Kitchen Restoration Update – Jan 2018

The first step in restoring the brick kitchen is removing the heavily damaged late nineteenth century brick floor.  We are investigating what lies beneath before rebuilding the flooring.

 

 

Pickaxes and sledge hammers.

 

Much work to be done.

 

 

Not yet ready…for prime time or for laundry!

 

Lightweight building materials…note the chisel marks on the bottom of the stone sink.

 

It’s very cold!  And the work must go on…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copper Pots

Think a copper pot is just a copper pot?  Think again…

Copper Pots - Hyde Hall Kitchen Restoration

Pictured above are two copper pots for the Hyde Hall Kitchen restoration. Nice, but what’s so special?

The restoration of the Kitchen complex requires fitting out with the tools that would have been used originally in food preparation.  These recent acquisitions illustrate details that set them apart from today’s manufactures.

 

Copper Pot Dovetail Seam

Did you know dovetails were used in copper pots?  You definitely wouldn’t see this in today’s cookware!

 

Handle Attachments - Copper Pots

Look at the handmade detail used in attaching these handles!  These pots were crafted no later than 1840, and probably earlier.

 

The handles also show maker’s marks and unique shaping.

 

There’s more to these copper pots than first meets the eye!  We can’t wait to see them in our newly restored Kitchen at Hyde Hall (Restoration in Progress – check back for updates as we go along.)

 

 

Entrance Hall Lantern

Dating to the first quarter of the nineteenth century, this fabulous Argand hall lantern was restored and finally installed in May, 2017 by machinist Joel Paradis of Westmoreland, New York. Joel fabricated the missing center fixture and patinated the frame with highlights to match as was done in the period. With the addition of this over-sized lantern, which is perfect for the generous proportions of the Entrance Hall, the mansion now boasts a variety of functioning period lighting devices that will be used for evening tours and demonstrations.

The lantern is a gift from Douglas R. Kent, who made funds available to support its purchase and full restoration. The lantern’s name is derived from Aime Argand, a Swiss-French chemist who devised a center draft burner in 1783 that represented the first major technological innovation in improved lighting since the time of the Romans. Although not original to Hyde Hall, it is an important early light fixture typical of the oversized lanterns often found in the halls of English and American mansions.

We thank Doug and all our donors who have made it possible for us to add to our collection of furnishings and working period lighting.

A Makeover for the Dining Room

Fans of reality TV shows might recognize Hyde Hall as being a huge “Before & Afer” makeover project. Soon Hyde Hall will be the scene of yet another episode: the transformation of the Dining Room walls.

We have asked Lori Wilson, internationally known paint expert, artist, teacher, and master painter, to restore the Dining Room walls to their 1830s appearance.

Long associated with Golden Artist Colors of New Berlin, New York, Lori brings many years of experience to Hyde Hall. Her goal will be to reproduce in the Dining Room the same marbleized treatment that has survived in the Drawing Room and Entrance Hall. In the 1880s, the Dining Room walls were painted a once-fashionable Victorian red, but with restorations now focused on recreating the earliest appearance of the Great House, these three major rooms will soon present  the unified ensemble that George Clarke created in 1833.

While painting a room might seem simple, the Dining Room project has posed interesting challenges. The first task was to test the Dining Room wall surface to determine what course to follow in the restoration of the original color. Lori discovered that the red pigment is very difficult to remove, and in the areas she tested, the pigment was deeply absorbed into the plaster walls—all the way down to the second or brown coat layer. Based on this discovery, she believes the red pigment will not bleed through the new thin skin of limewash that she would like to spread over the surface of the Dining Room walls. Not having to remove all of the red paint (a time-consuming and difficult process) is a major advantage. It is interesting to note that the limewash she plans to use will contain mica and black pigmentation similar to the original surface.

To avoid the possibility of bleed-through or delamination, Lori recommends that we test select areas in the Dining Room with different surface treatments over the fall, winter, and spring seasons. The goal is to choose a durable new finish treatment that will adhere to the present surface. This means we must delay the Dining Room carpet installation until May or early June of 2017. It is a small price to pay for better results.

We are grateful for the care and thoroughness of Lori Wilson’s analysis. We hope you will visit us next May during tours to see her at work recreating the marbleized surfaces that make Hyde Hall a model of 1830s elegance and sophistication.

From the Fall 2016 Hyde Hall Newsletter

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