Lancaster House (previously known as York House and Stafford House) is a mansion in St. James’s, London.
Benjamin Dean Wyatt was commissioned by the Duke of York to design a residence for him in 1825. The Duke’s untimely death in 1827 led to the partially completed building being leased to the second Marquess of Stafford, who had completed the ground floor rooms by his own death in 1833.
Wyatt was responsible for the “French” decoration of the state rooms on the first floor, and worked with Robert Smirke on the attic storey. The arrangement proved unsatisfactory, for Wyatt was dismissed in 1838, and Charles Barry was brought in to complete the decoration of the building, which had now become known as Stafford House.
The current name of Lancaster House derives from Lord Leverhulme, a Lancastrian, who had bought the lease in 1911. After a number of years as home for the London Museum, the last forty years have seen it being used by the Government for various official activities.
I was commissioned to carry out limited paint analysis of certain elements on the upper levels of the staircase. I was also asked to carry out a colour survey of the building in order to rationalise the large number of off-white paints that were being used.
Amongst other elements, the enormous plaster Atlantes which support the roof of the lantern over the stairs were sampled.
A cross section taken from one of the Atlantes shows that it had been painted twice. This sample was taken from a bronzed area and shows the bronze powder quite clearly. It appears that the first scheme was more heavily bronzed.
As well as investigating the various elements of the Staircase, I also carried out an analysis of the famous Long Gallery.
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