Archive for the ‘Fenton House’ Category

Fiction and truth

February 28, 2013
The Drawing Room at Fenton House, as redecorated by John Fowler in 1973. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

The Drawing Room at Fenton House, as redecorated by John Fowler in 1973. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Those who have followed the debates around the Stephen Poliakoff’s recent TV series Dancing on the Edge and its sometimes convoluted (or seemingly convoluted) plot may appreciate the interiors at Fenton House, in Hampstead, north London. Fenton House was used as a location for Dancing on the Edge, and features as the house of the wealthy, charming and determinedly superficial Arthur Donaldson.

Another view of the Drawing Room. The curtain flounces were inspired by similar examples seen by John Fowler at Kasteel Duivenvoorde in the Netherlands. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

Another view of the Drawing Room. The curtain flounces were inspired by similar examples seen by John Fowler at Kasteel Duivenvoorde in the Netherlands. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

Although Fenton House was built around 1686, its neo-Georgian interiors reflect its ownership from 1936 by Katherine, Lady Binning, who left it to the National Trust on her death in 1952. She had been married to the heir of the Earl of Haddington, and Fenton House was furnished with Haddington family heirlooms as well as with the collections she had inherited from her mother, Milicent Salting, and the latter’s brother-in-law, George Salting.

The Oriental Room at Fenton House, also redecorated by John Fowler. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

The Oriental Room at Fenton House, also redecorated by John Fowler. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

As some of the furnishings were returned to the various Haddington houses after 1952, certain rooms at Fenton House were left somewhat bare. In 1973 the National Trust invited the decorator John Fowler to help refurbish the house and give it a mellow, lived-in atmosphere. Fowler aficionados will recognise the subtle multi-tone painted woodwork in several rooms, the varied upholstery fabrics and the sophisticated curtain treatments.

Mid-20th-century white King Pyramid telephone, acquired for Fenton House in 2003. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Mid-20th-century white King Pyramid telephone, acquired for Fenton House in 2003. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

So there is a strong element of fiction in the presentation of Fenton House, giving an added poignancy to its use as a sumptuous film set. But as Poliakoff’s work demonstrates, if fiction is successful it acquires a certain kind of truth.

We love linen

June 15, 2011

The linen cupboard at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire. ©NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie

Selvedge, the textile magazine, is hosting an event entitled We Love Linen at historic Fenton House in Hampstead, London, on Tuesday 28 June.

The Laundry at Castle Ward, County Down. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

Professor Amanda Vickery, historian and author of Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England (which was recently turned into the BBC series At Home with the Georgians) will speak about the role of household linens in Georgian England.

An eighteenth-century glass linen smoother, found in the ruins of West Mill, near Corfe Castle, Dorset. ©NTPL/Cristian Barnett

She will be followed by collector Elizabeth Baer, who will be showing a selection of antique linen, some of which will be available to purchase.

A goffering machine in the laundry at Castle Ward, County Down. This was a miniature mangle with ribbed surfaces to give linen a frilled finish. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

Before the talks begin attendees will be able to enjoy a glass of wine with strawberries and cream and to explore the charming garden at Fenton House, weather permitting.

Detail of a linen damask napkin at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, woven with a ducal coronet and the Cavendish snake crest and embroidered with 'H' for Hardwick and the date 1827. ©NTPL/John Hammond

Tickets at £35 (concessions £30) can be booked via freephone +44 (0)208 341 9721 or via the event website.


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