Felbrigg’s collection of 160 architectural drawings is of national importance; a rich resource which, once conserved, will add to the knowledge of the development of the country house in England and the stories of Felbrigg’s dynastic family, the Wyndhams. Highlights include drawings by Restoration gentleman-architect William Samwell (1628-76). His west wing at Felbrigg and the associated drawings are rare survivals, providing valuable insight into his architectural style and working process.
The principal element of the collection is the group of 17 drawings by James Paine (1717-89), one of the most eminent architects of his day. A number are laid out room views - beautiful, hand-coloured three-dimensional impressions in miniature. The drawings of Paine’s Cabinet, an almost unique survival of a Grand Tour room, record its original hang.
The conservation treatment included surface cleaning, repair of tears with Japanese tissue, aqueous treatment to reduce oxidation and raise pH levels, restoring mould-damaged areas and re-joining divided drawings.
This outstanding collection of drawings has a particular resonance at Felbrigg Hall, where improvements added to previous architectural layers, allowing us to understand the chronology of architectural fashions.
The images are courtesy of the National Trust.