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Wilton House: Holbein Porch and Triumphal Arch

The judges enjoyed their chance to visit the C16th Holbein Porch, removed from the house in the early C19th and rebuilt in a location not accessible to the public. Both it and the much more visible archway had clearly been treated in a very responsible way, with necessary repairs carried out but with no attempt to make the buildings, the porch in particular, look too tidied up. A full range of stone conservation techniques had been intelligently applied, with new stone only inserted where what was there before had clearly reached the end of its life. On the arch, the carving of new part capitals and two paterae had been executed to exceptionally high standards. The commissioning of a comprehensive report on the polychrome elements surviving on the porch showed a laudable degree of commitment to the project, and the illustration this enabled, showing what the porch would originally have looked like, provides an excellent means of extending knowledge of this important structure more widely. The judges felt that giving an award jointly for both buildings was the obvious way to recognise an approach which did not distinguish between what was very visible to the public and what was tucked away out of sight, and applied the same very high standards to both.