Author Archive

Chinese wallpaper in National Trust houses

May 6, 2014
Detail from the Chinese wallpaper in the State Bedroom at Erddig, hung in the 1770s. ©National Trust/Andrew Bush

Detail from the Chinese wallpaper in the State Bedroom at Erddig, hung in the 1770s. ©National Trust/Andrew Bush

As some of you will know, Andrew Bush, Dr Helen Clifford and I have been preparing a catalogue of the Chinese wallpapers in the care of the National Trust. This little publication is now available through the National Trust online shop at an introductory price of £9.99.

Detail from the Chinese wallpaper in the State Dressing Room at Nostell Priory, supplied by Thomas Chippendale in 1771. ©National Trust/Andrew Bush

Detail from the Chinese wallpaper in the State Dressing Room at Nostell Priory, supplied by Thomas Chippendale in 1771. ©National Trust/Andrew Bush

We hope the catalogue will widen the interest into these beautiful wallpapers. We also hope it will lead to more exchange of information, as so much is still unclear about the origins and development of Chinese wallpaper.

The Chinese wallpaper in the State Bedroom at Erddig. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The Chinese wallpaper in the State Bedroom at Erddig. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Writing the catalogue has been a voyage of discovery. For instance, we hadn’t realised before how closely related the wallpapers at Erddig and Nostell Priory actually are. Although they are both painted by hand, some motifs are practically identical, meaning that the same models or templates must have been used in the making of both papers.

The Chinese wallpaper in the State Dressing Room at Nostell Priory. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The Chinese wallpaper in the State Dressing Room at Nostell Priory. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

There are also strong similarities between these two wallpapers and the ones preserved at Cobham Hall – now a school – and Milton Manor  House – still privately owned. Yet another one hung at Ashburnham Place and is now at Blair House, the presidential guest house in Washington DC – with thanks to Michael Shepherd and Robert M. Kelly for telling us about it. Through these discoveries we can now begin to identify a ‘1760s-70s style’ in Chinese floral wallpapers.

Detail of the Chinese wallpaper in the State Bedroom at Erddig. ©National trust/Andrew Bush

Detail of the Chinese wallpaper in the State Bedroom at Erddig. ©National trust/Andrew Bush

Investigations by Lucy Johnson at Woburn Abbey have also just brought to light fragments of a Chinese wallpaper hung in 1752 which clearly relates to the wallpapers at Felbrigg Hall and Ightham Mote.

Detail of the Chinese wallpaper in the State Bedroom at Nostell Priory. ©National Trust/Andrew Bush

Detail of the Chinese wallpaper in the State Bedroom at Nostell Priory. ©National Trust/Andrew Bush

We are keen to explore the links with Chinese wallpapers elsewhere in Europe and America, as well as the original Chinese art-historical context. Organising a conference will be next on our agenda. So do please get in touch if you look after or know of anything to do with historic Chinese wallpapers.

The library at Mount Stewart secured

April 30, 2014
View of Lady Londonderry's Sitting Room at Mount Stewart. ©National Trust Images/Peter Aprahamian

View of Lady Londonderry’s Sitting Room at Mount Stewart. ©National Trust Images/Peter Aprahamian

It has just been announced that the library at Mount Stewart has been acquired by the National Trust from the estate of the late Lady Mairi Bury. These books, spread across a number of rooms in the house, document the intellectual, cultural and political life of the Vane-Tempest-Stewart family since the eighteenth century.

Lady Londonderry's Sitting Room, Mount Stewart. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Lady Londonderry’s Sitting Room, Mount Stewart. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

The library was purchased for just under £100,000, with funding from the Royal Oak Foundation, the B.H. Breslauer Foundation, the Northern Ireland Museums Council, the Friends of the National Libraries, Doreen Burns and Terence and Di Kyle.

View of the Castlereagh Room at Mount Stewart. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

View of the Castlereagh Room at Mount Stewart. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Some of the books were owned by Charles Stewart, 7th Marquess of Londonderry (1878-1949) and his wife Edith (1879-1959). They were both actively engaged in politics and in addition Edith was a notable gardener and cultural patroness, all of which is reflected in the books they collected.

The Castlereagh Room, Mount Stewart. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

The Castlereagh Room, Mount Stewart. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

In his study of northern Irish country house libraries, The Big House Library in Ireland, Mark Purcell notes how the ownership inscriptions in the books at Mount Stewart provide evocative evidence of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century family and social networks.

Bookplate of Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry, incorporating a portrait by Philip de Laszlo. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Bookplate of Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry, incorporating a portrait by Philip de Laszlo. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

A first edition of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (1814) at Mount Stewart, for instance, belonged to one of Lord Londonderry’s ancestors, Amelia Ann Hobart (1772-1829), while an 1813 copy of Pride and Prejudice owned by her half-sister Caroline, Lady Suffield (d.1850), remains at their parents’ house, Blickling Hall.

A note on one of the bookshelves in the Castlereagh Room at Mount Stewart, with instructions to borrowers. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

A note on one of the bookshelves in the Castlereagh Room at Mount Stewart, with instructions to borrowers. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Other books that have ended up at Mount Stewart were once in the possession of Amelia and Caroline’s great aunt, Henrietta Howard, Countess of Suffolk (c.1688-1767), the mistress of George II who built the exquisitely Palladian Marble Hill House.

Francis Hayman, the sculptural painter

April 24, 2014
Sacrifice to Apollo, from the Arch of Constantine, by Francis Hayman, at Blickling Hall. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Sacrifice to Apollo, from the Arch of Constantine, by Francis Hayman, at Blickling Hall. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

A group of five grisaille paintings by Francis Hayman (1708-76) at Blickling Hall is currently undergoing conservation treatment.

The Blickling Haymans being treated. ©National Trust

The Blickling Haymans being treated. ©National Trust

Conservators Sally Woodcock and Polly Saltmarsh are consolidating and cleaning the surface of the pictures, filling in surface cracks and strengthening their frames. The work has been funded by the Ashford Trust and the Norfolk National Trust Centre.

Mercury delivering a message to Jupiter and Juno, with Neptune in attendance, from an antique relief in the Museo Angelonio, by Francis Hayman, at Blickling Hall. ©National Trust, images supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Mercury delivering a message to Jupiter and Juno, with Neptune in attendance, from an antique relief in the Museo Angelonio, by Francis Hayman, at Blickling Hall. ©National Trust, images supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Hayman was a versatile artist who produced portraits, history paintings, pictures showing scenes from plays and decorative works such as this group.

The Emperor Trajan sacrificing to Mars Victorious (from the Arch of Constantine), by Francis Hayman, at Blickling Hall. ©National trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

The Emperor Trajan sacrificing to Mars Victorious (from the Arch of Constantine), by Francis Hayman, at Blickling Hall. ©National trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

His biggest commission was to paint about fifty pictures to decorate the pavilions and supper boxes at Vauxhall Gardens, the popular pleasure grounds on the south bank of the river Thames.

Portrait of the sculptor Peter Scheemakers (1691–1781), by Francis Hayman, at the Royal College of Physicians, London. ©Royal College of Physicians, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Portrait of the sculptor Peter Scheemakers (1691–1781), by Francis Hayman, at the Royal College of Physicians, London. ©Royal College of Physicians, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

The Blickling pictures had a similar decorative function, but hung in the private space of the library.

Portrait of Jonathan Tyers and his family, by Francis Hayman, in the National Portrait Gallery, London. ©National Portrait Gallery

Portrait of Jonathan Tyers and his family, by Francis Hayman, in the National Portrait Gallery, London. ©National Portrait Gallery

Sculpture seems to have been a recurring motif in Hayman’s work: he painted portraits of several sculptors and he included sculptural elements in his other works too.

Figures crowning a statue of Hercules (from the Arch of Constantine), by Francis Hayman, at Blickling Hall. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Figures crowning a statue of Hercules (from the Arch of Constantine), by Francis Hayman, at Blickling Hall. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

The Blickling grisailles will be on view again from the second half of May.

Two views of a massacre

April 3, 2014
Probably Pieter Breughel the Younger, The Massacre of the Innocents, at Upton House. ©National Trust/Angelo Hornak, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Probably Pieter Breughel the Younger, The Massacre of the Innocents, at Upton House. ©National Trust/Angelo Hornak, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

The team at Upton House are raising funds to conserve the painting Massacre of the Innocents, possibly painted by Pieter Breughel the Younger (1564-1638).

The Upton Breughel awaiting conservation. ©National Trust

The Upton Breughel awaiting conservation. ©National Trust

It has been in need of attention for a while, and is now looking a bit sorry for itself, covered in stabilising tissue ‘plasters’. A JustGiving page has been opened to help raise the £15,000 required for the extensive investigation and treatment.

The picture shows the massacre of children ordered by Herod following the birth of Christ. But there is also a political undertone to the imagery: it is set in a Flemish village, with the figures clad as in Breughel’s own time. It is thought to be a semi-veiled reference to the atrocities committed by the troops of the Spanish Habsburgs who then ruled the Netherlands.

Pieter Breughel the Elder (c.1525-69), Massacre of the Innocents, in the Royal Collection. Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Pieter Breughel the Elder (c.1525-69), Massacre of the Innocents, in the Royal Collection. Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

There is a version of this painting by Pieter Breughel the Elder in the Royal Collection, in which the image of massacre has been partially repainted to make it look less gruesome. Interestingly, this was done when that picture was owned by the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II, also a Habsburg – an example of sixteenth-century ‘image management’.

 

Traces of Rembrandt

April 1, 2014
Detail of the partially cleaned Buckland self-portrait. ©National Trust Images/Hamilton Kerr Institute

Detail of the partially cleaned Buckland self-portrait. ©National Trust Images/Hamilton Kerr Institute

Research continues into the Rembrandt self-portrait recently allocated to Buckland Abbey in lieu of inheritance tax.

X-ray image of the self-portrait. ©National Trust Images/Hamilton Kerr Institute

X-ray image of the self-portrait. ©National Trust Images/Hamilton Kerr Institute

The tests and analysis undertaken by the Hamilton Kerr Institute, in order to establish how confident we can be whether the portrait was actually painted by Rembrandt himself, are almost completed. But some interesting facts and images have already emerged.

Verso of the Buckland self-portrait photographed in raking light, showing the way the panel was carved. ©National Trust Images/Hamilton Kerr Institute

Verso of the Buckland self-portrait photographed in raking light, showing the way the panel was carved. ©National Trust Images/Hamilton Kerr Institute

X-ray images show what looks like the outline of a lace cuff, suggesting that the artist sketched in an arm but then changed his mind. Pentimenti like this make it more likely that a painting is an autograph work rather than a copy, as copyists would naturally follow the original rather than chop and change.

Date (1635) on the back of the panel - but is it original? ©National Trust Images

Date (1635) on the back of the panel – but is it original? ©National Trust Images

The date 1635 has been written on the back of the panel, matching  the ‘f.1635’ painted on the front, but these dates could have been added later and are not conclusive by themselves.

Labels on the back of the panel. ©National Trust Images/Hamilton Kerr Institute

Labels on the back of the panel. ©National Trust Images/Hamilton Kerr Institute

The back also shows two labels documenting the former ownership of the painting by the Princes of Liechtenstein, and its inclusion in an exhibition in Luzern in 1948. The number 84 corresponds to its inventory number when it was in the Galerie Liechtenstein in Vienna. And traces have been found of a seal fixed to one of the front corners, apparently similar to the seals regularly affixed to the paintings in the Liechtenstein collection.

Detail of the thickly painted motifs on Rembrandt's cape. ©National Trust Images/Hamilton Kerr Institute

Detail of the thickly painted motifs on Rembrandt’s cape. ©National Trust Images/Hamilton Kerr Institute

The relatively crude brushwork seen in parts of the picture would be consistent with Rembrandt’s style in the 1630s – as also seen in, for instance, Belshazzar’s Feast in the National Gallery in London.

Detail of the self-portrait showing a medallion. ©National Trust Images/Hamilton Kerr Institute

Detail of the self-portrait showing a medallion. ©National Trust Images/Hamilton Kerr Institute

The sitter’s highly theatrical costume includes a medallion on a chain – it would be nice to find out if this represents a particular symbol or ornament, or whether it is purely ‘impressionistic’.

We await further news from the conservation studio.

Alive and well

March 28, 2014
Part of 'Folly' by Fromental. ©Fromental

Part of ‘Folly’ by Fromental. ©Fromental

Fromental has just produced a new wallpaper called Folly which was consciously inspired by Chinese wallpapers from the mid eighteenth century.

Detail of the Chinese wallpaper hung at Felbrigg Hall in 1752. ©National Trust Images/David Kirkham

Detail of the Chinese wallpaper hung at Felbrigg Hall in 1752. ©National Trust Images/David Kirkham

With its tall decorative rocks, prominent lotus leaves and pomegranates, Folly clearly references the Chinese wallpaper at Felbrigg Hall and Ightham Mote.

Part of 'Folly' by Fromental. ©Fromental

Part of ‘Folly’ by Fromental. ©Fromental

Folly’s colour scheme, too, with its pale, misty atmosphere punctuated by blue-green leaves and vividly red flowers, is reminiscent of the look of mid-eighteenth-century Chinese wallpapers.

Section of a Chinese wallpaper from Eltham Lodge, probably hung during the second quarter of the eighteenth century. ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Section of a Chinese wallpaper from Eltham Lodge, probably hung during the second quarter of the eighteenth century. ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

But Tim Butcher of Fromental tells me that they were also influenced by some Chinese wallpapers in the V&A which are from the same period – and when you compare Folly to the Eltham Lodge wallpaper you can see what he means.

Part of 'Folly' by Fromental. ©Fromental

Part of ‘Folly’ by Fromental. ©Fromental

In spite of all that, Folly is a clearly a contemporary wallpaper, not a facsimile.

Detail of the Chinese wallpaper hung at Felbrigg Hall in 1752. ©National Trust Images/David Kirkham

Detail of the Chinese wallpaper hung at Felbrigg Hall in 1752. ©National Trust Images/David Kirkham

It conveys a softer, more delicate impression than its historical cousins, and it contains anticipatory hints of the highly coloured and finished Chinese wallpapers from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Part of 'Folly' by Fromental. ©Fromental

Part of ‘Folly’ by Fromental. ©Fromental

In this way ‘Folly’ is part of a living tradition: loving the past but reinventing it for the present.

Exotic and contemporary

March 21, 2014
Hunting scene in one of the Chinese wallpapers at Oud Amelisweerd. ©Buitenplaatsen2012

Hunting scene in one of the Chinese wallpapers at Oud Amelisweerd. ©Buitenplaatsen2012

Today Oud Amelisweerd, a small country house just outside Utrecht, was officially reopened as a museum by HRH Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands.

Oud Amelisweerd ©Jeroen Wielaert/NOS

Oud Amelisweerd ©Jeroen Wielaert/NOS

The house contains several Chinese wallpapers dating to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as historic European wallpapers.

Section of one of the floral wallpapers at Oud Amelisweerd. ©Erfgoed Utrecht

Section of one of the floral wallpapers at Oud Amelisweerd. ©Erfgoed Utrecht

The Chinese wallpapers are important both because of their quality and beauty and because they are related to similar wallpapers in Britain, for instance at Penrhyn Castle, at the Royal Pavilion, and at Saltram.

The foreground of one of the floral wallpapers at Oud Amelisweerd. ©DUIC

The foreground of one of the floral wallpapers at Oud Amelisweerd. ©DUIC

Much remains uncertain about the decorative history of Oud Amelisweerd, but the links between the Chinese wallpapers there and elsewhere are helpful in piecing together parts of the chronology.

Work by Armando at Oud Amelisweerd. ©Jeroen Wielaert/NOS

Work by Armando at Oud Amelisweerd. ©Jeroen Wielaert/NOS

Following conservation work Oud Amelisweerd now also houses a collection of work by the contemporary artist Armando – to add a frisson of modernity to the frisson of exoticism.

The aesthetic instinct

March 19, 2014
View from Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, looking north-west towards Wedmore. ©National Trust Images/James Dobson

View from Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, looking north-west towards Wedmore. ©National Trust Images/James Dobson

I just spotted these images of some of the recent flooding in Somerset, taken from Glastonbury Tor.

View from Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, looking south-west towards Street and the surrounding hills. ©National Trust Images/James Dobson

View from Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, looking south-west towards Street and the surrounding hills. ©National Trust Images/James Dobson

It strikes me how beautiful the images are, contrasting with the devastation these floods caused.

Landscape by Jacob van Ruisdael (1628-1682), known as 'Le coup de soleil', possibly a fanciful view of Alkmaar, at Upton House, inv. no. 446731. ©National Trust Images/Angelo Hornak

Landscape by Jacob van Ruisdael (1628-1682), known as ‘Le coup de soleil’, possibly a fanciful view of Alkmaar, at Upton House, inv. no. 446731. ©National Trust Images/Angelo Hornak

We seem to have an instinct to aestheticise whatever we see, even if it is negative and painful.

View from Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, looking south-west towards Street and the surrounding hills. ©National Trust Images/James Dobson

View from Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, looking south-west towards Street and the surrounding hills. ©National Trust Images/James Dobson

When confronted with a flooded landscape we intuitively reach back to the vocabulary of old master paintings, to help us define what we are looking at.

Crossing the ford by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), at Upton House, inv. no. 446672. ©National Trust Images/Angelo Hornak

Crossing the ford by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), at Upton House, inv. no. 446672. ©National Trust Images/Angelo Hornak

Presumably this is a semi-conscious coping mechanism: we want to discover patterns in the chaos, so that we feel we have a chance of creating some order out of it.

View from Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, looking north-west towards Wedmore with the Mendip Hills in the distance. ©National Trust Images/James Dobson

View from Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, looking north-west towards Wedmore with the Mendip Hills in the distance. ©National Trust Images/James Dobson

In this sense art can be defined simply as a sophisticated information processing tool, helping us to analyse positive as well as negative experiences.

Mellow albarello

March 13, 2014
Sicilian albarello decorated with a female saint. Inv. no. 824608. ©National Trust Collections

Sicilian albarello decorated with a female saint. Inv. no. 824608. ©National Trust Collections

In the March issue of Apollo I read a piece by Emma Crighton-Miller about Delft blue-and-white which mentioned that albarelli – maiolica apothecary jars – are sometimes adapted and used as water jars by Japanese tea ceremony devotees.

Back of the albarello shown above, decorated with acanthus leaves. ©National Trust Collections

Back of the albarello shown above, decorated with acanthus leaves. ©National Trust Collections

An example of a Japanese-made water jar inspired by the albarello look, in the Freer collection, can be seen here.

Sicilian albarello decorated with a heraldic lion. Inv. no. 824610. ©National Trust Collections

Sicilian albarello decorated with a heraldic lion. Inv. no. 824610. ©National Trust Collections

This shows rather nicely how the taste for exoticism is not exclusively western. Indeed, Japanese tea taste is a rich mixture of international influences, including wares and materials from both Asia and Europe.

Back of the albarello shown above, decorated with a winged cherub's face. ©National Trust Collections

Back of the albarello shown above, decorated with a winged cherub’s face. ©National Trust Collections

With that in mind the original albarelli do indeed have an air of wabi – the imperfect, modest beauty associated with the Japanese tea ceremony. Perhaps we could even call it ‘Hispano-Moresque wabi‘ or ‘Italian wabi‘?

Sicilian albarello decorated with a woman's head and shoulders. Inv. no. 824609. ©National Trust Collections

Sicilian albarello decorated with a woman’s head and shoulders. Inv. no. 824609. ©National Trust Collections

These particular albarelli were bequeathed to the National Trust by antiques dealer Reginald Sneyers in 1989. They are on display at Ightham Mote, an ancient half-timbered house that was carefully restored by the Colyer-Fergusson family in the late nineteenth before being given to the National Trust by American philanthropist Charles Henry Robinson in 1985.

Back of the albarello shown above, decorated with floral motifs. ©National Trust Collections

Back of the albarello shown above, decorated with floral motifs. ©National Trust Collections

So like that Japanese pseudo-albarello in an American collection, these jars, too, convey a multi-layered message about how we value and channel the past. In heritage, nothing is ever straightforward.

Time and space at Bateman’s

March 11, 2014
Looking from the Inner Hall to the Hall at Bateman's. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Looking from the Inner Hall to the Hall at Bateman’s. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Following my recent post about the leather hangings at Bateman’s I thought I would show a few more images of the interiors of the house.

The Grange, North End Road, Fulham, London, by Thomas Matthews Rooke, at Bateman's. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The Grange, North End Road, Fulham, London, by Thomas Matthews Rooke, at Bateman’s. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The writer Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) and his wife Caroline (known as Carrie, 1862-1939) bought the Jacobean-period house in 1902 and filled it with antiques. Kipling’s father, John Lockwood Kipling (1837-1911), helped with sourcing furniture and furnishings from the antiques trade.

Indian silver bottles and tray at Bateman's. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Indian silver bottles and tray at Bateman’s. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Although the Kiplings clearly tried to make the interiors as authentic as possible, the house also has a distinctly Edwardian feel, reflecting the period’s taste for artful antiquarianism.

Caricature of Rudyard Kipling by 'Spy' (Sir Leslie Ward). ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Caricature of Rudyard Kipling by ‘Spy’ (Sir Leslie Ward). ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

It is no coincidence that two pillars of British conservationism, Country Life magazine and the National Trust, were founded at around this time (in 1897 and 1895 respectively).

Plaque with an Indian subject by John Lockwood Kipling, at Bateman's. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Plaque with an Indian subject by John Lockwood Kipling, at Bateman’s. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The house also reflects the Kiplings’ memories of India. Rudyard was born in Bombay and set many of his stories and novels there. Kipling senior worked as an art teacher and museum curator in Lahore and used many Indian subjects and motifs in his own art.

Early eighteenth century japanned cabinet in Elsie Kipling's Sitting Room at Bateman's. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Early eighteenth century japanned cabinet in Elsie Kipling’s Sitting Room at Bateman’s. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Mixing and melding these diverse places and times, the interior is a self-conscious work of art in its own right.

Detail of the embroidery (copy of the original) on the bed in the West Bedroom at Bateman's. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Detail of the embroidery (copy of the original) on the bed in the West Bedroom at Bateman’s. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

In addition it is now of course a ‘shrine’ to a well-known author.

Globe showing the imperialist world-view in the Study at Bateman's. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Globe showing the imperialist world-view in the Study at Bateman’s. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

So Bateman’s does multiple things at once: it contains genuine historic objects and works of art, it provides a snapshot of a certain period and mindset, and it is the unique home of certain individuals, one of whom happened to be a famous writer.