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Flooded 17th century Weston Park room 'simply stunning' after renovation - in pictures

By Rory Smith | Shifnal | Attractions | Published:

The renovation of a 17th century dining room at a historic estate which had its ceiling collapse when an upstairs bathroom flooded has been complete.

Weston Park's renovated dining room

Specialist designers have spent months repairing and refurbishing the room at Weston Park on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border after a small section of its ceiling fell through in the summer of 2018.

About 70 people have been involved with the restoration project, which included removing priceless works of art for the first time in 60 years and lowering a half a tonne, cut-glass chandelier.

Weston Park's renovated dining room

The damage to the room occurred when a burst pipe flooded an upstairs bathroom causing water to pour through cracks in the plaster.

Managers at the country estate in Weston-under-Lizard, near Tong, said residential guests and a salvage operation prevented major damage to the room.

The project was coordinated between a design committee, historical researcher, colourist, interior designer and various skilled crafts-people.

The project took months and involved about 70 specialist designers

Painting the room proved a particularly intensive task.

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A team of 12 from Highgate Decorators working alongside each other laid a layer of deep pink, which was chosen opposed to wallpaper to put emphasis on the hanging artwork.

The collection was largely acquired by the Newport family in the late 17th and early 18th century, and include artists such as Thomas Gainsborough, Hans Holbein the Younger and Anthony van Dyck.

The project took months and involved about 70 specialist designers

For the extensive decorative features, shades of lime-white have been introduced in place of pastel colours deemed inappropriate.

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Ceramics have also been protected and the late Regency ormolu and cut-glass chandelier, circa 1825, had to be lowered to the ground.

A number of factors made the renovation tricky, including the ornate plaster-moulded ceilings that are 23ft high and the two-storey windows on a lower and upper tier.

Weston Park's renovated dining room

They are now dressed in new Italian-strung curtains in a shade of taupe with green banding and pink passimenterie, as a nod to the Italian gardens they overlook to the west side of the house.

Injecting more light into the estate has been a theme that has run throughout the projects led by the Weston Park Foundation. This chimes with the approach of Lady Bradford, who spoke of her desire to “bring warmth and lightness to a room” when she oversaw the last project to redesign the space in the 1960s.

Colin Sweeney, CEO of the Weston Park Foundation, said the results of the work were "simply stunning".

Weston Park's renovated dining room

"The new scheme makes the very best of this history of this room," he said.

"It also achieves a look that will appeal to those who join us for the celebrations we host at Weston, or to use it for their own special occasion."

The scheme has been influenced by the historical research conducted by curator Gareth Williams, along with the expertise of colourist Charles Hesp of Hesp Jones and Co.

Weston Park's renovated dining room

Gareth also sits on the design committee along with Rose Paterson, the former head of trustees, Christina Kenyon-Slaney, the newly appointed head of trustees and Colin Sweeney.

Lucinda Griffith, who has worked on the design of many of the bedrooms at the estate, was commissioned for the project. She previously worked for Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler and her experience is recognised and respected in the heritage sector.

The project took months and involved about 70 specialist designers
Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley, Telford.

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