Restoring the King's Room at Oxburgh

Kings room tapestries

With help from tapestry replication specialists, Zardi & Zardi, who were responsible for the tapestry reproductions in the BBC period drama Wolf Hall, we've managed to digitally re-create the tapestries that would have once hung in the King’s Room at Oxburgh Hall, returning it to its former ‘Romantic’ appearance.

The King's Room

At Oxburgh Hall in the early 19th century, the 6th Baronet furnished the King’s Room with ancient textiles and furniture to commemorate the visit made to Oxburgh by King Henry VII and his queen, Elizabeth of York, in 1487.

He hung the walls with ‘heirloom’ tapestries and dressed the bed with 16th century embroidered hangings worked by Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick, creating perhaps the most important ‘Romantic’ interior at Oxburgh. 

The King's Room at the turn of the century
A view of the King's Room at the turn of the century.
The King's Room at the turn of the century

The embroidered hangings remain on display in the house but unfortunately the tapestries left the country when they were sold in the 1920s.

The lost tapestries

These lost tapestries have been painstakingly researched by the team at Oxburgh and our Curator, Anna Forrest. Poring over 19th century watercolours and sepia photographs, it became apparent that the tapestries fell into two categories.

They were either early 16th century South Netherlandish scenes of kings, queens and courtly life, or later 16th and 17th century ‘verdure’ and ‘game parks. 

It also emerged that they were in fact a patchwork of tapestry scenes, in some cases folded back on themselves, stitched together to form a panoramic ensemble. Further research revealed that some of the tapestries passed through the hands of several specialist dealers in the 20th century, one was most recently displayed at the Maastrict Fine Art Fair in 1996. 

Digitally re-creating the tapestries

Once we knew more about the tapestries that originally hung in the King's Room, we began working with tapestry replication specialists, Zardi & Zardi, who were responsible for the tapestry reproductions featured in the BBCs historical drama Wolf Hall

" Owing to the very high-resolution of photography involved, every stitch and every shadow of every stitch can be seen, which makes it very hard not to believe it’s an original part of the collection."
- Anna Forrest, Curator

The tapestries, which look authentic, are in fact photographs that have been printed on linen, which has the same weighting and weave as the originals.