Cardiff Castle reopens restored Sitting Room


An historic room at Cardiff Castle is being reopened after a seven-year project to restore its medieval-inspired art and decoration.

Furniture and fittings in Lord Bute's Sitting Room were reinstated based on photographs taken in 1910.

From 1866, the 3rd Marquess of Bute employed architect William Burges to transform the castle.

Volunteer researchers and needleworkers have recreated wall hangings based on Burges' original design.

The room was commissioned by the 3rd Marquess of Bute, John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, who was one of the richest men in Europe.

He asked his friend to decorate the castle lavishly. As well as being an architect, Burges (1827-81) also designed furniture, stained glass and sculpture.

The room was used by both the 3rd and 4th Marquess to read, write letters and to attend to paperwork.

Wall hangings

The original wall hangings were removed by the Bute family in 1947 when the castle was gifted to the city.

The room continued to be used in the 1950s and 1960s as an office when the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama was based at the castle but since then has been closed to visitors.

image captionThe new wall hangings were created using William Burges' original designs

Castle curator Matthew Williams discovered that only a few examples of the original wall hangings remained, but these were used to create replicas.

Volunteers from Malvern Hills Decorative and Fine Arts Society used fabrics, colours, techniques and design that were true copies of the Victorian textiles commissioned by Burges.

Wall hangings were status symbols in the medieval period and Burges' made them an integral part of his commission.

The hangings were even finished with wool fringing to match Burges' design.

Elizabeth Hunter, co-ordinator of this project explained: "So many people with so many different abilities have come together on this project.

"They have dedicated themselves to the work for seven years to complete the hangings and we're all so pleased to see them in their rightful place in the Sitting Room."

Nigel Howells, Cardiff council's executive member for sport, leisure and culture, supported this by saying: "We have carried out an enormous amount of work at the castle over recent years.

"It's a pleasure to open the Sitting Room to castle visitors and the hangings add tremendously to the decor of the room."

The room can be seen on a premium tour of Cardiff Castle, from 10am to 4pm daily from Monday 15 November.

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