d’Offard in France from a sample of the original paper. Measuring 27.5inches wide, each of the 22 rolls of wallpaper are now considered an unusual size.

Funding to reprint the wallpaper was kindly supplied by the John Cornforth Memorial Fund, a close friend of Christopher and Betty Hussey, the last family members to live at Scotney Castle.

Scotney Castle now needs to raise £13,000 to employ specialists to renovate the stairway, which includes repairs and redecoration of the painted ceiling, wood panelling and window, as well as removal of the existing wallpaper and hanging the new rolls.

To date, visitors have helped to raise £8,001 (including £1,229 donated onsite) leaving a target of £4,999 needed to complete the renovation of this historic space.

Laura adds: “Although we’ve already raised the funds to have the wallpaper made, we’ve not been able to hang it until crucial works to repair the roof and prevent seeping damp are finished later this year. We are now hoping to raise the money to hang the paper and bring back some of the original colour to the interiors of Scotney Castle”.

James Finlay, the National Trust’s advisor on interior decoration comments: “From the unusual measurement, the original gold wallpaper was probably of an English damask design and was hung by Christopher and Betty Hussey in the 1950s. David Style, a friend of the couple, discovered the design which Betty described as ‘rolls of a rather, grand, bold patterned wallpaper in two shades of gold, the same period of the house, which looks well on the staircase’. David was a highly regarded decorator, antique dealer and collector who lived near Maidstone in Wateringbury House. The fabrics and wallpapers of Scotney Castle offer some of our greatest challenges to conserve, as the house has so many large windows”.

To donate please visit: www.justgiving.com/scotneycastlewallpaper

For more information on Scotney Castle, log onto: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/scotney-castle

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