Restoring the King's Room to a state worthy of a royal visit

Work has begun 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 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 Anna Forrest, Curator. 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 a several specialist dealers in the 20th century, one most recently displayed at the Maastrict Fine Art Fair in 1996. 

Digitally re-creating the tapestries

We're now working with tapestry replication specialists, Zardi & Zardi, who were responsible for the tapestry reproductions featured in the BBCs historical drama Wolf Hall. The first of these new tapestries are already on display, including a verdure tapestry copied from one at Hardwick Hall. 

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.

" 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."
- Edward Bartlett, House Manager

We hope to re-create the remaining tapestries over the coming year.

Support the project

If you’d like to donate to the project there is a collection box in the King’s Room and raffle tickets will be on sale throughout the year, underneath the new tapestry.