Archaeology of Home exhibition at Dinefwr

Visit the Archaeology of Home exhibition at Newton House, Dinefwr

Our homes are place for living, loving and growing, from their original construction to the alterations made by occupants, we can learn much from the incidental ephemera and materials left behind. The odds and ends found beneath the floorboards add to the story, informing and revealing the Archaeology of Home.

Our new exhibition features fragments and materials from our collections that offer a fascinating glimpse into the historical building materials and decorative techniques used at Newton House since it was built in the mid-17th century. From a rusty hand-forged nail or a scrap of hand-printed wallpaper, to a piece of decorative plaster work from an ornate ceiling, these objectsm not previously shown to the public reveal much about the 'Archaeology of Home'. 

When our National Trust team first came to Newton House in 1990, we catalogued and stored everything that was found, in the building. This work and the subsequent renovations revealed much about the building and its construction which, in turn, informed the techniques used to repair and refurbish the house. 

The objects within the Archaeology of Home exhibition are drawn from these originally catalogued collections and have not previously been shown. 

Delightful wallpaper

We are delighted to be able to feature a collection of wallpaper samples from Newton House, many simple fragments or scraps that were retrieved from the detritus of the house. We can learn so much about the decorative techniques, and schemes from these tiny fragments saved during the renovation. 

They range from 18th century examples of flock and hand block-printed wallpapers to 20th century examples from Aberdeunant Farmhouse, another Carmarthenshire property in our care. 

Look up – celebrating the ceilings

It’s not often that we remember to look up and admire the beauty of the ceilings within our historic houses. Within the exhibition we’re celebrating the remarkable decorative plasterwork and papier mache ceilings of Newton House. You can see samples of 17th century plasterwork and plasterers’ tools as well as mould and samples from the renovation work in the 1990s, telling the story of historical fashion and taste, revealing the techniques used by the original artisans as early as the mid-1600s as well as the skilled conservation experts who restored the house to its current day condition. 

The story of the Dinefwr estate reflects the history of Carmarthenshire and the nation of Wales. The mid-17th century Jacobean mansion, from which the current house evolved, was built on a site that has been occupied for two thousand years. 

Y Cabinet

Y Cabinet is a unique space in which features the work of contemporary Welsh craftspeople, artists and designers in the historical setting of Newton House. This ongoing programme will feature work shown in an elegant Victorian display cabinet that came originally from the V&A Museum in London. 

The Current exhibition features Llandeilo based Master Woodcarver Dafydd Owain Hughes and includes hand carved samples and practice pieces from his studio. Dafydd specialises in the restoration of 18th Century gilt wood furniture, mirrors, fire surrounds and pastiches of tables and mirrors, Dafydd and with his father Emyr, created two ornate replica chimneypieces for Newton House in the mid-2000s.

Find out more about Dafydd Owain Hughes and his work by visiting his website