Salvage stories: found objects from Clandon Park

Damage to the house during the fire was extensive but, as our archaeologists and salvage experts made their way through every section of the house, more and more remarkable finds came to light. From the fabric of the house to delicate collection items, here are a few of our favourite first-hand accounts from our team on site.

The Library at Clandon Park

Secrets of the Library at Clandon Park

Part of the suite of State Rooms at Clandon Park the Library survived the fire with important features still intact and secrets to share. It has recently joined our list of rooms cleared of debris. Project Curator Sophie Chessum tells us more about a room that's very much a tale of two halves.

The needlework screen recovered at Clandon Park

Hidden treasure revealed at Clandon Park

Stored under the State Bed were several collection boxes. One contained the only needlework to have survived the fire, protected by a sodden horse hair mattress. Find out how it endured a trial by fire and water and see our Project Conservator Samantha Taylor peel back its protective cover for the first time.

Cleaning the State Bed at Clandon Park

Textile conservation on the State Bed at Clandon

Since rescuing the State Bed at Clandon, we've been letting individual elements naturally air dry. Now we've been able to begin the delicate cleaning process on these grandly embellished textiles.

Archaeologists at work in the State Bedroom

Rescuing the State Bed from Clandon Park

The State Bed was one of the most important items in our collection, an iconic object emblematic of the Onslow family and of Clandon Park itself. Our project curator Sophie Chessum discusses this incredible survival story and charts our journey to rescue the bed from the house.

Archaeologists at work at Clandon Park

The archaeologists’ tale from Clandon Park

The archaeologists working at Clandon have undertaken a huge task in clearing the house of debris and discovering priceless treasures hidden in the ash. Cat Edwards from AOC Archaeology Group tells us about her team’s extraordinary work.

Salvage team cleaning a ceramic find

Inside the furnace: ceramic survivals at Clandon Park

Samantha Taylor, our project conservator, explains more about the processing of collection objects taking place at Clandon Park. She describes the effects of extreme temperatures on ceramics, how we keep track of every fragment and the techniques we're using to clean and reinstate items.

The Marble Hall at Clandon Park following the fire

Clandon Park’s Marble Hall ceiling

Suspended from the rafters above the Marble Hall, was the elaborate plaster ceiling attributed to the noted stuccoist Guiseppe Artari. During our salvage work, we’ve discovered thousands of plaster fragments giving us enough to eventually reconstruct those beautiful, ornate ceilings.

Chinese porcelain rabbit found during salvage at Clandon Park

A Clandon Park cotton tale

Continuing our series on objects found in the house following the fire, we’re delighted to bring you some more happy news. Found during the salvage of the State Bedroom just before Easter 2016, this little porcelain bunny couldn’t have timed his rescue from the house any better.

Salvage experts at work in the Marble Hall

Marble Hall fireplaces survive at Clandon Park

A joyous discovery in the aftermath of the fire, the survival of the Rysbrack fireplaces and overmantel reliefs in the Marble Hall has sustained our optimism and helped to inform our vision for the future of the house.

Curator holding the stoneware duck

Clandon Park: ducks and other animals

China objects are incredibly fragile aren't they? We've found that this isn't always the case. Our tiny stoneware duck, the first object to be found by our archaeologists when salvage began, experienced an extraordinary flight through fire.

Frame from the Speakers' Parlour is removed during the salvage operation

On the night of the fire

In addition to our salvage discoveries more than 400 items were saved from the house on the night of the fire. They included: • Painting of Speaker Arthur Onslow and Sir Robert Walpole, by Sir James Thornhill and William Hogarth (1730) • Board listing the rules to be observed in the servants’ hall • Painting of an ostrich, oil on canvas, by Francis Barlow • Bible printed by John Basket • A pair of giltwood side tables made in about 1725 • Silver, including pieces by noted silversmith Paul Storr • The hangings of the Clandon Park state bed, made in about 1710 • Set of hall chairs featuring the Onslow crest. A number of personal Onslow family items were also rescued including a metal prisoner-of-war identity badge worn by the 6th Earl of Onslow in Offlag 79, a POW camp where he was imprisoned during the Second World War. The 4th Countess of Onslow's dinner book of guests was also recovered.

Bell discovered in the Marble Hall following the fire

Hope for the future

Damage to the house was extensive, but enough has survived to enable a reconstruction of Clandon’s architecturally important interiors. The remarkable survival of the Rysbrack overmantels along with the figures of Venus and the Discus Thrower high up in the Marble Hall, the durability of numerous collection items, the saving of the Speakers’ Parlour and the survival of significant elements of decorative plasterwork and paneling in the Saloon, Library and State Bedroom gives us great hope for the future. As our salvage operation progresses we’re hopeful of discovering further objects and we’ll continue to keep you updated with articles, images and video from the site.