It’s easy to see why the wallpaper in Temple Newsam House’s beautiful Chinese Drawing Room has made headlines around the world.
Dubbed “the world’s most expensive wallpaper” the stunningly decorative paper has recently made the news across the UK and as far afield as France, Australia and New York. The Chinese Drawing Room was decorated by Lady Isabella Hertford, who lived at Temple Newsam in the 1820s.
The wallpaper itself was given to Lady Hertford as a gift by the then Prince of Wales, a close friend who had visited her in 1807.
It wasn’t until 20 years later that Lady Hertford decided to liven it up by cutting out exotic birds from her copy of John James Audubon’s famous book Birds of America and pasting them onto the wallpaper.
Today, first edition copies of Birds of America have been known to sell for more than £7m. Work has recently been carried out on the drawing room, including specialised cleaning and the upkeep of antique furniture, ceramics and mirrors.
Councillor Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s lead member for museums and galleries, said:
“The Chinese Drawing Room is just one of the many fascinating stories about the people who have called Temple Newsam home through the ages and knowing how much work goes into keeping the house so beautiful makes it an all the more precious and important place.”
For more details including opening times visit www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/templenewsam