There are two magnificently mirrored large doors that lead you into the Centre Picture Gallery on the second floor. John Bowes refers to the ‘case with the folding doors with mirrors in them which Mrs. Bowes obtained for the entrance door of the picture gallery’ in a letter of 27 December (?) 1876. We think there is a bill in the archives saying these doors came from a French royal palace, but not specifying which one.
The doors are made of a pine base covered in a maple veneer with rosewood and walnut mouldings. Over the years the pine base has moved and the veneer is coming loose in several places, looking like blisters. There are also some old repairs that need replacing. So earlier this month Jenny and Alan, from Rupert McBain Furniture Restoration, came to start work on reattaching the veneer. Usually they would do this on a vertical surface where they could put weights on the repairs. We were not in a position to take the doors down so they have had to work off scaffold and come up with a way of applying pressure to the glued repairs. They achieved this by using a specially made bar with threaded rod in it that can be braced against the scaffold.
The doors are a fantastic feature of the Gallery and it is a shame they have to be open so visitors cannot see their full impact. The work should be completed by Friday 27 January .