Monday, September 29, 2014
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.
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