Pierre Frey has a date with History / 2- Hauteville House, Victor Hugo house – Guernsey


A writer in his interior

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The house in Guernsey gave shelter to Victor Hugo during his exile between 1856 and 1870.  Those fifteen years prove decisive in building his reputation as a committed and rebellious writer.
Hauteville House, located on the heights of Saint Peter Port in Guernsey, is a “true three-storey autograph, and a poem in several rooms”, as his son Charles wrote.

Hauteville House, cheminée et torchères du salon rouge, 1er étage Hauteville House, le salon bleu (avec la table aux quatre encriers) vue du salon rouge, 1er étage

The renovation project, which began in April 2018, allowed us to restore the appearance of the house and its decorations to reflect the design conceived by Victor Hugo himself. This residence, more than a place of memory, is a masterpiece of restored decorative art.



Letters describing the orders placed by Victor Hugo with the Maison Braquenié convinced Mr. Audinet, director of Victor Hugo’s home, to call on Pierre Frey to participate in the restoration in order to faithfully capture its original spirit.

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Research was based on old photos of the site and textiles that are still in place. For the first fabric, a 17th century damask and a 20th century reweave, identical in every aspect to the one used by Victor Hugo, were found in our archives. For the second fabric, the original was quite deteriorated making it difficult to
discern.  La Maison Pierre Frey proposed a two-tone damask with similar decorative effects. The original color was replicated by custom-dying the yarns to match a tiny sample recovered within the seam where it was protected from the light.  The colourful atmosphere of the salon of the time was thus restored to resemble its original décor, with one small exception: the replacement of the original silk fabric was woven with a fireproof fibre in order to meet the current safety requirements for a public space.

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Redimensionnement de pièce 528x697cm et nouveau tapis

To complete the project, Pierre Frey was also asked to reweave the edge of the carpet, which was in too poor a condition to be reused.

The third place, “Chateau de Chambord – Loire Valley”, is to be discovered in the next newsletter!

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