• The grand exterior of Raynham Hall
    Heritage

    Raynham Hall

    Raynham Hall is a wonderful 17th and 18th century house which is still in private ownership. The Marquess and Marchioness Townsend live there and this little character came out to greet us when we visited for a tour a couple of years ago. The interiors of the house were gorgeous and full of treasures but no internal photography was allowed. However, there is a wonderful book about it by Michael Ridgdill, if you would like to see more.…

  • Strawberry Hill
    Heritage

    Strawberry Hill

    This wonderful Georgian Gothic Revival villa has been on our list for a while, so we are delighted to be able to share it with you today. It was built for Horace Walpole (Earl of Orford) from 1749 and has the most amazing set of eccentric interiors which would be worthy of a film set. Even in his day they caused a sensation. The peer wanted to create a “little gothic castle” and he incorporated many design elements…

  • Catherine Howard
    History

    The Fifth Wife

    There are no known records of exactly when Catherine Howard was born but it was on this day in 1542 that she died, with a single blow from the executioners axe, on Tower Green. The young queen had made the mistake of having an affair with a favourite of her husband King Henry VIII, one Thomas Culpeper. What made this decision fatal for the pair was that they were indiscreet and their enemies made the King aware. It…

  • Nostell Bedside
    Interiors

    Bedside Manners

    One of the joys of visiting different historic houses and stately piles around the country is seeing how different owners or custodians style their interiors, exteriors and gardens. Our post today allows us to compare notes on just one small element of grand house style… Yes folks, it’s the turn of the BEDSIDE TABLE. Here are some nice examples of this small but essential piece of furniture all of which have been paired with a complimentary lamp. We…

  • Art

    An English Woman Abroad

    In the 17th and 18th centuries young gentlemen were encouraged to take a tour of Europe in order to complete their education and broaden their horizons. It enabled them to discover the cultural wonders of Europe and perhaps to sow a few wild oats before settling down to a respectable adult life. But what about their sisters? Did they sit meekly at home practising their accomplishments? Well, not always, as we discovered recently at Basildon Park. This painting…

  • Interiors

    Interior Inspiration

    We’ve been working on a house renovation project for some time now and have had to focus on all the necessary but less exciting tasks: roof repairs, rotten beams, new windows, new boiler etc. But FINALLY, this year, we can make a start on the INTERIORS! Although this house is not a grand pile, we still love to take inspiration from the wonderful stately homes and country houses we have visited. For example: we adore the pink fabric…

  • Art

    Beckford’s Tower

    If you drive into Bath along the Lansdown Road you will pass Beckford’s Tower on the right. This extraordinary architectural folly was built in 1827 in the neoclassical style on Lansdown Hill. It was financed by an eccentric, wealthy local resident, William Beckford. He was an art collector, novelist, art collector and critic. He used the tower as a retreat and library, with the cupola at the top providing views over the surrounding countryside. However, as was sadly…

  • Interiors

    Weaving some magic

    We’re looking back to North Norfolk today to view this stunning room at Blickling Hall. It was created to accommodate the large tapestry which depicts Peter the Great defeating the Swedes at the Battle of Poltswa in 1709. We believe that the beautiful pink damask on the walls was created by Humphries Weaving who are based in Sudbury in Suffolk. The company specialises in custom Jacquard designs and we have featured their glorious textiles before. You can also…

  • Studley Royal Grounds
    Exteriors

    A moment of reflection

    It’s the last day of January and already there is a feeling that Spring is on the way. The evenings are a little bit lighter and give us hope when too much of what is happening in the world at the moment is so dark. The snowdrops are coming up in the garden and the song thrush is singing it’s early song in the orchard. Nature always finds a way to recover and so must we. We hope…

  • Heritage

    Melford Hall

    It’s nearly the weekend so let’s celebrate by paying another visit to the marvellous Melford Hall. This grand entrance hall has been made inviting by combining all our favourite elements of English style; a fine fireplace, panelling, period portraits and cheery Knole sofas. Surely the perfect formula for a timeless and comfortable interior? We hope you all have some exciting plans for this weekend!