On Thursday 19 November 2015 fifty Friends and guests gathered at Narryna for a fascinating insight into this historic home. Interestingly for many this was their first visit to Narryna. Scott Carlin, Manager, House Museums at TMAG introduced us to the house which was built in the late 1830s. The property tells its own distinctly Tasmanian story and it is this that Scott is keen to share with visitors. Through careful work, evidence of Narryna’s original decoration has been uncovered. This includes graining, marbling and wallpapers dating from 1840. Faux finishes were very popular at this time and Narryna obviously embraced that trend enthusiastically.
Incredibly (and very luckily!) we have our own historic wallpaper expert and craftsman, Alan Townsend here in Tasmania. Alan gave a very entertaining presentation on the research techniques and methods used to reproduce the wallpapers now hanging at Narryna. Designs including button satin and ashlar were sourced from Tasmanian properties contemporary with Narryna. In order to create the desired texture in the wallpapers, for example in the button silk design, a series of wood block prints in slightly varying shades of grey needed to be applied very carefully, one on top of the other. Whilst today’s technology makes this much easier than in the 1840s, it is still a very challenging process. Alan also shared some other wallpaper and frieze designs from the time, many of which were incredibly ornate. Going downstairs after Alan’s talk we looked at the walls and wallpaper with a whole new appreciation.
Continuing the theme of attention to detail there was also the opportunity to also view the entries and winner in the Tasmanian Art Quilt Prize which were on display at Narryna.
Our thanks to both Scott and Alan for this most enjoyable and interesting event.
Go to our Photos page to see more images of our visit to Narryna.