While setting up exhibits for a summer tour and tea, organised for The Shell Pensioners Association, I was struck by how many beautiful oriental patterns we have displayed in the house.
These were mainly collected by my great grandmother and grandfather, Muriel and Arthur Burnett, who travelled extensively throughout India and the Far East during the beginning of the 20th Century.
They had a good eye for design and colour, adding beautiful rugs, china and silks to the Kemnay House collection.
The largest Persian rug covers the dining room floor and looks as if it was made to measure, even though it was only bought 100 years after the room had been redecorated in the 1830s. This Ziegler rug (named after the German import company, rather than their tribal origin) perfectly matches the rich burnt orange tones of the room, featuring stylised flower heads and foliage.
The drawing room is decorated in blues and golds, making a perfect backdrop for displaying costumes, china, fans and silks dating back to the 17th Century. The rugs are Chinese and North West Persian, mirroring the colours of the furniture.
However, it's the smaller patterns observed on the edge of a silk fan, or in the detail of a plate that can be easily overlooked, but very much appreciated when found...