Posts Tagged ‘national trust’

Back in September I took a trip to the Cotswolds, and during my visit I took a tour around the beautiful Chastleton House, a true Jacobean time capsule. The house was completed in 1612 and until 1991, when it was acquired by the National Trust, Chastleton House was owned by the same family for almost 400 years. Overtime the wealth of the family began to dwindle, which meant that the usual restoration and refurbishment could not be carried out, therefore the house stayed in almost in its exact original form.

Barbara Clutton-Brock, the last private owner of the stunning property has said, “poverty is a great preserver”, and she is exactly right. The house is captures the romantic essence of time-stood-still, everything perfectly in its place, and although some things are quietly cracking, pealing or slightly disintegrating, all the features of Chastleton House still manage to convey the same beauty and harmony today and they would have during its reign.

This wrought-iron chandelier would have been an original feature in the Great Hall at Chastleton House, along with these amazing carvings in the woodwork. The first is from the archway that leads you into the hall and the second is located on the border of the panelling around the room. Both have some interesting imagery in them, including the classical acanthus leaves as well as some mythological hybrids between man and animal.

In the same Great Hall is a rather interesting display, a mounted stag head with its body painted onto the wall. This is quite an unusual way to display hunting trophies so may have been something that was introduced to the room as a later point in time, however it makes for an eye-catching piece and certainly pulled everyone’s attention during the tour.

Moving along through the house you enter the Great Parlour, which is full of wonderful features. The house is filled with wonderful tapestries, including this rich scenic piece which is parallel to the length of the dining table.

Another stunning feature in the Great Parlour is the fireplace which is flanked by two panels of Delft tiles. The blue and white tiles are a well sought after design, with originals being worth a considerable amount of money, these tiles would have been a very fashionable item to have in home especially during the mid to late 17th century.

My absolute favourite part of the house was the plasterwork on the ceilings in the Great Parlour, Great Chamber and the Long Gallery. The decorative ceiling made a huge impact and were just marvellous piece of artwork. It is rare to see such a heavily embellished ceiling in today’s modern world so the ceilings at Chastleton were a real treat for the eyes.

The ceiling isn’t all there is to see in the Great Chamber room at Chastleton, the oak panelling on all four walls on the room is covered in ornate carvings as well as square portraits. The whole room is dramatic in its appearance and there is true admiration for the craftsmanship that went into the decorative vision.

During the Renaissance period staircases became another way to add decorative features into a house, and this is certainly apparent for the central staircase at Chastleton. With the ornamental string panelling and the pointed newels, this is another great show of craftsmanship.

Upstairs in the house are some wonderful bedrooms that are the epitome of faded grandeur; from the divinely carved bed frames, to the tapestries that still manage after all this time to keep the brightness of that powerful royal blue, to the crumpling wallpaper and even the intricately carved door where the nose of a man’s portrait has been rubbed off, everything is perfect in its dishevelled state.

Finally, the very top of the house is where the Long Gallery is located, and is in fact one of the largest surviving galleries from this time period. As overheard by one of the tour guides, this is where games of badminton were played and during conversation periods, a few shuttlecocks were found under the floorboards!

Chastleton House is truly quite a remarkable place, despite its size and status the house comes across in a rather modest way. Perhaps because it has been humbled over the years by its occupant’s money troubles, the house has embraced its fading magnificence, turning the house into a romantic forgotten land.


Chastleton House is reopens to the public in March 2017, for more information visit: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chastleton-house

Read Full Post »

On New Year’s Day I’m sure many of you tuned in to catch the Sherlock Special on BBC One, I certainly did and I was completely smitten with gorgeous house used in many of the scenes and just had to find out more about the property.

After a little research I found the house in question, Tyntesfield House, a Victorian Gothic Revival property located near Wraxall, North Somerset. The entire place is absolutely stunning inside and out and looks completely breath-taking on screen, so much so I was paying less attention the plot line and more to the spectacular interiors!

I rarely find a Gothic Revival building that I don’t like, in fact it’s an architectural soft spot for me. It’s the striking yet sinister appearance of the Tyntesfield House that makes it just on the right side spooky and therefore the ideal location for a story from Sherlock.

The land was originally home to a 16th Century hunting lodge until the 1830s when a Georgian mansion was erected in its place. In the 1860s the property was bought by businessman William Gibbs, who expanded and remodelled the entire house, turning it in the work of art it is today. The Tyntesfield House stayed in the Gibbs family up until 2002 when it was acquired by the ever reliable National Trust.

The house’s interiors are a design marvel, they manage to maintain the historic ambiance whilst still not looking out of place in the 21st Century. Despite Gothic Revival architecture being infamous for over-embellishment and excessive decoration the house still maintains clean and elegant lines. I love the beautiful stone carved window in the background of this scene, and though a little fuzzy and out of focus in this still it makes quite an exquisite impact.

All credit to the director of the Sherlock special, Douglas Mackinnon, for the wonderful camerawork throughout the episode, the sneak peek through the archway into the grand hallway makes a lovely viewpoint, especially with the statue hidden away in the shadows and the different levels of the staircase and continuing gallery.

In fact I was particularly taken with the staircase feature, for something that is made out of solid stone it seems to glide around the room with effortlessness and ease. I love the iron work and the beautiful red runner carpet that was a replica of the original carpet fitted in the 1860s, particularly when it’s contrasted with the adjacent leafy palm tree.

Another exquisite feature of the hallway is the fireplace and all its ornate Gothic carvings, demonstrating what Gothic Revival did best, making once just functional features of a home into show-stopping interior ornamentation.

The show also gives you a quick look into a few other rooms including the lounge and dining room. Here you can see the wonderful red hues of the lounge, accompanied by no less than three chandeliers. The high ceilings, large windows and great archways create the perfect balance of light and shadows to keep up the eerie appearance of the house. The furniture is perfectly scattered throughout the room as if it had never been touched, even though for the filming of Sherlock the production team removed over a 1000 pieces of original furniture and replaced it with replicas.

As the characters pace through this walk way we can catch a glimpse of the original tiling and wood carvings the interiors feature. The rich colour of the wood and the snappy green tiles are symbiotic and create peaceful and mellow surroundings.

If you haven’t seen the Sherlock Special yet check it out, if not for the plotline but for the wonderful scenery!


For more information on the Tyntesfield House visit, http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/tyntesfield

Watch Sherlock: The Abominable Bride via BBC iPlayer

Read Full Post »

I spent the most brilliant day last week at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire having a look around the amazing house and having a sneak peak at their extraordinary textile archive. The house and gardens were built from scratch in the 1870s by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild as a summer and weekend house and he seems to have been spurred on to great things by some good-natured rivalry with his sister Alice about who could create the most elaborate and lavish (and yet inviting and comfortable) home. The preservation of this astonishing building is the result of tremendous work by the Waddesdon Curators, the National Trust and the Rothschild family and there is so much to see, it is too much to absorb in one day. I would highly recommend a visit – it may not be to your taste (particularly if you err on the minimalist side) but you won’t fail to be impressed.


The Tapestries are as impressive as the paintings.IMAG0702

Curtains on the interior doors and silk lined walls – what is not to love!IMAG0706_BURST002_COVER     IMAG0717  IMAG0723

My favourite room

IMAG0729 IMAG0732

Cushions and fabric samples from the extensive textile archive.

Find out more at www.waddesdon.org.uk

Read Full Post »