Gallery: Paintings saved from damp in historic home

HOW do you safeguard priceless paintings at Suffolk's best-know stately home?

HOW do you safeguard priceless paintings at Suffolk's best-know stately home.

That's a problem that has baffled the owners of Ickworth House for 130 years.

A constant battle against humidity and moisture in the Pompeian Room has seen the lavish Roman wall painting slowly deteriorate.

Now the age-old problem - caused by the flawed nature in which the paintings were erected - could soon be rectified after a �225,000 “essential” conservation project began.

Neil Robinson, house manager, said: “This has been an ongoing problem since the paintings were first done. Various solutions have been tried by both the family and the National Trust but to no avail.”

The Pompeian Room was completed in 1879 when the 3rd Marques of Bristol wanted to recreate the style of wall paintings first seen by his great-grandfather, the 4th Earl of Bristol, at the Villa Negroni near Rome.

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But the techniques used in the Suffolk listed property quickly led to problems stumping generations and, latterly, the National Trust which now owns the building.

Now the ambitious project has seen improvements to the heating and roof insulation above the plush room and intricate work to redirect water away from ancient pipes running behind the paintings.

Tobit Curteis , wall painting and environment specialist, said: “Although the paintings in the Pompeian Room are extremely important they were originally painted in a technique which is fundamentally unstable.

In addition, re-leading and re-slating the west link corridor roof - which runs between the West Wing and the Rotunda - is also taking place meaning the front of the famous building is currently covered in 30 metre-high scaffolding.

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