Thursday, March 11, 2010

Stourhead ~ Continues

by Ann Lethbridge

First some writing news. Back in the summer Ann was invited to submit a story for a Mills and Boon Anthology. It will be out in the UK in August. My story is called The Governess and the Earl and it is already listed on Amazon. No cover yet, but you can be sure I will post it here the moment I see it.



This is the view of the portico ceiling. The attention to detail is truly amazing. While this portico was not added until 1838, replacing the frontage you saw in the drawing at the beginning of this series, it was part of the original design.

One of the things you may not know about Stourhead is the fact that it caught fire in 1902. So while attempts were made to reproduce the original house, the lack of detailed drawings hampered the craftsmen of that time.


As usual one is not permitted to take pictures inside the house, but I did buy the guide book and can tell you that the house contains wonderful pieces of furniture from the eighteenth century.

Some examples are som beautiful console tables with fox supports made in the 1740's. I must put those in a book.

There are beautiful hall-chairs and bronzed torcheres made by Thomas Chippendale the Younger.

Of particular note is the Library. It survived the fire. Built in 1792 it is a magnificent example of a Regency library . Some of its most interesting features are: a lattice work barrel ceiling (Wikipedia provides an example at the link), but the ceiling at Stourhead is far more elegant and the beautiful shelving let into the plasterwork walls are works of art, having curved tops to match the curve in the ceiling at each end of the room.

I do wish I could show you, but I could not find any copyright free pictures.

All of the furniture was supplied in 1804-1805 by Thomas Chippendale the Younger.

The massive writing-desk has legs carved with the heads of philosophers and Egyptians. The armchairs have round seats and yoke-shaped backs and are very much in the French style with Egyptian heads carved into the arms so popular after Napoleon conquered Egypt.

If you can't visit Stourhead and would like to see the interior features, I highly recommend sending for the guidebook just to see a watercolour picture of the library drawn in 1804.

Our last picture is our last view of the house looking back.

And so we say farewell to Stourhead, with much regret.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.