Boscobel's Jigsaw Puzzle

Angela Morgan tells the story of the remodelling of Boscobel House in Shropshire.

Those who have had to furnish a house from scratch will recall the difficulties involved in searching for the right furniture and furnishings. Imagine, therefore, the problems faced by a curator responsible for refurnishing an historic hunting lodge so as to recreate a nineteenth-century impression of what the rooms would have been like two centuries earlier.

At first sight this appears to be an almost impossible task; yet it is one which has been successfully accomplished Boscobel House – perhaps best known for its role in providing a hiding place for Charles II after the battle of Worcester.

It was this association which led Mr Walter Evans of Darley to purchase the estate in 1812. Immediately, he set out to restore Boscobel to what he believed it had looked like when Charles II made his famous visit. Romantic rather than historically accurate were to be the hall marks of this recreation. The outside walls were painted to resemble timber- framing and authentic casements were replaced by sash windows. This process of moulding the house to fit the romantic legend continued throughout the nineteenth century – even if a particular idea was based on fiction rather than fact.

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