Restoration Intern Extortionate Tassels

18 August 2015

Refurbished by the 3rd Duke to the very height of Victorian fashion, this state room oozes opulence. Although there are suggestions that it was earlier used as an Ante-library, this was one of many Drawing Rooms at Stowe, which for obvious reasons was referred to as the Blue Room, and has been restored to its elegant 1860s’ scheme. This was a decision made by SHPT when neither sufficient historical records nor physical evidence could allow for an authentic re-visioning of its Georgian state. Other than this room, the remainder of the house has been restored to c.1800. In 1848 the bailiffs had cleared many of the plush furnishings from Stowe when the 2nd Duke was declared bankrupt. Yet despite his son being similarly indebted, he determined to design the Blue Room with expensive silk damask and gilded ceilings.

When the school opened in 1923, the silk was stripped and the room turned to use as a classroom, and painted a not-so-tasteful pink to ‘complement’ the characteristic blue walls and ceiling that remained.

When SHPT were able to step in, taking on a project that finished in February this year, the school still wished to retain the room as part of the school. It now acts as a function or meeting room. The restoration project cost £420,000, much of which went towards purchasing 23.5 carat gold.

Unbeknown to many of the students and staff that use it, each tassel that ties back the silk damask curtains costs £1000!