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Castle Dining Room

This room was initially used by Lady Baillie as a Servants’ Hall and divided into three separate spaces. In 1938 she and her designer Stephane Boudin decided to transform it into a formal dining room decorated with 18th century tapestries and Chinese porcelain. The new scheme was nearly finished when the Second World War broke out and the Castle was used as a field hospital. The new dining room was used as a hospital ward where injured servicemen could recuperate.

After the war, the room was finished and Lady Baillie continued to entertain her guests in it right up until her death in 1974. During the last decade of her life, she had redecorated the room with a new designer, Claude Mandron, in a scheme that satisfied 1960s tastes.

In 2015, the room had become faded and tired, with the curtains in need of replacement and the set of five tapestries in dire need of conservation treatment. The carpet had become threadbare and the parquet floor was scuffed and marked. In order to return the room to its original splendour extensive research was carried out to identify the original 1930s wall colour, reweave the specially designed curtain fabric and to decide how best to treat the tapestries.

The paint colour was revealed to be a special dragged-effect ‘water green’, which was a trademark of Stephane Boudin and signified that this was perhaps one of his most significant interior schemes that still survived under later layers of paint. The colour was carefully reinstated by a team of historic paint experts from Crick Smith and once completed, complimented the Chinese porcelain on display.

The tapestries required extensive treatment to clean them, repair light and other environmental damage, and to support the weight of them once they were rehung. The process took two years and involved a specialist wet cleaning technique in Belgium and many hours of conservation stitching at The Textile Conservancy in Kent.