Vaucluse House, Sydney, Australia

Vaucluse House, Sydney, Australia

Situated in Sydney, Australia, Vaucluse House is one of the few historic properties still surrounded with its original gardens and woodlands, found in Australia dating from the 19th Century.

The plot on which Vaucluse House stands was bought by explorer, barrister and politician William Charles Wentworth in 1827. Together with his wife Sarah they developed Vaucluse House and its estate to be one of the few Gothic Revival style properties of its period in Australia.

Vaucluse House has been a museum for over 100 years and its interiors are celebrated as being one of the finest colonial interiors found in Australia.

The Drawing Room Restoration

In May 2015 Humphries Weaving were approached by Sydney Living Museum to weave a 19th Century style crimson damask for The Drawing Room of Vaucluse House. There was no pictorial evidence or inventory of the room and so the only detail obtained was from a House Sale advertisement. The furniture was described as ‘elaborately carved rosewood’ upholstered in crimson damask.

The re decoration of the room required damask in an appropriate design, style, colour and quality. Humphries Weaving had several past projects of the period and so offered choices of authentic designs. The general feeling was for a compact pattern and so after much deliberation, the ‘Barnston’ design, taken from the furniture of the South Drawing Room at Blickling Hall, Norfolk was chosen for the project. Historically correct, the pattern motif was reversed and half dropped and so was accurately re-drawn from documented evidence of Blickling Hall, in the Humphries Weaving studio.

With very little information on colour available from Vaucluse House, Humphries Weaving delved into their archive of 19th Century colour and sent 5 swatches of red correct of the period to Sydney Living Museums for their consideration. The colour chosen was a particularly bright crimson taken from the window drapes in the Drawing Room at Osborne House, Isle of Wight. The period of the colour and decoration of Osborne House matched that of Vaucluse House. The quality of the damask needed to have some wear ability and the silk and cotton mix was a popular construction of the period. The cotton warp provides longevity and the silk weft gives the lustre.

The crimson silk and cotton damask woven by Humphries Weaving was used in the upholstery of the furniture and drapes and can be seen at the Vaucluse House museum from April 2017.

Project reference: 2640