Archive for the ‘Derbyshire’ Category

The state bed canopy at Hardwick

July 7, 2015
Full-length portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, English School, 1590s, oil on canvas, at Hardwick Hall, acquired through the National Land Fund and transferred to the National Trust in 1959,  NT1129128. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Full-length portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, English School, 1590s, oil on canvas, at Hardwick Hall, acquired through the National Land Fund and transferred to the National Trust in 1959, NT1129128. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

The previous two posts about textiles at Hardwick Hall gave me the idea to show some images of the Long Gallery there.

This imposing, almost hieratic portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, which hangs in the Long Gallery, illustrates the importance of textiles in Elizabethan interiors and court display. In her spectacularly embroidered clothes, encrusted with jewels, the queen is effectively en suite with the hangings behind her, the upholstered chair next to her and the carpet beneath her feet.

The late seventeenth-century silk canopy in the Long Gallery at Hardwick, originally part of a state bed made for Chatsworth by Francis Lapierre in 1697. Acquired through the National Land Fund and transferred to the National Trust in 1959, NT1127772. ©National Trust Images/Nick Guttridge

The late seventeenth-century silk canopy in the Long Gallery at Hardwick, originally part of a state bed made for Chatsworth by Francis Lapierre in 1697. Acquired through the National Land Fund and transferred to the National Trust in 1959, NT1127772. ©National Trust Images/Nick Guttridge

Near this portrait is a red silk bed canopy and headboard. It was originally part of the bed in the State Bedroom at Chatsworth and is one of the most magnificent surviving examples of late-seventeenth-century English upholstery.

The interior of the canopy in the Long Gallery. National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The interior of the canopy in the Long Gallery. National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

It was brought to Hardwick by the 6th Duke of Devonshire in the nineteenth century and set up as a kind of romantic stage set.

The portrait of Queen Elizabeth I hanging on top of one of the Gideon tapestries in the Long Gallery. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The portrait of Queen Elizabeth I hanging on top of one of the Gideon tapestries in the Long Gallery. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The walls of the Long Gallery are hung with a set of thirteen Flemish tapestries, probably made in Oudenaarde, showing the Biblical story of Gideon and his triumph over the Midianites.

These unusually tall tapestries were purchased by Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, the builder of Hardwick, in 1592. Originally they were the sole wall decoration in this room, but by the second half of the eighteenth century a number of paintings had been added on top.

Cut-velvet at Hardwick

July 3, 2015
The voided cut-pile velvet hangings and headboard of the bed in the Cut-Velvet Bedroom at Hardwick Hall. NT1127838 ©National Trust Images/Nick Guttridge

The voided cut-pile velvet hangings and headboard of the bed in the Cut-Velvet Bedroom at Hardwick Hall. NT1127838 ©National Trust Images/Nick Guttridge

In the previous post about the flossy silk hangings at Hardwick Hall I mentioned the Cut-Velvet Bedroom next door. Here are some images of that room, with its cut-velvet bed.

The Cut-Velvet Bedroom at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

The Cut-Velvet Bedroom at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

The bed was made in about 1740 by Thomas Vardy and was originally at Chatsworth. It was brought to Hardwick by the 6th Duke of Devonshire as part of his antiquarian redecoration of Hardwick during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Detail of a voided cut-pile velvet curtain at Blickling Hall. NT355834 ©National Trust/Robert Thrift

Detail of a voided cut-pile velvet curtain at Blickling Hall. NT355834 ©National Trust/Robert Thrift

Velvet is made by raising warp threads over wires so that a looped pile is created on the surface of the cloth. Sometimes these loops were left uncut, or ‘unshorne’ in early-seventeenth-century parlance. But if they were cut in order to create a short tufted pile the resulting fabric would be called cut-velvet or cut-pile velvet.

Eighteenth-century mahogany chair from the Cut-Velvet Bedroom at Hardwick Hall, upholstered with voided-cut pile velvet en suite with the bed. NT1127929.2 ©National Trust/Robert Thrift

Eighteenth-century mahogany chair from the Cut-Velvet Bedroom at Hardwick Hall, upholstered with voided-cut pile velvet en suite with the bed. NT1127929.2 ©National Trust/Robert Thrift

One way of forming a pattern on velvet was to leave some areas pile-free or ‘voided’, as has been done here. The similar voided cut-pile velvet curtains at Blickling Hall show bright the colours originally were.

Flossy silk at Hardwick Hall

June 30, 2015
Detail of the flossy silk hangings in the Cut-Velvet Dressing Room at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Detail of the flossy silk hangings in the Cut-Velvet Dressing Room at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

One of the meanings of the word ‘floss’ is fine silk in spun strands not twisted together. I was looking this up because apparently the hangings in the Cut-Velvet Dressing Room at Hardwick Hall are made of ‘flossy silk’ – and they look rather good.

The Cut-Velvet Dressing Room. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The Cut-Velvet Dressing Room. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Another meaning of ‘flossy’ is ‘showy or overdressed’. I suppose these hangings are quite showy, but in the context of Hardwick, which was all about show when it was built in the late sixteenth century, they don’t look out of place.

In fact much in this room, including the silk hangings, dates from the late seventeenth century, when the 1st Duke of Devonshire created two new apartments on the first floor at Hardwick, one for his wife and one for himself. But of course this is not really surprising in a many-layered house such as Hardwick.

Detail of the flossy silk hangings. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Detail of the flossy silk hangings. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Even the name ‘Cut-Velvet Dressing Room’ is layered in a characteristically country house way. There is no cut-velvet in this particular room, and the name actually refers to the fact that it is the dressing room to the Cut-Velvet Bedroom next door. The splendid cut-velvet bed in that room, in turn, was a relatively late addition, having been brought to Hardwick by the 6th Duke of Devonshire in the nineteenth century.

The immediate inspiration for this post was the beautifully illustrated post about Hardwick over at the ArchitectDesign blog.

 

The tragic Arbella Stuart at Hardwick Hall

June 4, 2015
Lady Arbella Stuart as a child, 1577, at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Lady Arbella Stuart as a child, 1577, at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

2015 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Lady Arbella Stuart, granddaughter of the redoubtable Bess of Hardwick and at one time a candidate to succeed Queen Elizabeth I.

Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury, by Rowland Lockey, 1590s, at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/John Bethell

Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury, by Rowland Lockey, 1590s, at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/John Bethell

To mark the anniversary, the colleagues at Hardwick Hall have put on an exhibition about Arbella’s privileged but tragic life.

The south front of Hardwick Hall seen from the Orchard. ©National Trust Images/John Millar

The south front of Hardwick Hall seen from the Orchard. ©National Trust Images/John Millar

Orphaned at the age of seven, she was brought up by her grandmother, Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury – known as Bess of Hardwick – at Hardwick Hall. She received a princely education, studying several languages and learning to play the lute, the viol and the virginals.

Lady Arbella Stuart aged 13, by Rowland Lockey after an unknown artist, 1589, at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Lady Arbella Stuart aged 13, by Rowland Lockey after an unknown artist, 1589, at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Through her father’s side Arbella was the great-great-grandaughter of King Henry VII of England and therefore potentially in line to the throne. Ultimately, however, the influential courtiers Lord Burghley and his son Sir Robert Cecil invited Arbella’s cousin King James VI of Scotland to become Elizabeth I’s successor.

Lady Arbella Stuart, by Robert Peake, 1605, in the National Galleries of Scotland. ©National Galleries of Scotland, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Lady Arbella Stuart, by Robert Peake, 1605, in the National Galleries of Scotland. ©National Galleries of Scotland, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Because of Arbella’s connection to the royal line, the question who she might marry was a fraught political issue. In 1610 Arbella secretly married William Seymour, Lord Beauchamp, who himself was sixth in line to the throne. King James imprisoned them for marrying without his permission. They managed to escape separately, but Arbella’s ship was overtaken by the King’s men just before it reached France.

The Tower of London, by Wenceslaus Hollar, 1647. Source: Project Gutenberg

The Tower of London, by Wenceslaus Hollar, 1647. Source: Project Gutenberg

After being imprisoned in the Tower of London, Arbella refused to eat, fell ill and finally died on 25 September 1615. Her life and death are a poignant illustration of the uncertainties and upheavals of Elizabethan and Jacobean Britain.

Restoring the stable yard gate at Hardwick

April 14, 2015
The stable yard gate at Hardwick Hall following restoration. ©National Trust

The stable yard gate at Hardwick Hall following restoration. ©National Trust

One of our building surveyors, Richard Lambert, was recently involved in restoring a historic stable yard gate at Hardwick Hall.

Part of the Hardwick stable yard gate affected by rot, with the markings delineating the sound and unsound sections. ©National Trust

Part of the Hardwick stable yard gate affected by rot, with the markings delineating the sound and unsound sections. ©National Trust

The colleagues at Hardwick had noticed some rot in part of the gate. When Richard inspected the gate the rot turned out to be worse than expected. As this entrance is used by all of the visitors to Hardwick there was added pressure to get it sorted out quickly.

A rotted section being chiseled out. ©National Trust

A rotted section being chiseled out. ©National Trust

Richard commissioned the local joiners and builders L.B. & J. Mather to repair the gate. He worked closely with them to achieve a historically appropriate result.

New and old sections of wood being connected with a scarf joint. ©National Trust

New and old sections of wood being connected with a scarf joint. ©National Trust

Richard marked up the extent of the required repairs, so that as much as possible of the old wood could be preserved. The wood used was Douglas fir, matching the original material.

The gate coming together again in the yard of L.B. & J. Mather. ©National Trust

The gate coming together again in the yard of L.B. & J. Mather. ©National Trust

All the joints were hand-cut. Mathers were asked to match the new joints to the existing mortise-and-tenon joints (i.e. a piece of wood fitted into a hole in another piece) and to use scarf joints (or overlapping joints) to fit the larger structural members into the existing framework.

Part of the ironmongery being reforged. ©National Trust

Part of the ironmongery being reforged. ©National Trust

Some of the gate’s ironmongery also needed refurbishing, but fortunately Mathers could turn their hands to that as well, having a forge and blacksmith expertise available.

Part of the gate's refurbished locking mechanism. ©National Trust

Part of the gate’s refurbished locking mechanism. ©National Trust

All the stages of the work were recorded in photographs, some of which are shown here.

‘A delight in her business’

November 4, 2014
Portrait of Mrs Mary Garnett by Thomas Barber the elder, c.1800, at Kedleston Hall, inv. no. 108766. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Portrait of Mrs Mary Garnett by Thomas Barber the elder, c.1800, at Kedleston Hall, inv. no. 108766. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

I was recently made aware of this portrait of Mrs Mary Garnett (1724-1809), the housekeeper at Kedleston Hall. She is shown in the Marble Hall at Kedleston, with the guidebook to the house in her hand, as if ready to take a visitor round. Mrs Garnett must have been considered a fairly important member of the household to have had her portrait painted. The presence of the guidebook in the picture hints at the already well-established practice of respectable sightseers being allowed entry to country houses. By all accounts Mrs Garnett was rather good at this ‘public-facing’ part of her job.

Caesars' Hall, the everyday ground-floor entrance hall at Kedleston Hall. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

Caesars’ Hall, the everyday ground-floor entrance hall at Kedleston Hall. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

Several appreciative descriptions of Mrs Garnett’s performance as a house guide have been preserved, but the most glowing and informative was one by James Plumptre who visited in 1793:

‘We entered the house at the Servant’s Hall, by a door under the Portico, put down our names, and were then shewn up into the Grand Hall, where the Housekeeper joined us. Of all the Housekeeper[s] I ever met with at a Noblemans Houses [sic], this was the most obliging and intelligent I ever saw. There was a pleasing civility in her manner which was very ingratiating, she seem’d to take a delight in her business, was willing to answer any questions which were ask’d her, and was studious to shew the best lights for viewing the pictures and setting off the furniture.’

Part of the Marble Hall at Kedleston Hall. ©National Trust Images/Dennis Gilbert

Part of the Marble Hall at Kedleston Hall. ©National Trust Images/Dennis Gilbert

So not just country house visiting and country house guidebooks, but also visitor reviews were already clearly in evidence in the eighteenth century.

Virtue and vice at Hardwick Hall

October 29, 2013
Detail of a painted wall hanging, depicting the conversion of Saul, c. 1600, in the Chapel at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Detail of a painted wall hanging, depicting the conversion of Saul, c. 1600, in the Chapel at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

An exhibition at Hardwick Hall explores the political, religious, and social upheaval of the Reformation. It shows how these new ideas and beliefs were reflected in the historic interiors and collections of the house.

The virtuous Penelope, in an appliqué wall hanging in the Hall at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/John Hammondbyshire

The virtuous Penelope, in an appliqué wall hanging in the Hall at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/John Hammondbyshire

The exhibition, called Virtue and Vice, has been curated by the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at the University of York. It has also benefited from the Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project European Conversion Narratives, c.1550-1700.

The Eglantine table, inlaid with musical instruments, sheet music, games and arms, crests and mottoes, possibly c. 1567, in the High Great Chamber at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/Nick Guttridge

The Eglantine table, inlaid with musical instruments, sheet music, games and arms, crests and mottoes, possibly c. 1567, in the High Great Chamber at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/Nick Guttridge

In this video Dr Helen Smith, reader in Renaissance literature at the University of York, talks about the concept of the exhibition. And in this one a choral group performs the motet ‘Oh Lord in Thee is all my trust’ inlaid in the so-called Eglantine table in the High Great Chamber. At Hardwick, at least, Virtue seems to have found an ally in Beauty.

Interwoven globe

October 8, 2013
The state bed at Calke Abbey. ©National Trust Images/John Millar

The state bed at Calke Abbey. ©National Trust Images/John Millar

The ever-stimulating Style Court blog has recently been featuring the exhibition currently on at the Metropolitan Museum in New York entitled Interwoven Globe, about how the international trade in textiles the early modern period influenced design across the world.

The Chinese embroidered silk inside the state bed at Calke. ©National Trust Images/John Millarthe Chinese silk embroidered hangings on the State Bed at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire.

The Chinese embroidered silk inside the state bed at Calke. ©National Trust Images/John Millarthe Chinese silk embroidered hangings on the State Bed at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire.

I am perusing the catalogue at the moment, and it is fascinating to read how European motifs ended up in Chinese silks, and how Chinese and Japanese motifs were in turn copied in Europe. Some ‘exotic’ textiles, such as Indian painted cotton palampores, actually combined elements from China, Persia, India and England.

Phoenix embroidered onto the white silk covering of the state bed at Calke. ©National Trust Images/John Millar the State Bed at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire.

Phoenix embroidered onto the white silk covering of the state bed at Calke. ©National Trust Images/John Millar the State Bed at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire.

This important exhibition is a suitable excuse for me to show some images of the rather gorgeous state bed at Calke Abbey, which is hung with Chinese embroidered silk. The bed was probably made for King George I in about 1715, and seems to have been given to Lady Caroline Manners by Queen Caroline when she married Sir Henry Harpur, 5th Bt, in 1734. Since the bed was hardly ever put up at Calke (it was too tall for most of the rooms in the family part of the house) the silk has been quite well preserved.

Qilin embroiderd onto the blue silk covers on the state bed at Calke. ©National Trust Images/John Millar

Qilin embroiderd onto the blue silk covers on the state bed at Calke. ©National Trust Images/John Millar

The blue material is like taffeta and is relatively light, while the white silk is heavier and has a satin finish. Tightly rolled peacock feathers were used for the knots in the tree trunks and the markings on the butterfly wings.

Books as social history

March 26, 2013
View of Gardner Wilkinson Library at Calke Abbey. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

View of Gardner Wilkinson Library at Calke Abbey. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Mark Purcell and Nicola Thwaite have recently published a fascinating collection guide to the libraries at Calke Abbey.

Some of the library shelves at Calke with books on exploration and travel. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Some of the library shelves at Calke with books on exploration and travel. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Calke Abbey was acquired by the National Trust in 1985 and was consciously preserved as a house on the brink of ruin, a snapshot of a moment in time and a multi-dimensional archive of the history of a particular family.

Bookplate of Sir Henry Harpur, 5th Bt (1708-1748). ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Bookplate of Sir Henry Harpur, 5th Bt (1708-1748). ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

As Mark and Nicola demonstrate, the books at Calke are a record of the tastes and occupations of various generations of the Harpur-Crewe family, including ‘music, novels, big-game hunting, spiritual anguish, exotic travel, improving the estate, suing the neighbours, saying your prayers, learning Latin, catching rats, or choosing the upholstery.’

The Library at Calke. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The Library at Calke. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Certain generations of the Harpur-Crewe family suffered from extreme shyness and other forms of unsociable and obsessive behaviour, which today we might describe as symptoms of hereditary autism.

Bookplate of Sir John Harpur, 4th Bt (1680-1741). ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Bookplate of Sir John Harpur, 4th Bt (1680-1741). ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

This family trait expressed itself, for instance, in the huge collections of geology and taxidermy assembled by Sir Vauncey Harpur Crewe (1846-1924). But it is also evident in the progressive transformation of the house into a time capsule – which, poignantly, makes it all the more valuable for us today.

A style to suit the time of day

February 21, 2012

Reclining mermaid on one of a set of four sofas supplied by John Linnell to Kedleston Hall in 1765. ©NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie

Looking at images of Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire, I was struck by the differences between two pieces of furniture, both made by the same cabinetmaker.

One of the sofas in its Drawing Room setting. The blue damask is meant to reinforce the maritime theme. ©NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie

The magnificent sofas in the Drawing Room featuring supine mermaids and sea gods were made by John Linnell in 1765 to suit the maritime theme of the room.

Design by John Linnell for a state coach, c. 1760. ©National Trust/Richard Holttum

Linnell was working to a design by Robert Adam, but also incorporated elements of his own designs for King George III’s coronation coach.

Chinoiserie porcelain cabinet by John Linnell, in the Wardrobe at Kedleston. ©NTPL/Dennis Gilbert

Linnell also supplied a chinoiserie porcelain cabinet for Kedleston, using the ‘pagoda’ roof motif that he also deployed in the famous Badminton bed, now in the V&A.

The chinoiserie bed made for Badminton House, Gloucestershire, probably by John and William Linnell in about 1754. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

These very different pieces show how cabinetmakers like Linnell were able to switch styles with ease when required.

'Are we feeling maritime or Chinese, my dear?' The 1st Lord and Lady Scarsdale as portrayed by Nathaniel Hone. ©NTPL/John Hammond

It also tells us something about the different social associations of the classical/rococo style and the chinoiserie style: whereas the former was always chosen for the most formal and grand spaces of a house, the latter would appear in the more informal, intimate rooms.


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