Space for contemplation

The Oval Pavilion at Farnborough Hall, Warwickshire.

The Oval Pavilion, built in the 1740s, at Farnborough Hall, Warwickshire. Images/Chris Lacey

Fellow Twitterer K. Alexander (亞天恩, @thian_un) just mentioned how nice it would be to have a hermitage where one could retreat for a bit of sustained thinking and writing. In response I suggested this charming structure, the Oval Pavilion at Farnborough Hall, Warwickshire, as a model for the ideal retreat.

c18th domed ceiling at Farnborough with rococo plasterwork possible by W Perritt in the oval pavilion

Rococo plasterwork decoration inside the Oval Pavilion, Farnborough Hall. ©National Trust Images/Nick Meers

In good weather you could sit on the open lower level, admiring the landscape and perhaps doing a bit of sketching. The contemplation and writing could take place in the cosy and yet light-filled room upstairs.

The only problem might be that the exuberant rococo decoration would be rather distracting and might lead to frivolous thoughts.

10 Responses to “Space for contemplation”

  1. Nikki Says:

    I discovered this little place at the end of last year, and was so pleasantly surprised to discover I could go up to the first floor (I had very much expected my trip up the stairs to be a wasted one when I saw the shut door, but behold the knob moved!) What you don’t get from these photographs are the wonderful views out too, which would be another distraction.

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    So actually it is not a very good retreat after all: far too many distractions 🙂

  3. Susan Walter Says:

    Not distractions! Creative procrastination — a very important part of the process.

  4. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    True. And going up the staircase would emphasise that you are entering another world, a bit like the small low doors of Japanese tea ceremony pavilions.

  5. theirishaesthete Says:

    Most charming, and I hope one day to spend time – however brief – in contemplation there…
    A ‘house-keeping’ note: neither you, nor indeed the NT site to which you direct readers, say where is Farnborough Hall. It presupposes a knowledge that may not exist….

  6. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Sorry, how very solipsistic of me (us), assuming that all the world is completely familiar with it – and indeed there may well be other Farnborough Halls elsewhere. This one is in Warwickshire (which I will add to the text above).

  7. theirishaesthete Says:

    Not at all (and I was rather reluctant to appear critical). Actually I do know where it is, but others may not: important for the NT one would have thought?

  8. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Indeed, everything we do is supposed to ‘drive visits’, as the jargon has it 🙂

  9. Ann Orr Says:

    Though I live in the city my thoughtful refuge exists in my backyard. An unexpected workplace bonus enabled me to purchase a tiny greenhouse from England. Once erected and paved with slate I installed a tiny pot bellied stove for winter. To sit there wrapped in a comforter and read and look out at the sky and trees is balm for my soul. Thank you so much for the lovely post on similar desired escapes. Ann

  10. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Ann, what a lovely image of you sitting there contemplating the trees and the sky. I wish I had a space like that.

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