Some constructive criticism
IAM afraid I cannot agree with the caption to the photograph in the second article on St Giles House, Dorset (November 23), which states: ‘The restored Great Dining Room turns the scars of the dry rot to grand effect.’ This is, presumably, in reference to the exposed brickwork and missing ornate cornice.
The article goes on to say that this is the most important room in the house. The chimneypiece is normally the focal point of any room, but, here, the eye is inevitably drawn towards a large area of brickwork, never intended to be exposed (below). In my view, it should be plastered with the correct mix of lime mortar in the scratch coats and suitably reinforced with chopped horsehair.
The reinstatement of the cornice would be expensive, but essential. Philip Hughes and his colleagues should reconsider the Great Dining Room, so that it can be seen once again in its glorious unmarred splendour, without the unwanted scars of earlier misfortune. Michael Mclennan, by email