A room with a view
IT was interesting to see the basrelief plaster panels at Ditchley Park (September 21 and 28), based on tondi from the Arch of Constantine, depicting sacrifices to the gods. These were engraved by Pietro Bartoli in 1645 and Francois Perrier in 1653, the latter in reverse. It may assist in the debate about the involvement of James Gibbs in the design of the hall at Ditchley to know that the engravings were used in a painted interior in Moray house, Edinburgh, before 1710; a scheme probably designed by Sir William Bruce and which Gibbs may have known.
The decoration there was carried out by Roderick Chalmers and James Norie for Charles, 6th Earl of Moray and his wife, Anne Campbell, Countess of Lauderdale. The large overdoor panels are the only known example of ‘imitation tapestry’, advertised by Chalmers and Norie in the Scots Courant in 1711.
In this photograph of the room at Moray house (above), the walls are painted in dark brown to conceal an earlier scheme of oak graining, but there is evidence that the wainscott was originally pearl blue or grey. Joe Rock, East Lothian