Archive for the ‘Salvin, Anthony’ Category

A Victorian library at Dunster Castle

August 18, 2011

The Library at Dunster Castle. ©NTPL/Bill Batten

Mark Purcell, the National Trust’s Libraries Curator, runs a thriving open Facebook group called National Trust Libraries. There he shares fascinating facts, discoveries and images to do with the books and library rooms in the care of the National Trust.

Wallpaper imitating Spanish leather hangings, installed in the Library as part of the Salvin remodeling of Dunster. ©NTPL/Bill Batten

He just posted the above image of the Library at Dunster Castle, Somerset, which he says is not a particularly important with regard to its books, but is definitely an evocative example of a Victorian library sitting room.

George Fownes Luttrell, by Cyrus Johnson. ©NTPL/John Hammond

The room was created in 1870-1 by the architect Anthony Salvin for the owner of Dunster, George Fownes Luttrell and his wife Anne Elizabeth.

Anne Elizabeth Hood, wife of George Fownes Luttrell, by Cyrus Johnson. ©NTPL/John Hammond

Salvin was known for his work remodelling ancient castles such as Alnwick in Northumberland. The Luttrells similarly wanted to bring their own castle into line with Victorian levels of comfort and efficiency, but at the same time to preserve and enhance the medieval and Jacobean elements of the building.

Dunster Castle seen from the Lawns. ©NTPL/Arnhel de Serra

Although the £25,000 budget at Dunster was only about a tenth of that at Alnwick, Salvin made various changes both inside and out which were meant to look as if they had been gradually added over the centuries. At the same time that did not prevent him from installing gas lighting, central heating, running hot water and the latest kitchen equipment.

Dunster Castle in its landscape. ©NTPL/Magnus Rew

Another example of Salvin’s picturesque work can be found at Scotney Castle in Kent. And Mark Purcell, as many of you will know, has recently published a book about historic Irish libraries.

The new house

March 22, 2010

The ruin at Scotney Castle, with the new house beyond. ©NTPL/John Miller

The garden at Scotney Castle, in Kent, is one of the finest surviving examples of the Picturesque landscape style. Around 1840 Edward Hussey III commissioned Anthony Salvin to build a new house there. The garden was designed by William Sawrey Gilpin, who incorporated the ruin of the old castle in a picturesque composition that could be admired from the new house.

The hall at the new house. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

Edward’s grandson Christopher Hussey inherited Scotney in 1952. He was an architectural historian who contributed to Country Life for over 50 years. In 1927 he had written a pioneering study of the Picturesque movement, which was directly influenced by his experience of the garden at Scotney. He was also one of the minds behind the National Trust’s Country Houses Scheme, through which historic houses were beginning to be secured in the 1940s.

Christopher Hussey's study. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

Christopher and his wife Betty reinvigorated the garden, and they furnished the house with heirlooms as well as new purchases. Although they were keen to preserve the original neo-Elizabethan decor, the interiors also clearly show their own taste and interests. 

Some of Christopher Hussey's books. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

The Husseys’ friends have testified that Scotney was a happy and welcoming place. The interiors show what life could be like in an English country house in the twentieth century, with a relaxed coexistence of old and new.

The kitchen. ©NTPL/John Miller

Scotney was left to the National Trust upon Christopher’s death in 1970, but Betty continued to live in the house during her long widowhood. After her death the contents of the house were accepted in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust in 2008.

The bamboo bedroom (during 2010 this room may only be open on selected days). ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

The house is now open to visitors. It adds another layer to the already rich and multifaceted experience of Scotney.


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