Conservation underway at Vaucluse House
There will be some areas closed during this period but there is still plenty to see and experience. We welcome visitors to come and find out about this important work to ensure the longevity of the historic house, employing skilled artisans in specialist works.
Working with specialists in conservation heritage, we are currently undertaking several important projects at Vaucluse House to ensure the longevity of the building fabric of this significant colonial home.
More about the conservation works
The works currently taking place at Vaucluse House are part of our NSW State Government funded Capital Works program. This program enables us to undertake major heritage maintenance projects to ensure our properties are cared for and maintained, and to keep them looking splendid.
For the next few weeks, painting work is being carried out in several areas of the house by a team of specialist heritage painters. Initially the walls are methodically prepared to ensure the quality of the final product.
Paint flakes are removed, cracks are filled, and the walls are sanded and undercoated.
Finally the team uses existing paint scrapes to colour-match the new paint to the original colours used in the house during the Wentworth’s occupation.
Brushes will be used rather than rollers, resulting in a more traditional and authentic finish.
The grand hallways of the house present an extra challenge, being almost double the height of a normal ceiling, and scaffolding has been erected to enable access to every corner. The curving stairwell is a particularly difficult space to paint - these areas may only be painted every 20 years, so it’s vital the work is undertaken with care and precision.
Elsewhere in the house we are working with a stone specialist to remediate damage to deteriorating plaster skirting. Much of this damage has been caused by water and salts leaching through the walls and floor from ground water.
Once the deteriorated plaster has been chipped off, a system called 'captive head-washing' uses a cycle of water to rinse the salts from the walls.
After several cycles, new lime plaster, based on a traditional recipe, can be applied and shaped to form new skirting and allowed to cure.
Outside in the servant’s courtyard, the sandstone slabs that form the base of our 19th century pump have been re-bedded on a lime and sand base, and then re-pointed with a lime mortar, ensuring they remain in place and support the pump. The type of traditional lime mortar used for this work needs to dry slowly, so is covered with damp hessian to allow it to cure properly and avoid cracking.
While these works will be disruptive for the next few weeks in what is usually such an immersive 19th century property, this work is vital in the on-going preservation and presentation of this important colonial home. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.
If you would like more details please contact us by phone: 02 9388 7922 (10am-4pm) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org