The David Parr House, Cambridge. A small, three-bedroomed house bought in 1887 by David Parr a working-class ‘artist-painter’, who replicated within his own home, the Gothic Revival and Arts & Crafts decorative work he undertook for F. R. Leach & Sons who were employed on the embellishment of significant commissions throughout the city and worked with such distinguished figures as the architects George Frederick Bodley, George Gilbert Scott Junior and the designer William Morris.
Working with the University of Lincoln, the team were asked to replicate and restore two Lincrusta-Walton panels to the left of the front door. It is believed the hallway design was created by David Parr from multiple small ‘offcuts’, pieced together from an original nineteenth-century Lincrusta-Walton design, No. 1128 ‘Hampton Court’.
The panels were originally 18 inches wide and could be purchased for 2 shillings and 9d from wholesalers. The earliest reference within catalogues was found in 1898, where it was described as sold in the colour ‘Cedar’ or ‘B’, a chocolate or warm brown colour.
Two of the six small panels to the left of the front door below dado height, which had over the past century begun to curl and break away from the wall, were restored.
The replication process involved making a reinforced mould taken from one of the intact panels. From this mould, very thin casts of the relief were made in a composite of gypsum suspended in an acrylic resin. Once partially cured, the replicated panels were cut to size and adhered to the wall using a strong adhesive, then filled and finally, colour-matched to the rich dark chocolate brown of the original Lincrusta-Walton.