United Kingdom

Former junk room wins restoration award

The private dining room of Wilton House, once used for storage, has been transformed into a judges’ favourite

The dining room of Wilton House, near Salisbury in Wiltshire, was once used to store junk (Photo: Will Pryce)

A room used for years to store junk has won the 2010 Historic Houses Association (HHA)/Sotheby’s Restoration Award worth £5,000. The 18th Earl of Pembroke received the cheque in recognition of conservation and restoration work to the private dining room of Wilton House, Wiltshire. It will go towards the ongoing restoration of the house.

Work began in 2008 and included the conservation of the dining table, a pair of giltwood torchères, three tapestries and two portraits by Reynolds: Henry, 10th Earl of Pembroke, 1765-67, and Elizabeth, Countess of Pembroke, 1764-67. Restoration works by local company Coade Ltd consisted of creating new caryatids for the doorway (taken from examples in the library), and new chandeliers; The walls were painted a deep teal after an existing paint sample in the room, with a pale stone-coloured ceiling and cornices.

Sotheby’s UK Chairman James Stourton said that the auction house set up the award with the HHA in 2008, “in the hope that the prize might also be an inspiration to other HHA owners”. The Wilton dining room opened to the public on 1 July, meeting the condition that prize-winning projects should be publicly accessible for 25 days per year.

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