New collection display at Clandon Park
In 2018 we opened up Clandon Park’s basement spaces for the first time, giving you the chance to get a brand-new perspective on the house. This also allowed us to create an exhibition space where we can display some of the objects from the salvaged collection. This autumn, we’re bringing new objects to the display which haven’t been seen since the fire.
We’ve chosen objects which we hope will capture people’s imaginations. They’re a mixture of sizes and conditions to best show the effect of fire and the questions and decisions we face. They may not be as beautiful as they once were, but it’s really unusual to see objects in this state, some permanently disfigured by heat and debris, and to contemplate what happens to them now.
Given that environmental conditions in the basement can’t be as tightly controlled as they once were in the house, we’ve selected salvaged objects which are in a stable condition and are not going to be damaged by changes in humidity and temperature.
What you can see
A once beautiful Chelsea figure from the Gubbay collection takes centre stage this year. Extraordinarily intact given that it fell from the Blue China room into the State Bedroom below, its glaze has become encrusted with lead. This contrasts with a pair of Meissen cattle. Their glaze and colour remain, but they have sustained chips and sadly for one, decapitation.
We’ve laid out the excavated pieces of a rare piercing-blue Sevres basin, also from the Gubbay collection, and the bronze desk sculpture of Mercury, a rare survival from the display upstairs in the Barlow Room. Looking through items of furniture during the conservation assessment, our curators were struck by the beauty and impact of the mahogany Marble Hall tables, leading us to add a display case just for these.
Finally, we’ve included a sconce (otherwise known as a wall light) from the Saloon in the architectural salvage display case. This piece was chosen because you can see where the fire has caused the gilded bronze metal branches to soften and collapse.
Visiting the basement
Our vision to remake Clandon is centred on our visitors and supporters. Visiting the basement spaces will give you the chance to feed your ideas into our decision-making process. We hope you find our choices interesting and thought-provoking; please do let us know if there are other types of objects you would like to see on display in the future; we’ll do our best to include them where we can.