Restoration of an 18th-century mausoleum

Restoration of an 18th-century mausoleum

Feature

Photograph of the Mausoleum, Painshill before restoration. Copyright Painshill Park Trust. Photograph of the Mausoleum, Painshill before restoration. Copyright Painshill Park Trust. The Mausoleum

Site

Painshill Park, Surrey

Issue

The building had fallen into disrepair, the roof having collapsed and the floor lost.

Background

The Mausoleum at Painshill was built to look like a ruined Roman arch. The building was intended to provoke melancholy thoughts and Charles Hamilton surrounded it by sombre yews.

The Mausoleum after restoration. Photograph by Carmen Evans, April 2004. Copyright Painshill Park Trust.The Mausoleum after restoration. Photograph by Carmen Evans, April 2004. Copyright Painshill Park Trust. Parts of the walls remain, although the roof has been lost.

The arch was depicted in an engraving by William Woollett of 1760 and appears in a 1773 oil painting by William Hannan.

The Mausoleum also features in the famous 952-piece dinner service made by Josiah Wedgwood in 1775 for Catherine the Great which is decorated with over 1,200 views of Britain, including country houses, parks, gardens, and ancient monuments.

Solution

Descriptions by 18th-century visitors showed that there had once been a mosaic-tiled floor.

Archaeologists found part of the original floor still in place, with a central tile-and-stone motif, surrounded by diamond-patterned red and cream tiles.

The restored floor of the Mausoleum, Painshill. Photograph by Sarah Jackson, summer 2006. Copyright Sarah Jackson. The restored floor of the Mausoleum, Painshill. Photograph by Sarah Jackson, summer 2006. Copyright Sarah Jackson.From these remains they were able to draw up a pattern for the floor to be re-laid.