Archive for the ‘Saltram’ Category

Panned out well

June 4, 2010

©National Trust/Robert Thrift

The other day I featured the Chinese porcelain bowl at Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire, that was used to serve punch. The vessels employed in the kitchen at Nostell are also rather impressive, although in a more robust, down to earth way.

©National Trust/Robert Thrift

In 2007 a group of copper pots and pans from the kitchen at Nostell was accepted by the Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust. This so-called batterie de cuisine can tell us all sorts of things about country house cooking practices in the nineteenth century.

©National Trust/Robert Thrift

The pans are engraved with the monogram of the Winn family, Barons St Oswald. Nostell was transferred to the National Trust in 1953, but it is still the home of the present Lord and Lady St Oswald.

©NTPL/John Hammond

Other historic houses have similar sets of implements, although each kitchen is different. The Great Kitchen at Saltram, in Devon, was built in the 1770s, but the range was added in 1885.

©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

The kitchen at Petworth House, West Sussex, includes a warming cupboard with nifty sliding doors. 

©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

There is also a high-tech steam bain-marie at Petworth, made by Jeakes & Co. in about 1870. I could easily picture this in a Japanese steampunk anime film.

Regilding the lily

May 19, 2010

One of a set of torcheres bearing candelabra in the Great Room at Saltram. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

The current issue of ABC Bulletin features an article by Sue Baumbach about the conservation of a group of four torcheres at Saltram, in Devon. I have just discovered that we have some images of them being worked on, so I thought I would show those here.

The torcheres being treated at Tankerdale. ©NTPL/John Hammond

As Sue relates, the candelabra were ordered by Theresa Parker from Boulton & Fothergill in 1771 for the Great Room at Saltram. They have central urns made of the rare mineral Blue John, or Derbyshire fluorspar.

Working on one of the ram's heads. ©NTPL/John Hammond

There is no record of the purchase of the tocheres. They may have been designed by Robert Adam together with the rest of the decoration of the room.

However, it is also possible that they were the quartet of similar-sounding torcheres that were sold in the house sale of a property in Portman Square in London in 1778. These were bought by a Mr Sturt, whose name also appears in the Saltram accounts at around that time, but the evidence is not conclusive.

Injecting the woodworm holes. ©NTPL/John Hammond

The torcheres had become unstable due to previous pest infestations, and they have recently been treated at the workshop of Tankerdale Ltd.

Re-gilding the base of one of the torcheres. ©NTPL/John Hammond

Analysis of the gilding undertaken by Catherine Hassall showed that the torcheres had only been re-gilded once before, in the late nineteenth century.

The 1897 inscription on the inside of one of the torcheres, with the contemporary business directory that lists the Harris firm. ©NTPL/John Hammond

This probably relates to the inscription found within one of the torcheres, which reads ‘Bellamy, Apprentice, H & Sons, April 1897. Repard [sic] by James Street, April 1897. From Harris & Sons, George Street.’

A contemporary business directory records that Harris & Sons was a Plymouth company of ‘art decorators, house painters, gilders, picture dealers, artists’ colourmen and stationers’.

One of the torcheres with its candelabra, in a corner of the Great Room. Since this photograph was taken, the torcheres have been moved to more prominent positions in the room, in line with Robert Adam's original arrangement. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

The 1897 re-gilding was probably part of the redecorations carried out by Albert Edmond Parker, 3rd Earl of Morley, who had married an heiress and moved back to Saltram after the house had been let to tenants for a number of years.

Angelica Kauffman: Celebrity artist

April 19, 2010

Self-portrait by Angelica Kauffman at Saltram, Devon. Accepted in lieu of tax by H.M. Government and transferred to the National Trust in 1957. ©NTPL/John Hammond

I previously featured the Kauffman portrait that we manage to re-acquire for Oxburgh Hall, but in other National Trust properties we also have a few works by this artist, which illustrate her remarkable career.

Angelica Kauffman, The Artist Hesitating Between the Arts of Music and Painting, 1791 or 1794, at Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire. Acquired with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2002. ©NTPL/John Hammond

Angelica Kauffman was born in Switzerland in 1741, and as she grew up she showed talent for both music and art. A priest advised her that art would be more rewarding in the long term. Kauffman later dramatised this ‘judgement of Hercules’ decision in an image of herself hesitating between the blandishments of Music and the rocky road of Painting.

Portrait of Sir Joshua Reynolds by Kauffman, 1767, at Saltram, Devon. Accepted in lieu of tax by H.M. Government and transferred to the National Trust in 1957. ©NTPL/Rob Matheson

Kauffman’s father took her to Italy where she studied drawing and painting and visited important collections. She was fluent in several languages and was fêted as a female prodigy. In 1766 Lady Wentworth, the wife of the British ambassador to Venice, took her to London, where she befriended Joshua Reynolds who enthusiastically promoted her career.

Venus Directing Aeneas and Achates to Carthage, by Angelica Kauffman. Exhbited at the Royal Academy in 1769. Accepted in lieu of tax by H.M. Government and transferred to the National Trust in 1957. ©NTPL/John Hammond

Kauffman was one of the founding members of the Royal Academy. She was keen to paint historical, literary and mythological subjects, which were seen as more prestigious than portraits. 

Portrait of Lady Elizabeth Foster by Angelica Kauffman, 1785, at Ickworth, Suffolk. ©NTPL/Angelo Hornak

Portraits were an important source of income for Kauffman, however. After a brief and disastrous marriage to a conman she married the Venetian painter Antonio Pietro Zucchi in 1781. She ended her life in Rome, where people like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Antonio Canova sought her out.

These paintings can be seen at: