Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, Wirral - Restoration of the Napoleon Room and Gallery South End Refurbishment for National Museums Liverpool

The Whittle Highly Decorative Team were challenged by National Museums Liverpool to help restore the historic Napoleon Room within the iconic Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight, Wirral. The original decorations in the room had been painted over in the 1970’s and the room divided into two. Unfortunately, there were only black and white photographs of the original scheme for the architects from Purcell to work from so our decorators had to carefully strip back the over-coatings to expose the original. Sample boards were subsequently prepared that reflected the exposed elements of the original  decorations which included granite effect, stippling, stenciling of the frieze and gilded pencil line borders to the wall panelling. The client wanted the panelling adjusted to fit in with specific items of furniture and paintings that were to be displayed which meant our decorative artists had to draw out the panels exactly as per the clients drawing and also adjust the hand stencilled urn and pearl string effect on the frieze.

The resulting decorative effect has provided a stunning backdrop for the display of many pieces of historic furniture and paintings and is testament to the skills and attention to detail that the Whittle Highly Decorative Team applied to the project.

As a result of the expertise demonstrated in restoring the Napoleon Room, the client decided to challenge us to creating further trompe l’oeil effects in other areas of the gallery, including creating a marble effect to new statue stands that copied existing real marble stands, and also painting faux panels and dado rails to walls to help set off one of the priceless Wedgewood fireplaces that is on display. The effects are that good that visitors to the gallery do not realise that they are painted on to a flat surface.

In July 2017, this project has been recognised as the Highly Decorative Painting Contract of the Year in the prestigious national Premier Trophy awards run by the Painting and Decorating Association of Great Britain.
The judges said: “The work in the Napoleon Room was exceptional with very fine work such as gold fine lining, stippling and sign writing to a very ornate standard. Words cannot really describe the finish achieved.”
To read the full article announcing our award, please click here.