Deep background

The Golden Room at Kingston Lacy, Dorset, as created by William Bankes in 1838-9 and hung mainly with Spanish paintings. ©NTPL/James Mortimer

The National Trust’s curators have been steadily working to increase the number of up-to-date online collections guides, covering those historic houses that have particularly rich holdings of pictures, sculpture, or other collections.

Portrait of Cardinal Camillo Massimi by Diego Velázquez, in the Golden Room at Kingston Lacy. ©NTPL/Derrick E. Witty

Previously the guides were available via the web pages of the individual historic houses on the national Trust’s website, but now they can be consulted on one dedicated web page.

The ceiling of the Golden Room, reputedly from the Palazzo degli Scrigni in Venice, inset with a painting depicting the creation of the elements, after an original by Veronese in the Ca' Pisani. ©NTPL/James Mortimer

The guides currently cover the Arlington Court carriage museum, the historic lighting at The Argory, the pictures at Blickling Hall, the pictures and sculpture at Cragside, the pictures in the Green closet at Ham House, the pictures at Kingston Lacy, the catalogue of the exhibition George Bernard Shaw, Man and Cameraman, the pictures and sculpture at Sizergh Castle and the pictures and sculpture at Stourhead.

Smaller copy of Velázquez's Las Meninas, attributed to the artist's son-in-law Juan Bautista Martinez del Mazo, in the Golden Room at Kingston Lacy. ©NTPL/John Hammond

The choice of illustrations to this post has been inspired by a perusal of the guide to the pictures of Kingston Lacy, that amazing treasure house in Dorset. The collections guides web page also provides a link to the bibliography of publications about National Trust properties and collections, the subject of a previous post.

4 Responses to “Deep background”

  1. Parnassus Says:

    What a treasure trove you have pointed out to us. I just looked at the Argory lighting info., which was both attractive and fascinating, taking the question of old-house lighting beyond the fixtures themselves. (At the Winchester house in San Jose, I recall that you can still visit the old acetylene generator.)

    I also admired the guide to the carriage museum. The explanations of each type were very clear, and naturally illustrated by cool antique specimens. This type of information is useful not just to people visiting old properties. In old novels, people are always riding in one type of horse-drawn vehicle or another, and this guide allows you to visualize just what was going on
    –Road to Parnassus.

  2. style court Says:

    Just downloaded Ham House/Green closet. Beautifully presented, interesting, and helpful,

  3. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Parnassus, yes light fixtures can be a great ‘way in’ to understand how people lived, how houses were run and what the atmosphere of a place may have been like.

    Courtney, thank you. There are so many marvellous pictures in that room, but one that always makes me smile is the plumbago on vellum picture of the Duke of Lauderdale, at one time virtual ruler of Scotland, and who with his wife Elizabeth largely created the Ham House we can see today – such a fleshy, beady-eyed visage, and with a magnificently voluminous wig :)

  4. Mark D. Ruffner Says:

    Your last comment induced me to find images of the Duke of Lauderdale, and I would agree that he’s not a person with whom I’d want to spend a winter.

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