An exciting project with a conservation and cultural focus based around a fascinating private house, home to the Victorian artist painter David Parr and featuring fine internal decorations. Caroe Architecture was appointed to undertake emergency repair works to the fabric and, in conjunction with Tobit Curteis Associates, formulate a response to the conservation needs of the internal decorations.
The David Parr House looks from the outside like a slightly run-down Victorian terraced house, similar to hundreds of others in the streets off Mill Road in Cambridge. Only on closer inspection are there hints of something more behind the three-quarters-closed living room curtains. As the visitor opens the front door, they see hallway walls covered in stencilled patterns – the first clue to the unexpected interior that is waiting for them to experience. As they wander around the house and begin to absorb the aesthetic jumble of decoration, curiosity will hopefully take over, with questions rising in their minds such as – who did this, how did they do it, and why did they do it?
They might also wonder at the skill of the painter and the fact that the interior has managed to survive in its present state. It is this curiosity that the project will hopefully harness and engage with, allowing the visitor to delve into the intriguing life of an extraordinary working class Victorian painter and the decorative arts company for which he worked.