The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857 was a 3-year Leverhulme Trust-funded research project based in the Department of History at the University of Warwick (2011-2012) and University College London (2012-2014). The project was funded by the Leverhulme Trust and ended in August 2014. Over three years the core project team and over 300 project associates worked together to examine the British country house in an imperial and global context.
Professor Finn will continue to blog (and tweet) about developments connected with the project and themes related to colonial material cultures. Have questions? Contact:
Dr Helen Clifford, Senior Research Fellow on the project ‘East India Company at Home 1757 – 1857’ at UCL (Department of History), talks about the objects the project team are studying, specifically Chinese Wallpaper.
Re Chinese Wallpaper:
Please can you ask Dr Helen Clifford if during her studies into Chinese Wallpaper she has come across paper at Great Ayton Hall, North Yorkshire? I have been told that one of the rooms is decorated in oriental wallpaper, although I have not seen the material myself. The significance of this is that Great Ayton Hall was the home to Commodore William Wilson of HEIC. Having made his fortune through private trade, he retired to Great Ayton in 1762 and lived there until his death about 1800. Great Ayton Hall is not a big country house, more the house of a country squire. It is currently a private residence.
I will try and obrain some photographs of the paper if it would be of any interest.
This is very exciting, we had no knowledge of this. As I am based in Swaledale this house is not too far away, I wonder if we could make contact with the current owner?. It would be wonderful to see any photographs if you have any. I will also let Emile De Bruijn and Andrew Bush from the NT know about this, as we are working together on a project to locate Chinese wallpapers in country houses across Britain. In this way we can make comparisons, and create l better picture of their appearance, change over time etc. I am most grateful to you for contacting us. Are you researching the Hall or the Wilsons yourself?
OK Helen, I have contacts in Great Ayton and will see if they can provide me with details of the owner of Great Ayton Hall. My interest is in the career of Wm Wilson. I will get back to you once I have some information.
Many thanks for this – in the meantime I will do some researching and start collating! Really appreciate you getting in touch and look forward to heariing back from you,
My colleagues at Great Ayton believe that you should write to
Mr Thomas Brian Seymour, Ayton Hall, Low Green, Great Ayton, TS9 6PS.
Here is a link which provides details of the history of Ayton Hall
I have photographs of Commodore Wilson and his wife. She is wearing what appears to be a red silk dress threaded with gold. Presumably made of material that her husband brought back from one of his voyages.
Best wishes, Cliff
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