Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Great Country Estates of Britains Series. Blickling Hall Part Two

We continue our tour of Blickling Hall with the gardens...
Above: The clocktower. Reminiscent of the stone clock tower at Hatfield house, but this tower is actually constructed of wood and painted and plastered to look like stone!

Below: A simple colonnade.

In the 18th century John Hobart, the second Early of Buckingham redesigned the baroque styled parterres gardens like so many gardens of the 18th centruy, in the landscape style and included woods, follies and lakes.

Follwing the second earl's death his daughter employed Humphry Repton to continue redesigning the gardens. The estate covers almost 5000 acres, 55acres in garden

The current large lawn with its four large corner beds was designed in 1930s by Norah Lindsay in response to critical comments made in Country Life magazine which had upset the 11th marquis of Lothian, Philip Henry Kerr, the then heir of Blickling.

As you can see from the many statues, urns, sundials and benches the garden is not lacking in ornamentation.

Above: Statue of a dog. Below: A Herm marking the boundary from the main garden to the steps up towards the temple folly.

Above: View back from the steps towards the hall.

Below: View on from the steps towards the folly.
Above: The little Doric temple folly, built about 1728. 
Below: Peter standing on its steps, with the view back to the house.

Below: Sundial in an enclosed garden.

Above: Stretching out into the park, the sunlight was fading fast, which did provide some nice photos before is disappeared completely.

The orangery was built in the 1870s to over winter tender citrus fruit...

Just before the sun set completely we made it to a pub on the edge of the estate and managed to get a couple of pints in before heading back to Kings Lynn for the night, ready to head off to Sandringham and Holkham the following day.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Great Country Estates of Britain Series: Blickling Hall Part One

I was going through some of our photos from last year when Peter and I toured the country houses of Norfolk and thought it was finally time I shared some more posts in the Country Estate Series. In this post we are visiting Blickling Hall

Blickling Hall was originally built in the 15th century by Sir John Falstaff Caister, who made a sizable fortune during the 100 years war. It later passed to his neighbour Geoffrey Boleyn in the 1450s (and is purportedly the birth place of his great granddaughter Anne Boleyn).

Above and Below: The front entrance with a lovely little stone bridge complete with heraldic beasts - the Hobart Bulls, over which one crosses to enter by the great hall. Originally it was a bridge over a moat.

Like so many country estates the current house is not that of the Boleyn family. The present house was the construction of Sir Henry Hobart Bart, who purchased the estate for 5,500 pounds. It is thought to have been built in 1616 to a design by Robert Lyminge, who designed Hatfield House. Hobart was Lord Chief Justice to James I; and had a large family (his poor wife gave birth to 12 sons and four daughters)!

Above: Portrait of Sir Henry Hobart by Jan de Critz

Below: Portrait of John Hobart, 2nd Earl, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland by Thomas Gainsborough.

Below: A monument to the second earl's wife.

Inside The grand staircase and great hall.

Above and Below: Jacobean staircase rising from the great hall below, with intricately carved newel figures. There is also a relief of Anne Boleyn in the nice on the landing.

Below: The dining room with the dining table which belonged to the second Earl.

Below: Portrait of Philip Kerr, Lord Lothian who being a confirmed bachelor with no heirs bequeathed the estate to the National Trust under the country houses scheme which he helped set up. His title passed to his cousin.

Above and Below: The Jacobean south drawing room, where Charles II was entertained in 1671.

Above and Below: The Peter the Great Room, named for the tapestry of Peter The Great's defeat of the Swedes in 1709 at the Battle of Poltawa. The chimney-piece is made of Sienna, whilst the chandelier dates to the 1700s. It also contains the Gainsborough portraits of the second Earl and Countess.

Below: One of the bedrooms with a small piano at which the daughters of the second duke took their lessons.

Some objects which I took a liking to: Above a wonderfully carved Jacobean chair. Below: A fanciful painitng of Putti being kept in a cage.

Below: The "O" Room

Above: Chippendale four poster bed dating to 1760 in the Chinese bedroom, with hand painted wallpaper.

Below: The fireplace in the Chinese Bedroom. Note too the carved ivory pagodas and small inlaid cabinet.

Below: The West Turret Bedroom.

The state bedroom with bed made by George Hepplewhite.

Above: The canopy was commissioned by George II and was originally above the second Earl's state chgair at the court of Catherine the Great when he was ambassador to Russia. It was later given to the Earl as a gift.

Above: The Cassone (Dowry Chest) is of the Florentine school and dates to the 15th century.

Below: The gilded tracery of the ceiling.

The gallery, with library, has a very impressive ceiling...

The library contains over 12,500 volumes and manuscripts.

Below: A beautiful boule box I rather fancied.

Above: Pair of firedogs made by Joshua Hart and Sons, eminent metal smiths of their day. They were designed by John Hungerford Pollen, who also designed the rest of the library in the 1860s. The sun and crowns are symbols taken from Lothian family heraldry.

We then took a quick tour around the downstairs areas before heading outside to catch the gardens in what remained of the light late on a beautiful English summer's day.  Here are some photos of the kitchen...

Come back again on Wednesday for a tour of Blickling's gardens

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