Archive for the ‘Bateman’s’ Category

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.

Chickens and eggs

February 13, 2014
Detail of leather wall-hangings in the Dining Room at Bateman's. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Detail of leather wall-hangings in the Dining Room at Bateman’s. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

I have recently been looking at the similarities between the flowering trees, birds and rocks on Chinese silk and on Chinese wallpaper. There seems to have been a lot of visual cross-fertilisation going on, not only between these different categories of Chinese products, but also involving the ‘tree of life’ motifs on Indian chintz.

©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Another element in this fascinating but confusing mix is the category of European leather wall-hangings, like this set at Bateman’s. Many of these hangings are clearly decorated with the same type of bird and flower imagery.

©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The closest parallels to these seem to the the stylised, serpentine ‘tree of life’ motifs on Indian chintzes. But those, in turn, seems to have been partly influenced by European embroideries and by Chinese garden imagery as seen on textiles, lacquer, porcelain and wallpaper.

©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

It is a classic ‘chicken and egg’ problem: which came first? It may prove to be impossible to identify the Ur-version of this type of decoration, but we can certainly learn more by making further comparisons.