brianaw

12 Sep 2011 224 views
 
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photoblog image A Stroll At Calke Abbey #1

A Stroll At Calke Abbey #1

Quite close to us is the National Trust property of Calke Abbey, a place we visit several times a year.  The pictures in this short series were taken during the course of one visit in July on a day when the house itself was closed to visitors.

 

Calke Abbey was acquired by the National Trust in 1985 as a most unusual property where it seemed that time had stood still. The Harpur family had lived there since 1622 and were noted for their reclusive eccentricity. In 1985 the property was in need of extensive repair but was lacking in modern amenities and cluttered with the collected family paraphernalia of centuries . The decision was made to carry out essential repairs only and keep the property, so far as possible, in the state that it was left . You will not find, therefore, a highly restored interior but a most interesting and informal picture of a grand country house in its latter years of occupancy and decline. It has a unique fascination.

A memorable example of the idiosyncratic nature of the family is the star exhibit of a stunning state bed given to the family in 1714 and never erected! Complete with Chinese embroidered silk hangings the bed can now be seen in an air conditioned display and is 'as new' and meticulously preserved. 

The main south front of the hall seen here was built for Sir John Harpur in the early years of the 18th Century by an unknown architect who drew inspiration from a number of sources including, in all probability, the work of a 16th Century French Architect, Philibert de L'Orme.

A Stroll At Calke Abbey #1

Quite close to us is the National Trust property of Calke Abbey, a place we visit several times a year.  The pictures in this short series were taken during the course of one visit in July on a day when the house itself was closed to visitors.

 

Calke Abbey was acquired by the National Trust in 1985 as a most unusual property where it seemed that time had stood still. The Harpur family had lived there since 1622 and were noted for their reclusive eccentricity. In 1985 the property was in need of extensive repair but was lacking in modern amenities and cluttered with the collected family paraphernalia of centuries . The decision was made to carry out essential repairs only and keep the property, so far as possible, in the state that it was left . You will not find, therefore, a highly restored interior but a most interesting and informal picture of a grand country house in its latter years of occupancy and decline. It has a unique fascination.

A memorable example of the idiosyncratic nature of the family is the star exhibit of a stunning state bed given to the family in 1714 and never erected! Complete with Chinese embroidered silk hangings the bed can now be seen in an air conditioned display and is 'as new' and meticulously preserved. 

The main south front of the hall seen here was built for Sir John Harpur in the early years of the 18th Century by an unknown architect who drew inspiration from a number of sources including, in all probability, the work of a 16th Century French Architect, Philibert de L'Orme.

comments (19)

  • blackdog
  • United Kingdom
  • 12 Sep 2011, 00:09
Lovely crystal clear day and a fine photo Brian.
Brian Walbey: Thanks Mike. One of the benefits of being retired is being able to go to such places when the crowds are not there.
  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 12 Sep 2011, 00:21
No distracting gardens here, Brian. Fine, crisp shot!
Brian Walbey: Thanks Ray. There is a fine walled garden near to the house which I will show at a later date, and you will see one corner of it on Wednesday.
Wonderful image of a terrific building!
Brian Walbey: Thanks Elizabeth.
This is very well framed Brian .... the details of the Abbey are very crisp....petersmile
Brian Walbey: Thanks Peter, you might guess this has a touch of Topaz to help it along.
Like mentioned....It looks like times had stood still. Excellent capture & composition! winkBrian.
Brian Walbey: Thanks Sue. Some of the stuff inside is really old.
great view and perfectly exposed. what you said about the place being restored and left in its original state reminds me of my grandparents' place
Brian Walbey: Thanks Ayush. I suspect your grandparents place might have been a little smaller than this place perhaps smile
  • Chantal
  • Germany
  • 12 Sep 2011, 07:24
Too bad the garden is not styled...

BTW I will be gone for a few weeks, vacation break, so be back at the end of this month!
Brian Walbey: It stands in the parkland and there is a lovely walled garden a short walk from the house which I will show in some detail later this year. Enjoy your holiday and come back with lots of great photos.
  • Ginnie
  • Netherlands
  • 12 Sep 2011, 07:24
She sure is a beauty, Brian!
Brian Walbey: She certainly is Ginnie, and a treasure trove inside. I will show that and the walled garden and delightful little church during the winter.
This is a beautiful image Brian. The building is wonderful.
Brian Walbey: Thanks Frances, we go here quite often, it is only about 20 minutes from us, and it is nice just to sit in the parkland and let the world go by.
Good image Brian, we have enjoyed several visits there. No photos allowed inside though, which is a shame.
Brian Walbey: Thanks Martin. One is allowed to use the camera inside now Martin, no flash of course, but it is not the most brilliantly lit of places sadly.
Looking at the left side of this shot, Brian, we get a little peek of the rest of the Abbey. The place must be huge. I wonder if the Harpur family, being reclusive & eccentric, employed a staff large enough, if not to maintain the property, then at least to look after their daily needs.
Brian Walbey: One of the things that did happen is that the last occupant got a bit too reclusive and used to just leave a room, shut the door, and never re-visit it, hence a lot of the rooms were just stuck in time, and a lot of the place has been left like that, after cleaning and so on of course.
Just a tad smaller grin
An impressive place Brian
Brian Walbey: It is indeed Bill. I will be showing the inside, the walled garden and the church over the winter months.
  • Debb
  • United Kingdom
  • 12 Sep 2011, 16:11
lovely photo of a grand old house.
Brian Walbey: Thanks Debb.
That's one I visited some years back - perhaps shortly after it opened. I remember that the contents were quite idiosyncratic!
Brian Walbey: There were indeed Tom and apart from cleaning etc.all has been left as it was found.
  • Alan
  • United Kingdom
  • 12 Sep 2011, 17:02
Most impressive, Brian; what a cracking place. Your notes paint an intriguing picture. I'm thinking of leaving my house to the NT on my departure.. a 1970s semi left in a 1970s time warp! smile
Brian Walbey: But I trust you are at the smart end of Southampton Alan. Thanks for your comment.
Fantastic building Brian smile
Brian Walbey: It is indeed Pamela, inside and out.
What a place! Nice editing Brian
Brian Walbey: Well worth a visit Dave, some of the stuff inside is fascinating with the men of the family being inveterate collectors.
An interesting looking place and treatment Brian
Brian Walbey: We are only about 20 minutes from Calke which is quite handy.

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