Lotherton Hall’s Oriental Gallery is being de-installed to make way for new interpretation on the history of the house.
Robert Rowe described the 1975 Oriental Gallery plans thus: ‘A great deal of thought has gone into the display units and lighting systems with the result, we hope, that the objects will be seen under conditions worthy of them. Flexibility has been a major consideration as well: to show off the beauties of a Neolithic pot, for example, it should be possible to show it in different lights and against a variety of backgrounds’ (Leeds Art Calendar 1974). A gallery view in the 1975 guide book shows a mainly cream and beige colour scheme, with contemporary low tables set against a deep red carpet, whose red was picked up by the plinths of two large island cases. The case surrounds were of polished steel or aluminium.
Two black and white photographs of the Oriental Gallery from 1975 survive, one of the same view as the colour image in the brochure, and this second one, giving a view looking back to the entrance way.
In the 1990s the colour scheme was changed by Daru Rooke, to be more sympathetic to the period interiors of the house, and to an ‘antique’ Chinese feel, using green, red and blue paint on the walls. Gilt framed paintings of boats on rivers and lovers beside lakes, by European influenced Chinese painters, were hung against the blue, and mahogany toned wood facings covered over the white metallic case edgings. Lighter grained wooden bases inside the cases improved the ambience of the chronological Chinese ceramics display.