In the 1960s, these remarkable wall paintings were discovered at no 34 Upper High Street. Through an expert technique called Strappo, the former Oxfordshire Museum Service removed the wall-paintings, gave them a solid backing, and kept them in store.
When Thame Museum was opened in 2004 the wall-paintings were installed in their own space. The original ceiling at 34 Upper High Street was angled, so in one of the rooms of the museum, which originally had a rounded ceiling, a wooden reconstruction of the original angled ceiling was built to house the wall paintings.
In 2015 the Museum received a National Lottery grant to improve the interpretation of the wall-paintings room. The room has now been reimagined as the home of the Elizabethan merchant who had lived at 34 Upper High Street, and he, his wife and child can be seen in the room.
As part of the Elizabethan merchant’s narrative, there is a touch-screen display in the room, complete with the ‘voice’ of the merchant and Elizabethan music on Elizabethan musical instruments which would have been in use at the time.
Step inside the Elizabethan merchant’s house and become immersed in the history of the time.
Furniture. The chair, chest and small table are modern reproductions of Tudor furniture. These were commissioned from Bates and Lambourne of Milton Common.
Stoneware Jugs. The stoneware jug and mug are modern reproductions of Brillware made by the Pot Shop in Lincoln. This type of locally produced earthenware was common throughout the Tudor period
Pewter Tableware. The large pewter platter and pewter mugs are replicas, kindly loaned by a Derek Turner, a member of the museum. The use of pewter was becoming more extensive during the Elizabethan period and is very likely to have been on display in a merchant’s household.
Clothed figures. The merchant’s costume is based on a design from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company which was used for the opening of the new Wall Painting exhibition. It reflects the status of a respectable merchant of the period, without the flamboyant wealth of some of the extremely rich merchants of the time, but with a certain social standing in the town to maintain. The museum is grateful to Linda Simon, a volunteer at the museum, for the design and construction of the costume.
The merchant’s wife is wearing a dress reflecting the period, currently on loan from the Thame Players.