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Mon 24th July 2017
Bowhill’s 19th century Boudoir gets 21st century facelift



The Boudoir at Bowhill House in the Scottish Borders - which maintains its original décor dating back to 1834 - has undergone an extensive conservation project to restore it to a bygone era.

The room’s rare, hand-painted Chinese wallpaper has been painstakingly preserved by conservators in a process that took some 14 weeks.

Conservators Mark Sandiford and Louise Drover carried out the project at the historic home of the Duke of Buccleuch and the results can now be seen by the public.

The intricate wallpaper in the Boudoir, which was a favourite retreat for the late Duchess, is believed to be amongst just two examples within the UK, it had been badly damaged over the years by silverfish. The delicate process of restoring it by hand ensures it will be preserved for future generations. 

Mark and Louise who are amongst the world’s most respected and experienced paper and leather restorers, had to carefully remove the wallpaper from the wall, in its individual lengths to conserve it.  Each piece was washed, old linings removed and tears and holes repaired.  New linings of hand-made Japanese paper were applied.  

The materials used in the project were either ’as original’ or of conservation quality to ensure longevity.  The conserved wallpaper was re-hung in its original position in the Boudoir and any losses carefully re-painted. 

Now complete, the exquisite room can be seen by the public from 1st July with two tours per day running at 1pm and 3pm entitled ‘Boudoir and Bedrooms’. This will also give visitors a glimpse of the Duke’s study, the Victorian Dressing Room as well as some of the upstairs bedrooms which are used in the present day.

Mark Sandiford was delighted with the opportunity to carry out conservation work in the Boudoir, which is one of the most historically intact rooms in the house reflecting its original grandeur from the early 1800s. 

He said: “We worked 8am-6pm, 10 days on four days off, for 14 weeks to conserve the beautiful wallpaper in Bowhill’s Boudoir. The room has seventeen lengths of wallcovering and each one had to be individually removed, washed, repaired and re-lined. 

“The primary objective was to ensure the physical and chemical stability of the wallpaper, aesthetic improvements were a secondary objective but very welcome as the wallpaper was quite dirty having been on the walls since 1834.  This project should ensure that people can continue to enjoy the wallpaper for the foreseeable future”.

“The room truly reflects the era in which the house was built. It is unusual to see original features like retained so thoroughly, so I am thrilled we were able to conserve this beautiful Chinese wallpaper so it can be viewed and enjoyed for years to come.”

Bowhill looks forward to welcoming the public to see the results of the work when the House opens to the public between July 1 and 31.

 For more information on Bowhill House and Country Estate and its opening times please visit www.bowhillhouse.co.uk or call 01750 22204 

Watch a video about the restoration here.