A study in orange and pink

Stowe House Preservation Trust is very proud to unveil the newly-restored Temple Room, historically known as the State Drawing Room, finished in the Spring of 2021.

As the sister room to the Music Room, it followed a similar evolution. Both rooms are thought to be the creation of Vincenzo Valdrè, a Venetian artist patronised by the Marquess of Buckingham.

According to the Seeley guidebooks (the historic guidebooks which describe the changes in the house and gardens between 1744 and 1838), the room has had at least four different decorative schemes since its creation. SHPT aims to bring most of the State Rooms back to round about 1800, since this was the height of the power of the Temple-Grenville family under the Marquess of Buckingham. But often the date of choice depends on how much physical evidence still exists within the room and how much archival evidence there is for a particular date. The evidence that made our choice of date a little harder than usual was the presence of two images of the room – one little watercolour painted by a frequent guest of the family, and the other watercolour by one of Queen Victoria‘s favourite painters (see images).

Extensive paint scrape research uncovered an unexpected décor of the ceiling – the background of the panels, rather surprisingly, displayed three different shades of pink for the period when the walls were orange. Sometime between 1825 and 1845 the ceiling panels were repainted in an off-white, as seen in the 1845 painting. It was decided that, since the orange scheme on the walls was more unusual – there are very few examples in the country of such a bright, Georgian, decor – this was the most appropriate scheme for the restoration. The pièce de résistance is the beautiful, hand carved, chimney piece from the original which is in Spain. A 3D scan was taken and turned into the opulent structure we see today.

We were delighted that our efforts were highly commended in The Georgian Society Architectural Awards of 2021 for a restoration of a Georgian interior.

Our next project is to finish the State Dining Room, a room that has witnessed many an historical and school banquet, the ceiling of which was restored last year.

We would like to thank all the donors who have contributed towards the restoration project – we couldn’t have done it without your generosity.

Anna McEvoy, Stowe House Preservation Trust