Rotunda

The Rotunda sits in the Home Shrubbery, from where there are wonderful views over the parkland and river towards the Malvern Hills.

Lancelot 'Capability' Brown designed the Rotunda, which was built between 1754 and 1757 as a comfortable relaxing 'garden room'. 

Photograph of Rotunda taken in 1862
Photograph of Rotunda taken in 1862
Photograph of Rotunda taken in 1862

The interior plasterwork was created by Francesco Vassali, who did a lot of the work inside the house.

The interior before being painted
The interior before being painted
The interior before being painted

The building was on the verge of collapse when Croome acquired it.  With generous donations from The Wolfson Foundation and a private legacy, as well as grants from Natural England we have been able to repair the dome, external stone work, windows and doors, and stabilise the internal plasterwork.

The Rotunda is a Grade 1 listed building, built by Brown in the 1750s and situated in the Home Shrubbery. It came under our care in 2007 when we took on the management of Croome Court. Almost immediately we set about the urgent repair work to save the building from further damage. Contractors removed the damaged outer dome and completely repaired it to prevent further weather damage; the floor was taken up and re-laid, and later extensive repairs were carried out on the plasterwork. 

Restoration work in 2008
Restoration work in 2008
Restoration work in 2008

Until very recently the plasterwork repairs have been clearly visible with circles of new plaster showing up all over the walls.   Croome was able to carry out the work due to two generous individuals; one private donor, and one through a legacy.

Experts carried out paint analysis and informed us that there had been several paint colour schemes over the centuries, including blue walls with white plasterwork detail. The original colours were an off white ceiling dome and grey walls, so this is what we have decided to use now. The paint we’ve used is an organic ‘casein distemper’; a chalky paint which has been applied in thin layers to create a ‘dead flat’ finish. The ceilings and walls had a good clean then the paint was applied. The dome has had three coats of off-white distemper. The walls have had two coats of Pavilion Grey, followed by one coat of ‘Lamp Room Grey’ which was ‘lightly dragged’ on. The 3-D plasterwork decoration is clearly visible with light and shadow making the details stand out. The window frames and other woodwork have also been painted in Pavilion Grey.

The newly painted interior
interior of the newly painted rotunda at croome
The newly painted interior

The contractors who carried out the work, George Knibb and Son, have worked for the National Trust since the 1950s. 

" The interior of the Rotunda now looks stunning. The work has been completed in good time and we’re delighted to see the finished results. I hope you can visit soon to see it for yourself."
- Katherine Alker

Our next phase of work will be to investigate the steps around the building which are very uneven in places, with a view to full repair when funds allow.