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Designs for ceiling and walls of library

A report by Purcell Miller Tritton, architects, was prepared for Stowe in 2008, A copy is kept in the Green Box files at the Soane Museum (pages 38-41 including photographs). Useful information given includes, for example (p.38), 'The bookcase doors, of bronzed metal tracery, took their detail from the bronze screen of Henry VII's tomb... The south wall was dressed in the same way as the other walls, but here the bookcases were fictive.' Again, 'The intricate canopies above the central doors, fireplace and 'shrine' were also of metal, in this instance cast lead, painted to appear as plasterwork'. And (p.38) 'The actual construction of a fan-vaulted ceiling was conditioned by a structurally essential iron girder ... the depth of the circular panel could be no more than 6 inches. However, Soane must have taken account of the girder on his first visit as the all but flat ceiling was given ''vertical panelling'' strips each side of the fan vaulting to create a sense of depth and containment of the design. In such a low ceilinged room, the plasterwork could have been oppressive. Soane's skill as a manipulator of space and light ensured that the decorative scheme worked.'
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