Inspiring interiors! Charlecote’s wallpaper and the chocolate bar

Many visitors to our House comment on the fabulous interiors. They wander from room to room and gasp at the grandeur; the architecture, the antiquities and the decorating.

Something that people often mention is the wallpaper.

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We have lots of beautiful wallpaper at Charlecote and interestingly the inspiration for the pattern of the Library wallpaper comes from a painting also at Charlecote.

Detail of brown and gold wallpaper in the Library at Charlecote

Detail of brown and gold wallpaper in the Library at Charlecote

This painting hangs among the many portraits in our Great Hall. It shows the children of Sir Thomas III in all their finery. It is the fabric of the dresses that helped inspire the pattern of the Library wallpaper.

Oil painting on canvas, Four Children of Sir Thomas Lucy III and Alice Spencer, English School,inscribed: ANO DONI 1619 and with respective ages of children each, in gold next to their heads: AETAtis Suae 5, 3, 2, 1. Constance Lucy, later Lady Smith (5 years), Margaret Lucy (3 years), Robert Lucy (2 years) and Richard Lucy (1 year).Constance or Constantia, the eldest child and her younger sister Margaret stand at right, holding hands, wearing gold brocade dresses, the younger holding sister a flower, on far right.The baby in the chair is Richard Lucy, wrapped in a red cloak, on Constance's right. At the left stands Robert in agold dress and white pinafore witha robin perched on his right hand, and treading on the baby's red cloak (?to indicate a superior status). The compositionframed by a pelmet and drawn curtain. The fabric of the dresses helped inspire the pattern of the Library wallpaper.Four of the children as recorded by the Herald's visitation in 1619. Spencer the eldest son, the twin of Margaret was presumably painted seperately on his own (Harleian Society, vol. 12 [1877], p. 288). Later they had two more children: Fulke and Alice Lucy.

©National Trust Images/Derrick E. Witty

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Take the Dining Room as another example…

The flock wallpaper in this room is pretty special.

Detail of rich wallpaper of crimson and blue flock on a gold ground, produced by Thomas Willement, the oak paneling is by J M Willcox.

Detail of rich wallpaper of crimson and blue flock on a gold ground, produced by Thomas Willement, the oak paneling is by J M Willcox.

Although known as the ‘Father of Victorian Stained Glass’ who created stained glass for many fine people and places, Thomas Willement also designed and produced wallpaper. His original paper for the Dining Room is flock on embossed gold paper. You can read a little more about this on the V&A Collections website.

Mary Elizabeth, our Victorian Mistress who remodelled the house with her husband George, also commissioned a carpet with the same pattern. It is the only one of its kind and therefore very precious.

But this pattern is not only adorning the walls (and floor) here at Charlecote. It was thought so special that it now also adorns the wrapping on the National Trust’s dark chocolate bar with stem ginger!

prodmainimg16467Take a moment to look a little closer at the packaging on our other fudges and chocolates, they might look very familiar and they all help to tell a story of our special places.

And please remember, this isn’t just any chocolate…
It’s fundraising chocolate.
All money raised through our retail and catering outlets directly supports the work we do. Be it repairing the drive, feeding the sheep, conserving the ceramics or fixing the buggy – it all helps! So next time you pop in and buy a chocolate bar, enjoy it knowing you’re also helping to keep our special places going.

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We hope this short post has intrigued you and that you might take a few more moments to ponder the inspriation behind the rest of the decor. Ask our Room Guides for more interesting facts on your next visit.

Charlecote really is a place of surprising treasures…

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