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The Study, although named after its function, never acted as one, Merton using instead the Morning Room. It was one of the principal show rooms in the house where European decorative arts and fine art was displayed to great effect. The room itself was decorated with some subtle allusions to Merton’s position in society. His heraldic shield was carved in over doors, while the tiles in the cheeks of the fireplace were specially decorated by Carter’s of Poole (now Poole Pottery) to show his monogram, cockerel and the motto from his coat of arms. The Tynecastle wallpaper, which is actually embossed flax, is in the Stuart pattern, whilst the frieze, also Tynecastle, shows the fleur de lye’s, the English rose and Scottish thistle, possibly intended to represent Merton and Annie’s nationalities.
The Study’s rich metallic finish was thought of in the late nineteenth century as the perfect backdrop for paintings:
“This is at once the most obvious way of connecting the gold frames, the richest decoration for walls, and the most sympathetic setting for pictures... the entire wall could be painted a gold colour... with a pattern in gold.”
Magazine of Art 1882.
Or click on the floorplan for the virtual tour to explore the Study further.