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    The front of Boconnoc House.  Images courtesy of Sotheby’s.

    Boconnoc House in Cornwall is the 2012 winner of the Historic Houses Association/Sotheby’s Restoration Award.   It was the unanimous choice of judges for its overall revival and comprehensive restoration. The outstanding renewal of the main ground floor rooms and in particular the painted staircase influenced by Sir John Soane were particularly admired.  The house, which dates from 1250, has been home to the Fortescue family since 1834 when it passed to them by descent from the Pitt family which provided two Prime Ministers to Britain.  The current owners, Anthony and Elizabeth Fortescue, have worked extaordinarily hard since 1997 to breathe new life into a house which had laid empty for 30 years.  The magical house, 15 minutes from Bodmin in one of the most beautiful settings in Cornwall, is now a thriving business and family home which hosts weddings, conferences and special events.

    The judging panel included Edward Harley, President, The Historic Houses Association; John Martin Robinson, Architectural Historian; Professor David Watkin;  historian of British architecture and specialist on neo-classicism and author of numerous books; James Stourton and David Moore-Gwyn, chairman and deputy chairman respectively of Sotheby’s UK. Althorp House in Northamptonshire, Spains Hall in Essex and The Summerhouse at Homme House in Heferfordshire received commendations.  Images are courtesy of Sotheby’s.  Click on any to enlarge.

    (See post on for July 24, 2011).

    Boconnoc House in its setting.

    The library after restoration.

    The library cornice before restoration.

    The staircase after restoration.

    The staircase before restoration.

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