Art / Wall paintings
1770 - 1829
Lime plaster, limewash and paint.
2.55 x 2.70 m
Place of origin
Tudor Merchants House, Pembrokeshire (Accredited Museum)
Wallpaintings on north, south and east walls. Late-18th/early-19th century. Red, yellow and black pigments, probably bound in an organic medium such as size or casein, on an off-white limewash(?) ground. The design framework was first marked out using thinned paint; a ghostly vertical line can be seen between the black stars. The design is formal but entirely freehand; it consists of alternating panels above a dado, but since the upper edge of the design has been lost it is uncertain whether there was a corresponding horizontal design at the ceiling to that at the top of the dado. The dado is a plain yellow ochre wash, finished off with a single red line. Above it is the panelled design, made up alternately of a vertical line of black six—pointer stars and a polychrome tendril, separated by a double black line. The tendril is made up of a single line-undulating across the panel, the waves having an amplitude of approximately half the panel width. In the concavity of each wave a spandrel is formed by a second, narrower, black line: in some cases this has two cusps, in others three. The spandrel is infilled with strong yellow ochre. Two flowers spring from the main tendril above each spandrel, the flower on the convex side below that on the concave side. (N.B. in some cases the position of the flowers varies, sometimes one flower is missing completely). The flowers have a black stem, a black centre (usually formed of a quick circle, but occasionally with a yellow infill, and in at least one case missing,) and red petals. There is no attempt to make them naturalistic. The upper end of the tendril is missing; the lower end is finished rather clumsily with a curl of the tendril stem and a flower. Although it is clear that the tendrils were intended to match right across the walls, and in most cases several adjacent panels are fairly similar, the convex waves vary markedly in exact position and size, and it is clear that no initial marking—out was done. and the brightness of the colour together with the evident speed of execution tends to support this.
Original late-18th/early-19th century decorative scheme of Tudor Merchant's House. The Tudor Merchant's House was gifted to the National Trust in 1937 by the Tenby Corporation, which in turn had been given the property by the Crawshay Bailey estate in 1917. The National Trust carried out extensive building work in 1939 and again in 1984. It is a Grade II* Listed Building.