Archive for the ‘Crewelwork’ Category

So crewel

May 5, 2010

Detail of the late seventeenth-century crewelwork bed cover in the Crimson Bedroom at Montacute House. ©NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie

A recent post about crewelwork by Courtney over at Style Court has inspired me to feature a bed with the same material at Montacute House, in Somerset.

The oak bed in the Crimson Bedroom at Montacute. ©NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie

The oak bed dates from 1612 and incorporates the arms of James I, Henry Prince of Wales and Frederick V. This bed was donated by Mr J.C.K. Gamlen via the Art Fund (then called the National Art Collections Fund) in 1945. It was the first gift that the National Trust received from the Art Fund, and there have been many since, both in the form of works of art and of grants.

In 1931 Montacute was presented to the National Trust through the generosity of Ernest Cook, the grandson of the founder of the Thomas Cook travel agency. The house was largely empty of contents, however, so pieces of furniture like this bed were acquired to furnish it appropriately.

Montacute House. ©NTPL/Rupert Truman

Montacute was built around 1600 by the succesful lawyer and courtier Sir Edward Phelips (?1516-1614). His descendants inhabited the house until 1911.

Rotunda and banqueting house in the garden at Montacute. ©NTPL/Robert Morris

In the late seventeenth century the garden at Montacute will have been formal and geometric, so any crewelwork that may have been in the house then will have looked refreshingly ‘wild’ in comparison. The garden contains several types of shrub rose that were in cultivation when the house was built, including the red rose of Lancaster, Rosa gallica officinalis, and the double white form of the Yorkist rose, Rosa alba ‘Maxima’.

Banqueting houses, set either in the garden or on the roof of the house, were used in Elizabethan and Jacobean times as a place where people could retire after dinner for a final course of cristallised quince paste, ginger bread and other sweet delicacies.