Spencer House is one of the finest eighteenth century townhouses in London, the combined work of Henry Holland, James Stuart and John Vardy. Hare & Humphreys were the principal decorators and gilders on this ambitious project to restore Spencer House to its former glory.
Working from paint analysis and archival evidence it was possible to determine the original allocation of colour and gilding in the state apartments to enable the decoration of the principal rooms to be restored.
Rich colour, fabric, gold leaf and artwork were used to great effect. Particularly fine rooms are the Painted Room, covered in original artwork and a delicate ceiling, the Palm Room with plaster palms and huge gilt leaves, and the Dining Room, with its carved fireplaces, bronze medallions and painted and gilt ceiling.
A team of 20 decorators worked alongside many other craftsmen.
In architectural terms the project has been hailed as one of the most successful ever undertaken. Now, as in the eighteenth century, the state apartments provide a magnificent showcase for works of art and furniture and serves as a place of business and a focus of social, cultural and political activity.
The Spencer House project brought together some of the most highly skilled craftsmen in this country and provided a vital training ground in traditional skills. The Spencer House restoration is a benchmark against which other similar projects will be measured and it serves as an invaluable model for future restoration work in this country.