The Library at Croome Court and its bookcase tell the story of Croome, from its conception by the 6th Earl of Coventry and the work undertaken to create the estate, to the decline and varied use until it came into the stewardship of the National Trust. Design Penguin were entrusted to create new interpretation panels that explored this history.
The theme of the display is “Looking Closely” so we explored the symbolism Robert Adam used in his designs for Croome’s Long Gallery plasterwork ceiling. All of the flower and plant motifs are reflective of the plants from the grounds that the 6th Earl cherished.
Working with the National Trust brand guidelines, we selected colours to compliment the room and created line drawing illustrations of the motifs for people to look for – using mirrors to spot them, without straining their necks.
V&A return bookcases to Croome
Croome’s library had spectacular (Robert Adam designed) wooden bookcases that were purchased and part displayed in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The ones that we not on display were returned to Croome in 2020, but because of the pandemic they stayed in their packing crates in the Long Gallery for almost 2 years.
It was the next part of this project where the challenge of the bookcase kicked in. Due to the weight of the bookcases it could not be restored into the original Library room, neither could it be fully built as some were still at the V&A. The team at Croome commissioned units to be built in the Drawing Room so the bookcases could be safety stored, with a section built for visitors to enjoy.
The storage presented us with moveable panels that needed to have graphics designed that explained the history of the bookcases, the importance of the vast book collection that was once at Croome, and how the library was used up until the eventual sale of the bookcases to the V&A and their partial return.
Design Penguin created a patterned vinyl wall paper inspired by an original Georgian design of the time of 6th Earl. The vinyl was wrapped on the panels which allows for them to be moved easily by the team (for condition checking) without the graphics being damaged. Further interpretation was designed and printed onto raised panels to add depth to the display. We followed the colour palate through from the Long Gallery to join the two parts of this extensive project together and lead visitors through the story of Croome.
The project also came in as a 100th job, therefore a Penguin was adopted for the team.