Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Brits Have It

Stepping into our living rooms are several stately British homes that are either newly opened to the public or are the location of film shoots. Especially with the popularity of Downton Abbey, I thought I'd travel across the sea from France and Italy and take a look at a few details of these magnificent structures.

Architectural Digest's February 2012 issue showcases the renovations made by Prince Charles to save Dumfries House, located in Scotland, from the auction block. It is an 18th century Palladian villa and contains some fifty pieces from cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale's early workshop.

It had to be entirely restored, with new heating, wiring and plumbing, along with the restoration of the painted wall decorations and exceptional ceiling plasterwork. Special attention was given to using laborers from Great Britain. 

I especially like looking at the ceiling details.

 Blue Drawing Room

 The Pewter Corridor- wow!

Love the skylights in the Gallery

Closeup of the plasterwork and Murano glass chandelier in the Blue Drawing Room

PBS' Jane Eyre took place at Haddon Hall in Derbyshire. This medieval manor house dates from the 12th Century, and has been in the same family since 1567. It was empty for over two hundred years, from 1700 until the 1920s, when it was renovated and brought back to life. Its grounds contain stunning Elizabethan gardens which are open to the public from April to October.

 A corner of the Banqueting Hall, which held between 40-50 diners at a time.

 15th century tapestry in the Banqueting Hall

 The Long Gallery's gorgeous wood paneled walls

The Long Gallery, 110 feet long and 17 feet wide

PBS' Masterpiece Theater production of Downton Abbey takes place at Highclere Castle. While evidence suggests people have been living there for over one thousand years, this mansion was begun in 1838 by the 3rd Earl of Carnarvon and finally completed in 1878. The building was transformed into a hospital during WWI and during WWII was a home for evacuee children from north London. (An interesting side note- in 1922 the 5th Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun.)
The current (8th) Earl and Countess of Carnarvon now live part time in the Castle. 

 The gothic style Saloon- the heart of the house. Its wall coverings are made of leather created in 1631 and brought back from Cordoba, Spain. 

 The Drawing Room

 The Library

 The Entrance Hall

 The Music Room's walls are hung with 16th century Italian embroideries.

 Close up of the Italian tapestry wall coverings in the Music Room

 The Smoking Room with Dutch paintings on the walls and an 18th century Dutch leather screen

Details of the Spanish, embossed leather wall coverings in the Saloon, circa, 1680

See you at 9 p.m. Sunday evening for Downton Abbey?


  1. These details are outrageously beautiful!

  2. I want those climbing roses over the walls of Haddon Hall love your pictures, thank you

  3. Hi Annie
    You know I'm yet to see Downton Abbey.. and now my tv has taken early retirement so I'll have to get it on DVD...

    Is this a virtual popping over to the isles? or did you visit on your last trip?.... Well love that murano glass chandelier.. and the light quality in that gallery room is just magical..

    Have a great weekend.. and thanks for the award.. I just found it this morning.. I nice way to start a Sunday... ciao xxx Julie

  4. Exquisite! As you know, I love plaster-work and houses and furniture with a decent piece of history. Love the climbing roses at Haddon Hall.......... obviously no possums there! When do do you manage to have the time to find such beautiful images and then put them on your blog each day? Have a wonderful week Annie.

  5. The Tumbleweeds watched the first season shown on public t.v. all last Sunday afternoon. Then watched the beginning of season two Sunday night. We absolutely loved the show and look forward to seeing it tonight in Texas. Thanks for posting the photos of the castle. It is gorgeous. xo Jenny

  6. Beautiful photos! I love manor houses and can't wait for my next trip to Europe.



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