Victorian gallery unveiled

The gallery was home to a yellow Straloch coach that was used by the Irvine children at Drum at the beginning of the 20th century
The gallery was home to a yellow Straloch coach that was used by the Irvine children at Drum at the beginning of the 20th century

The impressive Victorian Gallery at Drum Castle has been restored to its former glory.

The narrow room which houses some of the castle’s finest artworks and treasures including a 17th century Joseph Cabinet, a collection of Asian ceramics and a yellow Straloch coach that was used by the Irvine children at Drum at the beginning of the 20th century, was affected by floods during the harsh and snowy winter of 2010/11.

The whole collection was moved out and while significant damage was done to the gallery’s interior decoration, the speedy actions of the castle’s senior assistant Laura Paterson ensured that the collections were saved.

Laura said: “With the heavy snowfall in November 2010 the gutters became choked with snow and ice, causing water to flood in through the ceiling of the Victorian Gallery.

“Restoring the gallery has used many skills from specialist Trust staff and highly qualified engineers and decorators. To begin with, we had to ensure that the flood would never happen again, so trace heating has been fed through the gutters to stop the ice forming.

“Then we had to start on the painstaking process of redecorating the gallery using styles and techniques that were correct for the period. Old wallpaper samples were sourced by local decorators and the colour from the wall paper was painstaking matched for the paintwork. All the objects from furniture to paintings, ceramics to silverware had to be cleaned by our specialist conservator Fiona Butterfield.”

“We knew that we must get the collection back together for the start of the April 2012 season, as we had a wedding booked and we had promised that the castle would be complete again. I was overwhelmed with the beauty and elegance of the Victorian objects when they were cleaned and placed back into their rightful locations. But, most importantly, all the hard work was made worthwhile when I saw the expression on the bride’s face.”

The imposing National Trust for Scotland castle has been inhabited from more almost 700 years. It is home to centuries of fascinating Aberdeenshire history, boasting a fine art collection and library. Its gardens are also a treasure and house a magnificent collection of old-fashioned roses. The estate is a haven for wildlife too, including the ever-popular red squirrel.