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!!
Victoria Hinshaw, Author