Here comes the flood / a mural dilemma

The rains which hit Cannes area with such devastating consequences on Saturday 3rd arrived with us on the following Tuesday. It was an insane deluge and the thunder and lightning was quite entertaining through the skylight over the staircase. For the first hour the guttering coped with the water, but then I heard the tell-tale drip as the house could no longer resist. I stayed calm but it was going to be a long night

I put a large container in place to collect the worst of it and added towels to reduce the impact on the surrounding marble. This is not the first flood the house has seen and it is unlikely to be the last before we get the roof repaired. I could do no more than that and it was a depressing scene so I shuffled off in my flip flops to the salon to remove wallpaper as a distraction

Not my favourite pic of the stairs
Not my favourite pic of the stairs

When I first viewed the house in May I glimpsed some plaster where someone had pulled at the wallpaper, revealing the edge of a design. I decided that working on this was the best way to take my mind off the leak

I started taking paper off and exposed this stunning, though badly damaged, 17th century painting of two lions guardant

17th century lions revealed
17th century lions revealed

It is very fragile and as I did not have the expertise or materials to stabilise it I moved onto another wall in the salon to strip some more paper, only to find yet more designs, some of which are as bright as they can ever have been. The indications are that these designs are all round the room

some kind of urn?
some kind of urn?

We are keen to preserve this history under glass, and we feel privileged to have something as special as this. However (and I never thought I would say this) it creates a strange ‘be careful what you wish for’ dilemma. My problem is this; if there are, as it seems, numerous bits of painting around the room, am I supposed to strip everything back to the bare plaster and expose them all? It may sound wonderful and it is the sort of thing I have often dreamed of, but this is also the biggest and most exciting room I have ever had the chance to decorate, and I don’t know that I am prepared to allow the décor to be entirely dictated by someone who died around 300 years ago!