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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 February, 2005, 22:27 GMT
Decorators unearth historic find
Wall at Lilybank House
The design was uncovered by decorators at the house
Decorators have made a discovery of "national importance" while working on an A-listed building in Glasgow.

Conservation experts were called in after original stencilling work was found at Lilybank House, which belongs to Glasgow University.

Experts believe it dates back to 1863, when an an extension was designed by architect Alexander 'Greek' Thomson.

Historic Scotland has been called in by the university to investigate and manage the conservation process.

The work is being led by Robert Wilmot, Historic Scotland's conservation centre manager.

Learn and record

He said: "This really is an exciting find of national importance.

"Even though Thomson was working comparatively recently, we have very little evidence of his style of interiors.

"In fact, it has been said that we know more about the 2,000-year-old interiors of Pompeii and Herculaneum than we do about Glasgow buildings of a century ago!

"Over the coming months Historic Scotland's conservation team will be working to ensure that we learn and record as much as we can about the stencil work."

Design details
Little evidence remains of Thomson's style of interiors

Dr Sally Rush, from the university's art history department, said it was "fascinating" to see one of Thomson's later domestic interiors emerging from under layers of paint.

The architect created some of the most unique secular and ecclesiastical buildings of the Victorian era.

The stencilling work in the Thomson extension was commissioned in 1863 by its then owner, John Blackie Jnr, a prominent local businessman who became Lord Provost of Glasgow.

The original house dates to about 1850, and a further addition in 1895 is believed to have been designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Historic Scotland has also found a mural frieze running along the bottom of the wall in the entrance hall, which is hidden under numerous layers of paint.

It is similar to another design found in the drawing room and the bright colours in the area are typical of Thomson's other work.


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