Clandon Park destroyed by fire (ctd.)

April 30 2015

Image of Clandon Park destroyed by fire (ctd.)

Pictures: NT/BBC

The National Trust have some photos of the devastation inside the house here. And the BBC have some more too, here. The photo above shows the marble hall, and below is how it was before. Let us hope that the Francis Barlow Cassowary picture was in fact saved.

The image below shows a portrait from Clandon which had been cut out of its frame by quick thinking members of the fire brigade. This is very heartening news to hear, and raises hopes that many other pictures might have been saved too. The Hogarth/Thornhill I mentioned below was, however, apparently set into a wall - so we must wait to hear what happened to that. 

Update - a reader writes:

I work for the fire service doing fire safety, it never ceases to amaze me how little regard is given to the potential losses should a fire happen in these old properties.

The level of fire resistance and hidden voids that fire exploits to spread means we have practically no chance of saving a building. Consider the fires at Winsor Castle, and more recently the Macintosh.

Fire safety may not be very exciting (far from it!) but a bit of common sense and pre-planning can help to save the mobile treasures such as pictures and tapestries. Investment in fire stopping will help contain a fire in one area (macintosh)  and allow the local fire service to save more and tackle the blaze.

Excellent points.

Update II - The National Trust has said that one of the Barlows was saved, and also the Hogarth Thornill House of Commons portrait. Overall, however, it is looking exceptionally bleak.

What happens next is anyone's guess. Will the Trust aim to restore the house? My instinct is that they won't. Much depends of course on things like insurance. But all the noises one hears from the Trust these days, whether it is beanbags at Ickworth, or the new Chairman, Tim Parker, and Dame Helen Ghosh keen to say that the Trust is not in favour of acquiring any more 18th Century mansions, suggests that the leadership's heart won't be in it.

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