Archive for the ‘Great Chalfield Manor’ Category

The wabi of Great Chalfield

October 25, 2010

©Emile de Bruijn

As I was previously writing a post about Great Chalfield Manor and its canine mistress, it struck me how much this house and its garden embody the Japanese concept of wabi.

©Emile de Bruijn

Wabi stands for a humble beauty, the look of objects showing the signs of wear and patina. 

©Emile de Bruijn

Wabi can express a sense of melancholy, of sobriety and spareness.

©Emile de Bruijn

But by stripping away the more obvious trappings of beauty, wabi also exposes the fundamental vitality hidden in natural materials.

©Emile de Bruijn

Major Robert Fuller and his architect Sir Harold Brakspear seem to have had a very similar ideal in mind when they restored Great Chalfield in the late nineteenth century.

©Emile de Bruijn

And today Patsy Floyd maintains the garden in the same spirit, with flowers emerging from between flagstones and lush greenery contrasting with lichen-covered stonework. 

©Emile de Bruijn

It would be interesting to find out if Japanese visitors experience Great Chalfield in this way, or whether they see it as exotically ‘English’.

Mistress Ming

October 18, 2010

Ming, mistress of Great Chalfield Manor. ©Patsy Floyd

A colleague recently alerted me to a charming blog written by a dog called Ming, who lives at Great Chalfield Manor, in Wiltshire.

The north front of Great Chalfield Manor. ©NTPL/Andrew Butler

 Ming keeps a lively account of her charmed life at the manor house with its beautiful garden.

©Emile de Bruijn

Great Chalfield is a medieval manor house which was rescued from decay in the late nineteenth century by Major Robert Fuller, the manager of his family’s rubber business, who employed the architect Sir Harold Brakspear to restore and remodel the house.

©Emile de Bruijn

The restoration was done so sensitively that the new work can now hardly be distinguished from the old.

The gazebo at the end of the top terrace designed by Brakspear. ©Emile de Bruijn

The garden was designed by Alfred Parsons in a romantic style to complement the house. It is still lovingly maintained.

One of the yew houses. ©Emile de Bruijn

Major Fuller gave the house and garden to the National Trust in 1943.

Wrought iron bootscrape next to pleasingly unobtrusive welcome sign. ©Emile de Bruijn

Major Fuller’s grandson Robert Floyd and his wife Patsy still live in the house as tenants and open it to the public on behalf of the National Trust.