An Investigation into a Newly-Discovered Scheme of 18th Century Wall-Paintings in the East Staircase at Stowe House

Clarricoates, Rhiannon (2019) An Investigation into a Newly-Discovered Scheme of 18th Century Wall-Paintings in the East Staircase at Stowe House. Traditional Paint News, 4 (1). ISSN Unknown

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An Investigation into a Newly-Discovered Scheme of 18th Century Wall-Paintings in the East Staircase at Stowe House
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Abstract

Following the conservation of a painted ceiling above the East Staircase at Stowe House, a limited investigative study of the cornice and walls was carried out, during which time a scheme of nationally-significant grisaille wall paintings was discovered, dating from c1740. There is no existing record of these paintings and they were believed to have been destroyed at some point between 1798 and 1820, which emphasises the need to research and record this important work.

The paintings are thought to be authored by the little-known Venetian artist, Francesco Sleter, one of the ‘Rococo Venetians’ who began to make their mark on English decorative painting at the turn of the 18th century. Fieldwork attempted to establish the extent of the surviving scheme as well as its composition and iconography, through cross-sectional analysis and targeted uncovering trials. An additional investigation into the architectural paint finishes within the East Staircase and upper landing helped to establish the chronological development of the space and its relationship with the adjoining landing. The discovery of this scheme of paintings not only alters our perception of the space, but also offers an increased understanding of its physical history and attribution. The study also examines the ethical and practical implications of uncovering the paintings to facilitate their conservation.

Keywords:Stowe, Francesco Sleter, 18th century, Wall paintings, Conservation, Historic building conservation
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K250 Conservation of Buildings
W Creative Arts and Design > W160 Fine Art Conservation
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (Heritage)
ID Code:32897
Deposited On:19 Oct 2018 20:13

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