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See Scotney in 'Hidden Treasures of the National Trust'

The Salvin-designed desk in Scotney Castle's library with an exhibit of one of Christopher Hussey's scrapbooks
The Salvin-designed desk in Scotney Castle's library with an exhibit of one of Christopher Hussey's scrapbooks | © Amanda Glubb

Scotney Castle features in episode 3 of the second series of 'Hidden Treasures of the National Trust' on BBC Two on Friday 24 May at 9pm.

Catch us on air

Airing from Friday 10 May, Scotney Castle will be one of the central stories in the second series of the BBC’s Hidden Treasures of the National Trust. Scotney will feature in series 3 of Hidden Treasures of the National Trust on BBC Two on Friday 24 May at 9pm.

Scheduled for 9pm on BBC Two and available on BBC iPlayer, the series reveals new and compelling stories about the work going on behind the scenes of the National Trust to conserve incredible objects and properties and the passionate staff and volunteers who care for them.

Scotney Castle will be one of the locations featuring in episode 3 on Friday 24 May, alongside Stourhead. Viewers will get to go behind the scenes while staff conserve a treasured table designed by a famous architect, and delve into a sketchbook collection that inspired one man’s mission to preserve the English country house.

Viewers will have a rare chance to see Christopher Hussey’s sketchbooks documenting his travels to country houses across the country from 1936 onwards. They became the basis for articles in Country Life magazine, where Hussey highlighted the cultural and creative significance of the English country home.

Jerzy Kierkuc-Bielinski, Cultural Heritage Curator, is one of the team to feature in the episode. He says “Christopher's sketchbooks are a window into his passion for country houses and their rich collections. The watercolours and photos they contained would help Christopher to formulate his later approach to protecting this heritage and making it accessible to the public.”

Scotney’s episode also goes behind-the-scenes of the conservation of a table designed by architect Anthony Salvin. Known for his work on the Tower of London, Salvin built Scotney’s ‘new’ mansion and some of its furniture in the 1830s.

Helen Davis, Scotney’s Collections & House Manager, also features in the episode. She adds “Salvin designed the mansion at Scotney overlooking the Picturesque garden. Much of his furniture still sits in the very rooms that it was created for. To this day, it’s his vision woven through the building and contents inside, that links seamlessly with the Picturesque landscape beyond.

We’re delighted to have his table back in our Library, conserved beautifully by experts in the National Trust’s Royal Oak Foundation Conservation Studio.”

To mark the series, there will be a temporary display of Christopher Hussey’s sketchbooks at Scotney, whilst the Anthony Salvin table sits on permanent display in the Library.

Discover one of Scotney's Salvin-designed pieces of furniture

Built in the 1840s from yew, oak and leather, this circular table was designed by Salvin to sit in the bay window in the Library, so those using the table could look down across the Picturesque garden to the old castle at the bottom of the hill. It was evidently a well-used and practical piece of furniture in the Hussey home. The sun damage on its leather top from sitting in the bay is clear, as are the water marks, possibly from vases of flowers long-since placed and bottles of wine long-since drunk. But it the marks on a piece of furniture that help tell its history so the aim is not to restore to how it would have looked when it was first built, but to gently clean and protect it for many future generations of visitors to enjoy.

The conservation work on this table was carried out by Remedial Conservator, Nicola Shreeve who gently cleaned and consolidated the leather, removing old wax and dirt, using modern conservation pigments to even out the colour of the leather and applying a breathable protective coating. She also used her skills to replace and re-secure the yew veneer patches to the table's solid oak top, fill the gaps between the leg joints, and clean the wood to bring out its natural beauty.

The conservation of Scotney's Salvin-designed table

A final dust for the conserved table
A final dust for the conserved table | © Amanda Glubb

A final dust for the conserved table

Having re-assembled the table, Nicola gives it a final gentle dust over.

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The six-part series visits some of the National Trust’s best-known locations including Stourhead in Wiltshire and Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk as well as lesser-known treasures such as Mr Straw’s House, the time-capsule home of a grocer’s family in Nottinghamshire. Each episode explores a different central theme, linking the houses, their histories, and collections as they undergo conservation. From graceful Georgian homes that were platforms for political power, to houses that become display cases for the curious collections of their owners and properties designed as show-homes for the English country house idyll.

Tarnya Cooper, Curatorial and Conservation Director at the National Trust, says: “History comes to life before you at National Trust properties. Across hundreds of sites we have well over a million objects, which tell fascinating stories of the generations of people who commissioned, made and loved them.

“Looking after such diverse objects and places takes dedicated teams of people as well as expert conservators, and we hope BBC viewers will enjoy learning more about them and their work on wonderful collections ranging from must-see paintings and furniture to books and textiles to amazing architectural features.”

Alistair Pegg, BBC Arts commissioning editor, says: “I’m delighted to be delving behind the scenes once more at the National Trust, uncovering hidden histories of houses and their owners, secrets of the painstaking conservation carried out on beautiful objects and buildings, and the wonderful staff and volunteers who work, often unsung, across the country.”

Collections and house manager at Polesden Lacey cleaning a red Faberge egg

Hidden Treasures of the National Trust 

Follow our conservators, curators and volunteers at work and get closer to the objects they care for in the second series of Hidden Treasures of the National Trust.

Scotney Castle's Victorian mansion house in early morning autumn mist

The house at Scotney Castle 

From secret doors to ornate furniture and amazing collections of art, costume, books and silverware, find out about the house at Scotney Castle and how the Hussey family made it a home.