This week I was near London with the eldest child whilst she was performing as part of the Hatfield Chamber Music Festival. We had an hour free afterwards, and although this was not much time at all, it seemed madness not to go into the house and have a peep.
Hatfield House is the home of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury and their family. The Estate has been in the Cecil family for 400 years. Superb examples of Jacobean craftsmanship can be seen throughout the House. I got very over-excited looking at the wonderful portraits, all of my history lessons at school, (and I was a bit obsessed with the Tudors), came to life again as names and faces appeared.
It is an iconic building in British architectural history. Thousands of hand thrown bricks in red clay, and a lot of glass leaded windows. The turrets are also very similar in style to Hampton Court and the Tower of London. It is also famed for its beautiful knot gardens and parkland:
But is THE CEILINGS which amazed me. The most ornate plaster work, pargetting, gilding, embellishment and decoration is pretty much in every main room of the house.
I am sitting in a very cool cafe in Tetbury, Gloucestershire today and about to start on a mission finding interesting antiques. It is pouring with rain, so I think there will be less tourists about giving me excellent shopping space!
Tetbury is a beautiful town in the Cotswolds, famous for a myriad of Antique shops. It is also local to both Prince Charles’ and Princess Anne’s estates, so I might even have a Royal spotting (although if they are wise they should stay indoors on this very wet and grey English day).
But first some fuel… A pretty jam jar of juice and a mega toasted sandwich.
There is one main street in the town which is full of antique dealers’ shops. The current vogue is mainly for rustic French furniture, prints and reupholstered furniture. It is pretty pricey but some of the pieces are wonderful.
Prince of Wales’ Insignia
I’ll have it all!
I had already spent about £30k in my head in just one side of the street. All of the dealers are very friendly and informative, and I did not have any negative experiences anywhere.
The shutters above are my plan for a bedhead, I just have to hope they are still there when I return in the near future.