Bowood House and Gardens is a Georgian House set in the bucolic Wiltshire countryside and the home Petty-Maurice family since 1754. The parkland was designed by Capability Brown and the landscaped garden surrounding the house has an Italian inspired terraced.
For nearly a quarter of a century, either side of the main entrance to the house from the Italianate terrace, have stood a pair of remarkable early Coade vases, purchased in (circa) 1760s. Initially these vases were placed in the niches of the Mausoleum in the grounds of the parkland. In the 1970s they were moved to the portico of the entrance to the main house. Today, they are in need of quite extensive restoration, and we have been commissioned to carry out the work.
Bowood House was built circa 1725 and extended when the new owners purchased it in 1754. Twenty years later in 1770s the two houses (called Little House and Big House) were joined by the addition of a drawing room. In the 20th century, the onslaught of two world wars, when the house was requisitioned by the state and by the 1950s, the Big house had fallen into a state of disrepair and was subsequently demolished, this was a common practice during this time for many stately homes and country houses.
The Little House was then converted at this time to a more habitable and comfortable place for a family to live in. Today, Charles Maurice Petty-Fitzmaurice, 9th Marquis of Lansdowne, lives in Bowood House with his family.
The restoration work that we are carrying out to bring the vases to their former glory is quite substantial. The original iron dowel, connecting the vase to its socle, had rusted and therefore expanded, blowing the socle apart. The dowel was removed, the socle pinned together and a replacement stainless steel dowel fitted. Some elements of the vase had broken and been lost, including two lion masks and some foliate turnovers which we are replacing in Coadestone.
The vases were first cleaned to remove considerable amounts of paint deposits and other substances, before any cracks were filled and the missing elements made. The vases will then be reconstructed and delivered back to Bowood where they will stand atop two cylindrical stone plinths on the inside of the doors near to where they were originally.