Every day now there is visible progress in the masterplan spaces, as rooms become clear for decoration (for example, green silk has started going up on the South Sketch Gallery walls), scaffolding comes down to reveal golden stone clean for the first time since it was quarried locally in the 1830s (the photos show the colour before and after cleaning), and works of art re-appear, in sparkling form, back from conservators.

And this week we will sign off the new 120 page guidebook, which will be the first since the house opened commercially in 1949 to treat the house, collections, garden, park, stables, farmyard, stand wood and estate as one inter-related work of art. Claire Fowler, seconded to masterplan interpretation from within the education and communications team, has led this huge project single-handedly, and done a truly exceptional job. When the book appears, alongside the new mini-guide, and the new audio tour (which we are hoping will have images and some video too), I hope Claire will feel immensely proud of her achievement, and that visitors will enjoy the fruits of her work. There will be more to say about the guidebook team nearer to opening...

Simon Seligman


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