Arts and Crafts style returns to Mount Grace Priory in Yorkshire

By Culture24 Staff | 25 January 2010
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a close up of painted florla wallpaper

A former showcase of design by the Arts and Crafts movement are to be restored at a North Yorkshire manor house. Two rooms in the house at Mount Grace Priory, near Osmotherley, are set to receive the £150,000 makeover.

One will be hung with specially hand-printed wallpaper based on original fragments (pictured above) found in the Priory. The work is also based on grainy photographs, a 1945 inventory of furniture and the original architect's drawings from 1898.

Upon reopening in July 2010, the rooms should look much as they did at the turn of the 20th century.

The Arts and Crafts style has “really never gone out of fashion,” according to Mark Douglas from English Heritage. “Ironically,” he added, “it drew on medieval monasticism for some of its inspiration.”

In which case the rooms' original design team would not have had to look far. Mount Grace Priory was once a Carthusian monastery and the manor house a guesthouse for wealthy patrons.

By the 19th century the site had fallen into disrepair and local steel magnate Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell took charge of refurbishment. His passions, along with industry, were the Arts and Crafts movement and the preservation of ancient buildings.

“Without his intervention, the Manor House would probably have been a ruin today instead of the staggeringly beautiful building we see,” said English Heritage Custodian at Mount Grace, Becky Wright.

“Reclaiming some of the site's Arts and Crafts heritage will provide visitors with a fascinating experience, but will also be a tribute to Sir Lowthian Bell's vision and contribution to preserving our heritage,” she added.

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