Archive for the ‘Tredegar House’ Category

Baroque PR at Tredegar

January 5, 2012

The State Dining Room at Tredegar House. ©NTPL/Chris Lacey

I recently showed some images of the exterior of Tredegar House, Newport, which will now be managed under the aegis of the National Trust.

One of the carved doorways of the State Dining Room. ©NTPL/Chris Lacey

The new wing at Tredegar that Thomas Morgan and his son William were building in the 1660s and early 1670s was a flamboyant symbol of the family’s ambition. William’s marriage to Blanche Morgan, a distant cousin, had provided him with wealth, extensive estates and political influence, and he needed a house to match.

Detail of the carving in the State Dining Room. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

The building is in the fashionable baroque style, strictly symmetrical and with a cupola – since demolished – on its hipped roof. The red bricks for the walls, although probably made locally, would have been a rare sight in this region at this time.

Doorway between the State Dining Room and the Gilt Room. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

Some of the baroque interiors survive as well, and they are as exuberant as anything in the British Isles. The State Dining Room includes some extraordinary carved wood decoration, including deep pediments, busts, foliage and grotesque masks.

The Gilt Room. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

This connects to the Gilt Room (or ‘Gilted Roome’ as it was described in 1688), where carved wood and marble is complemented by extensive gilding to create an even more overpowering effect.

Detail of the chimneypiece in the Gilt Room. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

William Morgan’s grandson, another William, sealed the family’s rise by marrying Rachael Cavendish, a daughter of the Duke of Devonshire, in 1724 and by being made a Knight of the Bath in 1725. Ironically by then the baroque splendour of Tredegar would have begun to appear rather old-fashioned – but it had clearly fulfilled its public relations function.

Introducing Tredegar

December 8, 2011

The north-west front of Tredegar House. ©NTPL/Chris Lacey

It has just been annouced that the National Trust has signed an agreement with Newport City Council to manage Tredegar House and 90 acres of gardens and park on a 50-year lease.

The wrought iron gates and screen between the Middle Court and the Stable Court. made by William and Simon Edney between 1714 and 1718.

Newport Council and the Friends of Tredegar House have cared for this remarkable country house since 1974 and the National Trust plans to build on that excelent work. Although many of the contents were sold earlier in the twentieth century, some items were bought back with the help of the Art Fund and the V&A Purchase Grant Fund.

The door in the north-west front, dating from the nineteenth century but modelled on a seventeenth-century original. ©NTPL/Andrew Butler

Tredegar House was the seat of the Morgan family, later Lords Tredegar. The first record of a Morgan associated with the site is dated 1402, when Llewellyn ap Morgan’s estates were confiscated as punishment for supporting Owain Glyndwr’s rebellion.

The Orangery, built in the early 1700s. ©NTPL/Andrew Butler

But the Morgans bounced back and subsequently became a wealthy gentry family. Between 1664 and 1672 parts of the house were completely rebuilt for Thomas Morgan and his son William.

Detail of the entrance to the stables. ©NTPL/Andrew Butler

Although the building has the hallmarks of fashionable Restoration architecture it is not known who designed it – it may have been a talented but otherwise unkown master mason or carpenter.

The Cedar Garden. The stone obelisk was erected to the memory of Sir Briggs, the horse that carried Godfrey Morgan at the charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War in 1854. ©NTPL/Andrew Butler

I hope soon to be able to do another post with more about the interiors at Tredegar.