Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Deck The Halls...

"Have you been to Kingston Lacy yet?" asked Jenny at church "Yes!" I assured her, but our conversation was interrupted before I could enthuse any more. Other friends had said that KL was spectacular at Christmas- so much so that there are timed tickets for viewing the house. Late last Monday I booked two [free] tickets for 1pm, and once back from school, Bob and I has a quick sandwich then drove over, arriving at 12.30ish. We looked in the laundry/shop area, and that was very festive.
Then we walked round through the gardens to the Potting Shed Secondhand Bookshop. I bought a book to read on holiday. The snowdrop gardens had amazing illuminations- green 'washes' of light on the tree trunks and hanging gold sparklers that looked almost like spiders' webs. Even in the middle of the day they looked super
It was cold and so we crept into the entrance hall at 12. 50. "We're not busy, you needn't wait" said the kind staff member. So we began our tour. All year, the NT have had a theme focusing on the four great women of the Bankes Family. Mary, who held it together when Cromwell's lot were shelling her previous home [Corfe Castle]  Anne Bankes oversaw the style and decor of the house, and sorted out all the artefacts, art and furniture sent back by William John Bankes [forced to live in exile in Europe after a scandal] Frances Bankes, mother of 6, and eager to promote the Bankes name [ rather ahead of her time, she promoted inoculation as a way of maintaining family health] and Henrietta Bankes, gracious lady of the house, turning KL into a hospital in WW1, and then becoming a renowned society hostess, planning all sorts of fabulous events.
Up the grand staircases, all decorated beautiful with flowers and foiliage
I know I went on about 'reality' last week - but isn't this paper banquet stunning? The guide said that visiting children have been particularly amused by the sprout globes and carrot cones, as well as the turkey. I liked the Dundee Cake myself!

The variety and skill in the construction of the decorations was truly splendid. In the Laundry you could even make your own paper baubles, and in the scullery there were leaflets with instructions for masking paper orchids. My friend Jenny has a stunning collection of real orchids, I am not sure I could make her a paper one quite as beautiful!

Using screen print techniques, some of the portraits and letters of the four women had been reproduced on sumptuous velvet cushions, by a local textile artist. They looked wonderful, glowing in the lights

Yes this was a truly lovely day out.
But on the way home, I remarked to Bob that I keep thinking about these four strong women in the Bankes family.
One acting as Chief Operating Officer
One who is always very good in a crisis
One in charge of Brand Management
And one cheerful little body who is always busy with her projects.
I can think of an modern family with 4 women like that too! [I rearranged the posters so you can match us up!]


  1. That's a lovely family portrait of you and your girls! :)

  2. I think that all 4 of you fit all the descriptions!

  3. Lovely pic of you all. I had a little redhead, 36 years ago - he hasn't got much of it left now much to his chagrin!


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