Clandon Park fire: ‘Significant amount’ of home’s valuable collection has been saved

getSURREY

Although important paintings, tables and pieces of silver were rescued, the National Trust also said “there is a lot we will never recover”

  • By Connie Rusk

A pair of giltwood side tables, a Bible printed by John Basket and a painting of an ostrich from the Marble Hall were some of the historical artefacts salvaged from the Clandon Park fire.

The National Trust said on Friday afternoon that a significant amount of the stately home’s collection had been rescued from the fire.

Crews from Surrey Fire and Rescue Service continued to damp down the scene on Friday, following the blaze which ripped through the 18th century stately home on Wednesday (April 29).

The house has been left a burnt out shell and a cordon remains in place around the site.

Staff are now assessing what they have been able to salvage and also determining what has been lost.

The National Trust said that among the items saved were:

  • Painting depicting Speaker Arthur Onslow calling upon Sir Robert Walpole to speak in the House of Commons, by Sir James Thornhill and William Hogarth 1730, from the Library

  • Board listing the rules to be observed in the servants’ hall at Clandon, eighteenth century.

  • Painting of an ostrich in a classical landscape, oil on canvas, by Francis Barlow (c.1626–1704), probably painted in the 1670s, from the Marble Hall

  • Bible printed by John Basket in 1716-1717, from the Library

  • Folding screen incorporating Victorian and Edwardian Onslow family photographs, from the Library

  • A pair of giltwood side tables in the manner of John Gurnley and James Moore, made around 1725, from the State Bedroom

  • Silver, including some pieces by the noted silversmith Paul Storr, from the Speaker’s Parlour

  • The hangings of the Clandon state bed, made in about 1710. The hangings had just returned to Clandon following conservation treatment and were still packed up.

  • Set of hall chairs with the Onslow crest, from the Marble Hall at Clandon

The trust added that until a full assessment was done, it would not be possible to confirm the objects that did not survive.

‘Sense of shock and loss’

National Trust director general, Dame Helen Ghosh, said: “Although the house was pretty well burned out, the operation rescued a significant amount of the collection, and we are hopeful there will be more to recover when our specialists are able to get inside the building and start the painstaking archaeological salvage work.

“But there is a lot that we will never recover.

“The immediate sense of shock and loss amongst staff working at the property has quickly been replaced by a steely determination.

” The team at Clandon, staff from other properties and local volunteers have responded with tremendous fortitude, calmness and professionalism to the event.

“When the overall impact of the fire is clearer, we will be able to decide on the longer term future of the house.

“I’d like to again thank the magnificent job of the Surrey fire brigade. Their teamwork and professionalism has been awe-inspiring.

“We’ve also been very touched by the offers of support, concern and goodwill from all over the country – we appreciate those messages.”

A spokesman for Surrey Fire and Rescue Service said on Friday: “The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, but due to the complexity of the incident this will take some time to complete.

“Guildford Borough Council and the National Trust are carrying out structural assessments to decide on the future of Clandon Park house, while artefacts rescued from the building have been stored away safely.”

Those items that were saved had been temporarily stored in a nearby location.

Three vans arrived there on Friday afternoon and workers could be seen loading paintings, tables, vases and chairs into the vehicles.

The National Trust said that at this stage it did not know what the future held for Clandon House, but it is welcoming any donations, which can be made by calling 0344 800 1895.