Object of the week- Chinese drawing room wallpaper
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 made the news across the UK and as far afield as France, Australia and New York.
Also known as The Blue Drawing Room, the stunning room was almost entirely decorated by Lady Isabella Hertford, who lived at Temple Newsam in the 1820s.
The elaborate 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.
Just 119 copies of the book are known to exist, with 108 belonging to museum and galleries.
The book, also known as the Double Elephant Folio because of its size, featured life-sized drawings of more than 100 North American birds on its completion.
As well as a bit of birdwatching in the Chinese Drawing Room, visitors to the house can also see the current Fantastical Beasts exhibition, which challenges them to follow the trail of fabled fauna around the house.
An interactive family area called The Lair gives younger visitors a chance to dress up while a special exhibition room, The Bestiary, will showcase items from across the Leeds Museums and Galleries collections.
For more details about Temple Newsam House including opening times and prices, visit www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/templenewsam