The second University of Pennsylvania Praxis at Powderham Castle took place in May on the river Exe in England. Pamela, Penn colleagues Laura Keim and Frank Matero and graduate assistants Starr Herr Cardillo and Elizabeth Trumbull guided ten first year graduate students in the Historic Preservation Program through three weeks of investigation. This year, the focus was on the the 18thcentury spaces, which mark a dramatic period from the family’s return to the castle c. 1710 to repair damage inflicted during a siege in the Civil War, to construction of the Music Room, designed by James Wyatt in 1796 to represent the height of taste and social customs.
Through measured drawings, photographs, paint analysis and archival review, students traced the evolution and developed recommendations for key spaces, including the South entrance, First and Second Libraries and State Bedroom. Living and working in the Castle, observing tours as well as special events from Movie Night and Harry Potter Trivia to Jousting gave students a unique perspective on the management of this unique historic site, still owned by the Earl of Devon and his family. Lectures and field trips rounded out understanding of the country house architecture and technology in Devon, as well as management of historic sites owned by a range of non-profits organizations.
Frank Matero reviewing plaster recovered behind the hidden door in the Second Library with Laura Keim (center and student Dorcas Corchado (right).
Group photo at the 18th century Grotto on the Powderham Estate.