State Music Room at Stowe House To Be Restored

Posted in on site, the 18th century in the news by Editor on April 30, 2011

Press release from Sue Bond Public Relations:

Through World Monuments Fund (WMF), The Paul Mellon Estate has announced a pledge of $250,000 towards the restoration of the State Music Room at Stowe House, the magnificent Grade I listed Neo-Classical palace set in 400 acres of landscaped park in Buckinghamshire. The funding means that the work will begin this year and should be completed by 2012-13.

WMF Britain’s Chief Executive Dr Jonathan Foyle said “The generous gift of The Paul Mellon Estate, along with donations from our members, trusts and foundations and others who responded to our recent Music Room Challenge, will allow one of the principal rooms of Stowe to be restored for everyone to enjoy. This magnificent response brings WMF’s £10 million fundraising challenge for Stowe to within £410,000 of its target – wonderfully positive news in these economically challenged times.” Completion of the State Music
Room will allow the core of historic spaces at Stowe to be presented as they
were at the turn of the 19th century, following the recent restoration of the
Marble Saloon and the Large Library.

World Monuments Fund Britain (WMF) included Stowe in its 2002 Watch List of endangered sites and began to support the project by substantially funding the restoration of the astonishing Marble Saloon with its 57-foot-high dome which was completed in 2005. One of the largest and most spectacular spaces to be found in any British country house, the Saloon is an oval version of the Pantheon in Rome. WMF in partnership with Stowe House Preservation Trust (SHPT) has undertaken the daunting challenge of restoring this great mansion with its 400 rooms and 1/6 mile-wide façade.

Situated between the Marble Saloon and the Large Library, the State Music Room is one of the finest late 18th century spaces in Britain, showcasing Italian artistry in the heart of England. Whilst begun in 1676, it was only after a century of ceaseless building and landscape gardening that Richard Grenville-Temple (1711-79), 2nd Earl Temple to some, largely completed
Stowe House, including the south front, the Temple Room and the Music
Room in the 1770s.

The exquisite decorations on the ceiling and walls are the laborious work of Vincenzo Valdre and were completed after 1781. Their style recalls the Pompeian discoveries which had attracted the Marquess of Buckingham on his Grand Tour of 1774. They depict flowers, butterflies and birds and bring a sense of fun with many classical figures cheerfully suspending swags or supporting a cornice. The imposing Corinthian columns at either end of the room are the work of Domenico Bartoli and imitate Siena marble. At the north end they frame a beautiful niche depicting a scallop-shell motif with oak leaves ornamenting its pilasters. The State Music Room was not only used for music and theatre but also for dining and breakfasting, as it still is today. The extensive restoration includes overhauling the heating system, replacing the floors, repairing mouldings and joinery, cleaning and restoring the wall paintings and panels, the doors and the columns, as well as extensive gilding.

From Easter 2011 visitors to Stowe House will be able to admire the recently restored Large Library, one of the most magnificent Georgian interiors in Britain, thanks to the generous support of World Monuments Fund, The Country Houses Foundation, Robert W. Wilson Challenge grant, an anonymous donor, other trusts, foundations and former pupils (known as Old Stoics). This restoration is part of an ongoing major conservation project at Stowe, which will enable the public to enjoy major rooms in the House in all their glory.

To support Stowe, please contact:
Cathy Giangrande, World Monuments Fund Britain, Registered charity no. 1126578
cathy@wmf.org.uk, Website, www.wmf.org.uk

3 Responses

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  1. Patrick Baty said, on April 30, 2011 at 11:04 am

    You may be interested to learn that a limited examination of the paint was carried out when I recently investigated the neighbouring rooms.

    The room has been decorated only twice. It appears that the second time was in the 1960s, probably in 1963 when it ceased to be the Bruce House room.

    It appears that a very pale pink colour was employed on the ceiling bed with a pale dull greenish colour on the cove, walls and other elements. The gilding is original.

  2. Editor said, on April 30, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Thanks, Patrick. Really fascinating, and what a treat to hear from the expert! -CH

  3. Patrick Baty said, on April 30, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    You’re very kind. However, it’s a real treat to come across your newsletter as most of my work is focused on 18th century buildings.

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