Work at Cliffe Castle continues to progress and it’s great to see the building starting to change as new lights begin to go on in the ground floor galleries.
March has seen the restoration and installation of three fabulous Victorian Gas lights in the entrance area and Breakfast Room. These should make the building even more welcoming and give visitors a feel of the house’s Victorian heyday.
Also planned is the complete cleaning of our four huge lead crystal chandeliers which were bought by Henry Isaac Butterfield in the 1880s. With the support of grant aid they should sparkle properly again. Specialists from Ross on Wye will be coming to site to take them to pieces and wash them, we are sure you will notice the difference.
While we have been closed we have also made some special acquisitions which you can see when we open. Best of all we have found the original portrait of Queen Victoria, which was bought by the Butterfield family in the 1880s and left the collection in the 1950s.
Painted when the Queen was in her early widowhood it’s an astonishing work of art. This is currently being cleaned and restored ready for you to see later in the year. The attached picture shows it when first installed in the Breakfast room over a century ago.
Visitors will also be pleased to know that the first layers of paint are going on in the Bracewell Smith Hall. Originally coloured in red, green and cream with elaborate gilded borders, the room is going back to its original 1950s appearance. We hope to have this area fully refurbished by Summer of 2013.
We will be publishing a detailed opening programme soon. If you have any queries about the museum please contact us on 01535 618231.