The black-curtained unit against the left wall of of the area is the racks where we keep our samplers. Many of our samplers were donated to the house by one private individual, Douglas Goodhart, who had built up over their life through single purchases. Nowadays these items are more cherished than they were back then, which means that many of them have become quite valuable. A large bulk of them originate from the 17th century, and can be very easy to date because the sewers tended to incorporate years – or even dates – as well as their names into the design. The blackout curtains are to minimise light damage, and we also have the same type of curtains on the main windows, and are closed when the room is not in use.
The wooden item next to the sampler storage unit is a hammered keyboard (fortepiano?) which is in need of repair. We would like to move it from the corner to a more suitable location to free up access to the secondary door to the room, but at the moment the legs are too fragile to do so. Unfortunately the inside is a pile of broken/removed hammers, so the instrument is unlikely to receive the investment able to render it in a playable condition. The white marks on the casing that look like paint flecks are the remnants of repairwork in which a solution is poured into woodworm holes to prevent further damage.
The iron fireplace is in the Gothic Revival style and the hearth guard kept under the bench to its left (as seen in the earlier photograph of the work table) is not originally a part of it, but may have been used in one of the fireplaces in the house at some point. The panelling above it is where we keep our thermometer and electronic temperature gauge. Monitoring the temperature of the various rooms in the house (you will see similar gauges placed high up in some of the other rooms) help us to make decisions as to which need heating, or perhaps de-humidifying. The paneling above the fireplace is in very good condition, but as with the woodwork all over the house, it has a couple of loose sections that will need re-fixing at some point (this is a periodical occurance and is routine to remedy).
Additionally, on some of the window sills you will notice insect monitors, which have adhesive strips that allow us to trap and examine which types of insects are currently travelling through each room. The majority of insects that we do catch are perfectly okay to be there, and in some cases predate on more harmful ones, but for example, if we were to discover that cloth-eating insects had taken residence in this storage room, we would be very swift to bring in a specialist to remove them.
As a closer, a picture of a window still before I began hoovering and dusting...