Friday, 8 April 2016

Stourhead Story

I promised some more pictures from Stourhead, the lovely National Trust property we visited recently. This has been the home of the Hare family for centuries, one of the first mansions built in the Palladian style. The NT changes the 'theme' every few years, and from 2014-2018, they are marking the centenary of WW1 with "Harry's Story" - there is much about Harry Hoare who lived there from early childhood until his death in the War. This is a useful idea in one way, you get a feel for Harry's lifestyle and that of his parents, Sir Henry and the glamorous Lady Alda - but it did mean I didn't find out much about earlier generations [like the bibliophile Richard Colt Hoare, who set up the fabulous Regency Library] Most of the pictures below were taken by Bob [who has a new camera]
By the reception there is a large book with the first page of Harry's Story, telling of his arrival in the snowy weather of February 1895
We began with a sandwich and a cuppa, then walked down the path to the house itself. Along the path were quotes from the family and their famous friends - some personal comments from Alda's diary, others were public remarks about the War.

I have to agree with her about her husband - I feel the same about mine!

The first person encountered inside the house is King Alfred. I really must find out more about this monarch! 

There were lots of family portraits, including one of Alda, which Bob said reminded him of Klimt's Judith I. Judith was painted in 1901, Alda in 1909. I can see the similarities!

During a massive fire at Stourhead in 1902, much of the centre of the house was destroyed - but family and servants worked hard to save as much as they could of furniture and artworks from the flames. It is remarkable how much was rescued and remains to be seen and enjoyed. 
There is an awful lot of Chippendale furniture - beautiful craftsmanship, wood gleaming with a burnished sheen...

The wine coolers/jardinieres are also Chippendale, but apparently Alda did not like them and had them repainted. I am not sure I like them in this colour.
The window at the top of the library is stunning as the light shines through
I love this collection of wooden document boxes at the end of one of the bookcases

A new sculpture garden has just been opened. The first piece is called Ebenezer Stone's Bicycle. This man worked on the estate but was seriously injured in the War. The bicycle wheels have images of soldiers, a nurse and more. A pair of crutches leans against a tree nearby. I took lots of photos.

I really enjoyed visiting Stourhead, and hope to go again sometime when the weather is a little better. The gardens will be beautiful later on I know.


  1. It is some years since I visited Stourhead - maybe 25 years - and obviously exhibits and displays change. I remember our day there as a really enjoyable one and have many pictures in my head but maybe it is time to go back there and revisit : )

  2. This would be a good meeting place for you and me...Haven't been into the house and grounds for ages.

    1. That would be fun, I'd enjoy that. Our NT membership has just run out - once I have renewed it, I will get back to you about meeting up!

  3. It looks a truly intriguing place to visit-I'd love to go there!!!! That huge book is super!!!


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