We'll return to visit more rooms of Ham House, a brilliant 17th Century house belonging to the National Trust. Two weeks ago we looked at the Great Hall and a few others. Today, we start with the North Drawing Room.
Created in 1637-39, it was part of the State Rooms where honored guests would withdraw after dining. The NT Guidebook tells us the twisted columns at the sides of the fireplace were "inspired by similar features in one of the cartoons (preliminary designs) for Raphael's Act of the Apostles (then in the collection of Charles I)." Very unusual to say the least.
Equally unusual is the Ivory Cabinet "probably made in Antwerp in the 1670's when ivory was still a rare and exotic material." Below, the Long Gallery, hung with portraits of family and friends.
Above left, a self portrait of artist Van Dyke; a wheelchair belonging to the 9th Earl of Dysart (1859-1935) who died without issue. Ham House went to his second cousin, 81-year-old Sir Lyonel Tollemache. Sir Lyonel and his son donated the house, which miraculously survived many nearby WWII bombings, to the National Trust in 1948.
A highlight of Ham House is the Green Closet, above. The NT writes, "It is an almost unique survival of a cabinet room of the 1630s and vividly evokes the art-loving court of Charles I." The room is filled with small paintings, miniatures, two Japanese cabinets (center below) and a painted ceiling (right) commissioned from artist Franz Cleyn in the 1630s.
The library, clearly a place we'd love to inhabit, full of appealing volumes and a large collection of globes and maps.
And here we find the Sp, AKA the Duchess' Bathroom, 17th century style.
She could relax on the chaise but I fear the tub lacked spouts for circulating water. Perhaps the maid stirred the contents instead. It certainly would have been the height of contemporary luxury.
More and more the NT houses are restoring the servant's areas...since most of their visitors would probably have more in common with the downstairs than the upstairs. And one of the volunteers in the kitchen gave us a nice send-off with a view of the work of art she had just finished baking. Brava!!
We'll take a brief break from our visit to Ham House and turn to fashions for a while. Part Two of Ham House coming soon.
This couple appears ready for the cooler temperature of November, though I assume the lady is recycling her summer chapeau and I would advise her to lift those skirts on damp days. The muff is wonderful. The plate appeared in Le Beau Monde, here from February, 1807. It was published for just four years by John Browne Bell. He was the estranged and/or competitive son of the John Bell who published of the popular magazine La Belle Adsemblee for many more years, according to author and fashion-plate expert Candice Hern (candicehern.com).
Here is the magazine's description for these outfits published in the issue for December 1807:
No. 1. - A Morning Dress. A round cambric gown, a walking length, with short full sleeve, and puckered cuff, buttoned or laced down the back, and made high round the neck, with a full frill of lace. A military stock, edged round the chin with the same. A figured Chinese scarf, the colour American green, twisted round the figure in the style of antique drapery. Melon bonnet the same colour, striped, and trimmed to correspond with the scarf. Hair in irregular curls on the forehead. Earrings of gold or topaz. Long York tan, or Limerick gloves, above the elbow. Slippers of yellow Morocco. This dress, divested of the bonnet, is considered genteel negligée for any period of the day.
No. 2. - A Morning Walking, or Carriage Habiliment. A simple breakfast robe of India muslin, or cambric; with plain high collar, and long sleeve. Plain chemisette front, buttoned down the bosom. A Calypso wrap of morone velvet, or kerseymere, trimmed entirely round with white ermine, or swansdown. Spanish hanging-sleeve, suspended from the back, and falling over the left shoulder, terminating in a round point below the elbow. This ornament is lined throughout with skin the same as the trimming. A mountain hat of white Imperial beaver, or fur, tied under the chin with a ribband the colour of the coat. Gloves and shoes of American green, or buff. Cropt hair, confined with a band, and curled over the left eye.
As often in the fashion plate world, the descriptions are detailed and using terms like 'morone', which drive we 21st c. readers to our glossaries. Marone means 'maroon' which was used loosely by the water-colorist who painted this plate.
Ackermann's Repository, February 1810, is described: "A purple velvet round robe. bordered around the bottom, bosom and wrists with narrow gold lace. A Spanish hat, composed of purple silk or velvet, the same as the robe, looped up in front with brilliants, and ornamented with curled ostrich feathers. A capuchin cloak of white satin, trimmed entirely round with full swansdown. Diamond chain and cross; drop ear rings and bracelets of the same; gold chain and opera glass. Grecian slippers of white satin, trimmed with silver.
A round gown has several definitions, but it generally refers to a skirt that goes fully around the waist, not split to show an undergown, as often in the early 18th and 17th centuries. A capuchin cloak indicates a hood (like the monks?). It doesn't look very warm for a February evening at the opera.
I have always liked this print of the lady who could not wait to remove her outerwear before reading the letter. It was taken from Ackermann's, November, 1811. I assume the letter was from her lover or her husband, perhaps both!
A plain high morning robe of India muslin with an ala Greque border of needlework at the feet. A French wrapping coat of gray or blossom-colored silk, trimmed entirely round with swansdown.
Hair in dishelved curls and twisted bands, Beehive hat, composed of the same material as the coat, with strings of lemon-colored ribbon, and ornamented with two curled ostrich feathers. Half-boots of buff silk, and kid gloves of a lemon color.
The print from the Lady's Magazine of October, 1814, comes with no description, but I think it is obvious that the shawl trimmed with fur is suitable for the month's plunging temperatures.
If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that I have spent several months presenting selections from my talk on London Mansions at the 2019 Beau Monde Conference in NYC on July 22. I covered the major houses discussed, and a few which I did not have time to complete, numbering fourteen posts in all. Now I have another house in greater London which I visited in September with my traveling companion Kristine Hughes Patrone.
We had a free day in London, unplanned in advance, an unusual occurrence for sure. We decided to venture forth to the neighborhood of Richmond, an easy tube ride. On arrival and after a much-needed coffee, the information desk told us we could take bus 371, and when we got off at Ham Street, we would immediately see the house. Easy peasy, we thought. Wrong!
It was a very long tramp which we somehow achieved without direction. The house was NOT in view of the bus stop. Eventually, we found it, and required immediate breakfast and more coffee! In the Orangery Cafe, we were comforted by lovely bouquets everywhere.
On this stunning day, we were eager to investigate the extensive gardens before we entered the house itself.
Before the entrance to the house we were greeted by this statue of Neptune, aka Father Thames, in Coade Stone purchased by the 6th Earl of Dysart in the early 19th century. The NT guidebook quotes Mary Berry's statement in 1809: "I was much pleased with the house and its situation, surrounded as it is by large avenues of trees, with its terraced gardens and its great bowling green;...as perfectly quiet and secluded as if the house were placed in the furthest county from London."
Below, left, Neptune from the entrance; pineapple near the gates also made of Coade stone; busts of Roman Emperors and British Kings in niches along the forecourt wall.
The house was built about 1610 for retired naval captain Sir John Vavasour, hero of battles with Spain, in the familiar Jacobean H style; the exterior remains much as it was in its early days. Below, the Great Hall, as remodeled in the early 18th C.
The NT Trust Guide tells us the house was "acquired" by William Murray, and the website indicates the house and property was a gift of King Charles I in 1626 to his childhood friend and companion and perhaps whipping boy. Murray and his daughter Elizabeth decorated the house and developed it as a treasure chest of rare quality. Through cunning and luck, the family survived the English Civil War and rule of Cromwell. Once Charles II was crowned in 1660, Elizabeth was supported in her ownership of Ham House.
Above, Elizabeth Murray, Countess of Dysart, later Duchess of Lauderdale (1626-1698). Below, left, Duke and Duchess of Lauderdale; Duchess's Bedroom; her desk.
The Withdrawing Room is called The Volury Room based on the former existence of many bird cages and the tapestries and paintings of avian subjects.
Below, more views of Ham House treasures: Ham House from the South, 1670's, by artist Henry Danckerts; 17th C. Chinese lacquer cabinet and Chinese jars; Fire Screen.
There's much more to cover at Ham House...next week. Stay tuned.
Osterley Park is managed by the National Trust and a very good job they do! On my third visit, I was excited to learn that we could take pictures INSIDE. Excellent news. The house is in the western part of Greater London; when built, it was considered in the country. Now it can be reached by rail and a short walk.
The approach to the house is suitably dramatic, viewed across a pond laced with water lilies in full bloom.
The Tudor style mansion was originally built in 1575 by Sir Thomas Gresham, banker and founder of the Royal Exchange. After considerable alterations in the 17th century, it was purchased by Francis Child, the immensely wealthy London banker, in 1711. His grandson Francis III hired Robert Adam to transform the house in 1761, but Francis died before the house was finished, leaving the house to his brother, Robert Child. Adam’s work was completed in 1780.
The current look - both inside and out - is very much that of the Adam period in all its glory. On the exterior, Adam had one section of the square Tudor house replaced with handsome Georgian columns, framing an open courtyard. The great house and estate passed down in the line of the Child banking family, about which, more later.
The magnificent Hall, designed by Adam in 1767, is elegant in its neutral color scheme of grays and whites with stucco panels of ancient military scenes on the walls. The floor has a dark pattern on white marble, a reflection of the plaster-work ceiling design.
Below, the Eating Room boasts handsome Adam-style decor and a suite of Chippendale chairs which accommodate any size dining table.
Above, the Long Gallery, chock full of treasures, serves as a picture gallery and general gathering place. including magnificent decor and furniture. According to the NT, it takes up to three days to wax and polish the floor. The room has been the setting for many movie scenes. A few of the many outstanding objects are below. Click on the pictures please.
Among the most famous of Ostlerley's gems is the magnificent State Bed, with its eight posters and elaborate hangings.
Adjacent is the Etruscan Dressing Room, drawing upon the images discovered in Italy in the mid 18th century. At that time, the term Etruscan referred to the types of designs found on Greek vases and in Pompeii. The furniture is attributed to Chippendale.
Another splendid tour d'force at Osterley is the Tapestry Room. designed to impress even royalty. The set of magnificent Gobelins tapestries were ordered from the factory in Paris, which was run in the 1770’s by a Scot. The matching upholstery was woven to match. The designs celebrate Mrs. Child's love of gardening and animals.
Osterley was inherited by Sarah Sophia Fane (below, left), also called Sally Jersey (1785-1867), well known in Regency society as a patroness of Almack’s and one who was highly influential in political and social circles. She inherited the house and fortune of her grandfather, the head of Child’s bank. She married George Child Villiers, 5th Earl of Jersey (1773–1859). Sally's mother, Sarah Anne Child (1764-1793) was the only child of Robert Child (1739-1782), the principal shareholder in the banking firm Child & Company.
Sarah Anne had eloped with John Fane (1773-1859), 10th Earl of Westmorland., her father chose to leave his fortune to her second child, so that it did not fall into the hands of the Westmorlands. but instead, it went to the Jerseys.
Sally’s mother-in-law was Frances Twysden (1754-1821), Lady Jersey, below right, was the wife of 4th Earl of Jersey (1736-1805) and mistress of George, Prince of Wales. While she was the Prince’s mistress, she schemed to have him marry Caroline of Brunswick, then acted as one of her ladies in waiting, insuring that the marriage would not be happy. About 1803, her place as mistress to the Prince of Wales usurped by Lady Hertford. The death of her husband in 1805 left her in financial distress but her son settled her debts many times.
Osterley was rarely used by the Jerseys, who had his estate Middleton in Oxfordshire in addition to a large townhouse at #38 Berkeley Square. For decades it was maintained but empty of life, though they sometimes entertained here.
In 1885, the famous library was sold for thirteen thousand pounds. For many years, the house was used only on occasional weekends until the 9th Earl opened it to the public on weekends. He gave it to the National Trust in 1949 and considerable restoration has taken place.
The servants’ areas are being restored, including the kitchen, top left. And one can imagine what went on in the still room, top right, as the produce of the gardens was turned into herbal tisanes, fragrant ointments, and perhaps even drops of opium in rosewater. A cautionary sign announces the wine cellar; The stable block has been converted to the ubiquitous NT tea room and gift shop.
Cambridge House is also known as #94 Piccadilly. We hope this fine mansion, even though it occupies the 13th position in this series of posts taken from my 'London Mansions' talk at the Beau Monde's 2019 conference in New York on July 23, will soon again be among the leading venues in its new role --probably as a hotel.
This rather sad photo was taken before the current changes began. Cambridge House is a fine Palladian house built in the 1760’s, designed by Matthew Brettingham. It is Grade I-listed and had been abandoned for 20 years while various schemes were planned and discarded for its revival. Below, current renovations underway, as of September, 2019.
Was it last year or the year before that we found food trucks in the courtyard?
Though many problems exist, some of the rooms remain in excellent condition. The original owner was the 2nd Earl of Egremont who also lived at Petworth in Sussex. His son, George O’Brien Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont, lived here for many years. In the 1820’s it was the residence of Lord Cholmondeley, and from 1829 the London residence of Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, when it became known as Cambridge House.
Please click on the above images for larger versions.
After the Duke of Cambridge died in 1850, the house was purchased by Lord Palmerston — who served twice as prime minister — and on his death it was bought by the Naval and Military Club. In the late 1860s, the club became known as the “In and Out” from the signs on the entrance and exit gates.
The Naval and Military Club was there until 1996 when the club moved to 4 St James’s Square. The house was sold to a businessman for £50 million. He had plans to make it into a hotel but went bankrupt a few years later. In 2010, it was sold again for £150 million, supposedly for a private residence. The latest scheme seems to be a hotel utilizing the surrounding buildings which are not listed and can be adapted to contemporary standards. The reception rooms will be in the mansion itself. Below, the Ballroom, before renovations began.
To provide historical perspective, we have rounded up the usual suspects below --- Lord Egremont, top left, is believed to have been the father of Lady Melbourne’s son William Lamb, the prime minister…and perhaps daughter Emily, center, also, though other candidates have been considered other than her mother’s husband. Emily later lived and entertained lavishly here with her 2nd husband Lord Palmerston, right – and while she was married to Lord Cowper, Palmerston was probably the father of young Lady Emily Cowper, bottom left, – who later married the 7th Earl Shaftesbury, bottom right, the great reformer of the Victorian era, an evangelical crusader for ending child labor and so forth – perhaps making up for the indiscretions in his wife’s family history???
Below, the dining room while the In and Out Club.
Below, drawing of Cambridge House, or Palmerston House as it was known then, in 1864.
Let's hope the current renovations are superb and Cambridge House regains its former glory.
This is next in a series excerpted from my talk for the Beau Monde Conference held July 23, 2019, in NYC. The former residence of Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington (1769-1852), Apsley House is now run by English Heritage as the Wellington Museum.
It was built between 1771 and 1778 for the 2nd Earl of Bathurst; the house's title comes from his position as Baron Apsley which he held before succeeding his father in 1775. Originally of red brick, it was the first house to be passed after the toll gates at the top of Knightsbridge, and thus known as No. 1, London.
Below, left, Hyde Park Corner in 1750; middle, painting of Apsley House in 1816; right, as remodeled and clad in stone, 1829.
Apsley House was purchased in 1807 by Marquess Wellesley (1760-1842), elder brother of the first Duke of Wellington, for a price of £16,000. The fashionable architect James Wyatt carried out improvements for Lord Wellesley before he sold the house to his brother for £42,000 in 1817. The 1st Duke had just returned from his ambassadorial post in Paris. The duke enlarged the house in 1827, added the Corinthian portico and encased house in Bath stone. It was eventually presented to nation by 7th Duke in 1947 after damage from WWII bombs.
Above, left, the Dining Room with Portuguese silver gilt service, a gift from that nation for the Duke’s service in the Peninsular War; Victoria, Kristine Hughes Patrone, and Diane Gaston offering their homage to the 1st Duke; the Wellington Shield, 1822. Please click on the photos.
The colossal sculpture of Napoleon as Apollo was carved by Canova and completed in 1811. It is 11 feet 4 inches high. Napoleon hated it as undignified and had it hidden away in the Louvre. The British bought it in 1816 and the Prince Regent presented it to the Duke. It is said that the floor under the staircase had to be reinforced to hold the statue.
The Waterloo Gallery was added to Apsley House by Benjamin Dean Wyatt in 1828 to provide exhibition space for the duke’s collection of paintings. It was first hung with more yellow silk, bur changed to red under the 2nd duke. The huge candelabra of grey Siberian porphyry were gifts from Emperor Nicholas I of Russia.
Above, left: The Entrance Hall; middle, the Striped Drawing Room; right, fireplace in the Piccadilly Drawing Room.
Apsley House is filled with the gifts and honors given to the duke from all over the world, but it is also a home still, having apartments for the current duke and his heir. The 1st Duke died in 1853 and was given a huge state funeral at St. Paul’s Cathedral after a procession from Apsley House through London.
Above, pictures from the Mystery Night at Apsley House on Friday, September 13, 2019. Left and center, characters enacting the suspects....,right, Kristine and the Duke strike similar poses. I figured out the perpetrator! It was great fun questioning all the suspects, including several physicians and even Mary Shelley...and a glass of wine always helps.
This was one of many public events held at Apsley House, in the most elegant of surroundings. Congratulations to the current management for making the house a frequent venue for talks, concerts, and performances which brig new audiences to the museum.
Only a fragment remains of one of the great houses of the Georgian and Regency periods in London: Holland House.
Holland House evolved from the original Cope Castle, built in 1605 for Sir Walter Cope by architect John Thorpe on a 500 hundred-acre parcel of once rural land, now within London. His daughter Isabel inherited the house and lived there with her husband, Henry Rich, who was named 1st Earl of Holland. Then known as Holland House, the house descended through minor branches of the family until 1768 when it came into the possession of Henry Fox, a leading Whig in Parliament, after which Fox was named Baron Holland. Below, Holland House in 1815.
Holland House was built in the early 17th century, a Jacobean design. The Luftwaffe destroyed the house in 1940, and the remains, now Grade 1 listed, have been made into a hostel and venue for entertainments in what remains of Holland Park.
Apparently, after the German attack, much of the library continued to serve browsers. Below, a comparison of Holland House in 1896 and 2014.
I understand that the once-thriving hostel is now being adapted for other purposes, but the news is sketchy. On the other hand, the gardens are used by many and include an opera theatre, restaurants, and sports facilities. Below, two views I took of the remains of the house and a slice of the garden in 2017.
Below, several photographs of the house's interior from 1907. Left, the China Room; middle, Gilded Room; right, the Library.
Holland House, 1907.
One of my favorite spots in London is the Wallace Collection, exhibited in the wonderful Hertford House on Manchester Square in Mayfair. Below, a drawing from their collection of Hertford House, c. 1812.
Today the home of the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square looks entirely different. Hertford House was built as Manchester House in 1776-88 by the 4th Duke of Manchester. It has been considerably altered from its original form with the addition of galleries to accommodate the art. It is open to the public today, and has a lovely café. Below, the current appearance.
The 2nd Marquess of Hertford, 1743-1822, a member of the Seymour family headed by the Duke of Somerset, bought Manchester House, and renamed it Hertford House in 1797. Hertford was Lord of the Treasury, and Ambassador to Berlin and Vienna under George III and Lord Chamberlain to Prince Regent 1812-21. His wife, Isabella, Lady Hertford, had a long liaison with the Prince Regent from 1807 to about 1819. Lady Hertford's place in Prinny's life was taken by Lady Conyngham. Below, décor of the house reflects the French tastes of the English aristocracy in the mid-Victorian era.
Please remember to click on the thumbnail below for larger versions. In the top row, center, Margaret, Countess of Blessington, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1822.
It seems the Hertfords had an appropriate scandal in just about every generation. The Third Marquess led a dissipated life and he was the model for Thackeray’s Lord Steyne in Vanity Fair. Yet he was a brilliant connoisseur and acted as agent for the Prince of Wales purchase of some magnificent Dutch pictures which are still in the Royal Collection.
The 4th Marquess of Hertford (1800-70) never married. He was brought up in Paris by his mother and was one of Europe's richest men, benefitting from extensive Irish estates. I suppose we may safely assume he was one of those wretched landlords during the potato famine. He left his fortune and his unentailed property to Richard Wallace, (1818-1890) son of Mrs. Agnes Jackson, later Sir Richard Wallace, Bart., but never acknowledged his paternity. A second cousin inherited the marquisate. Below, the Staircase.
Richard Wallace was a considerable philanthropist in France during the war with Prussia and eventually married his mistress Julie Castelnau, mother of his son (who died in 1887.) He was made a baronet in 1871 and made many philanthropic donations to both the French and British nations. Lady Wallace, said to have been a former shop girl in a Paris perfumery, lived a secluded life at Hertford House after her husband's death in 1890. She was his sole heir.
The Wallace collection was bequeathed to nation in 1897 by Lady Wallace, widow of Sir Richard Wallace. Sir Richard inherited one of the world's great collections of the Hertford Family and also was a great collector himself.
Above, L to R: The Laughing Cavalier by Franz Hals, 1624; George IV by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1822; Mrs. Mary Robinson (Perdita), by Thomas Gainsborough, 1781.
Below, my only photo of the WallaceCollection Cafe, as reflected in the glass ceiling over the former courtyard, also showing the window-washer. Can you imagine crawling around on that glass looking down at the diners below? Glad it's not my job!
We have reached Kenwood House, part of my talk at the Beau Monde Conference in New York on July 23, 2019, that I did not deliver. I ran out of time!
The façade of the Orangery and Kenwood House facing Hampstead Heath.
The Entrance of Kenwood House Hampstead, London. The house is open today as a gallery of pictures, among them works by Rembrandt, Van Dyke, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Romney, and Lawrence; operated by English Heritage. The art collection is primarily the bequest of Edward Cecil Guiness, 1st Earl of Iveagh, who acquired the house to exhibit the pictures in 1927.
Above, the house from the Heath. The first house built here was about 1616, a Jacobean house partially pulled down but with remaining features beneath the 18th century white stucco; several prominent families owned the property throughout the 18th century. William Murray (1705-1793), 1st Earl of Mansfield, hired Robert Adam to redo the house in 1764. Mansfield was the Lord Chief Justice of England, 1756-1765.
Below, the 1775 portrait of Lord Mansfield (by David Martin)hangs in the Library.
Perhaps the most famous room in Kenwood is the Adam Library, completely refurbished in 2012-14.
Compare this view with the previous appearance and the changes in the ceiling below. The original version was painted by Antonio Zucchi
Much of the gilding had been added well after the original design, as well as the scarlet carpeting, now gone. The way it looked in the left above is the way I first saw it many years ago. The far more subtle shades of the restoration make me much more amenable to working in the library, so if there is sufficient wi-fi access, don't be surprised if you find me there next time you visit. Don't I wish!!!
Below, three more views of the re-done library.
For some years, the library was about the only room furnished as the original. But in the recent restoration, other rooms were returned to their 'residential' as opposed to 'gallery' appearance. Below, the dining room, refurbished.
The portrait above the dining room fireplace is Princess Henrietta of Lorraine attended by a Page by Anthony Van Dyck, 1634. Below, two of the priceless masterpieces from the collection. Left, Portrait of the Artist by Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1663; and right, The Guitar Player by Jan Vermeer, c. 1672.
The Music Room, below, including the chamber organ, from 1796, and many excellent English portraits.
Below, a selection of the fine English portraits from Kenwood House. Below, top, left, Mrs. Musters as Hebe by Sir Joshua Reynolds; Miss Murray, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1825-27; lower, left, Kitty Fisher as Cleopatra, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1759; right, Mrs. Jordan as Viola, by John Hoppner,
The 1st Earl of Mansfield, was noted for his reform of English law and was important in the fight against slavery. He was the author of a court opinion that slaves brought into Britain or its territories were free.
The Film Belle, 2013, tells the story, a bittersweet one, of these two young ladies, Mansfield’s niece, Elizabeth Murray, and Dido Bells, the natural daughter of Mansfield's nephew with a West Indian slave woman. They lived with the Mansfields for most of their lives. A cop of their portrait hangs at Kenwood, below.
Above, drawing of the house, c. 1774. Below, The café garden.
Victoria Hinshaw, Author