PeriodLiving beautiful old homes
decor ating & shoPPing
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BRITAIN’S BEST-SELLING PERIOD HOMES MAGAZINE
stunning period homes creatively renovated with unique touches
renovation & maintenance MAy 2019
Let in the
NEw IDEAS fOR ARTS&cRAfTS DEcORATING
the best orangeries and conservatories
Made in Britain Your little black book of expert manufacturers
QueenVictoria a celebration
We reveal her fascinating life story and go behind the scenes of itv’s hit drama
Illustration Sarah Overs Photograph David Lloyd
iving in an old home in the modern age can sometimes make you feel left behind when it comes to innovations in the house design sector (not to mention the fantasy of lower fuel bills). However, owning a character property with a link to the past brings its own unique pleasures. You can’t beat the sense of satisfaction gained from restoring an original feature to its former glory, or in discovering that perfect new piece that looks like it has always been there. One of the greatest joys is shopping for those key fittings and furnishings, and whether you err on the side of authenticity or prefer an old-meets-new approach, it’s important that they complement the era of the house and honour its integrity. To help you shop with confidence, PL’s features writer Holly Reaney has sought out the best British design and manufacturing talent for this issue, and found out what makes them so special (page 88). From heritage paint and wallpaper makers to furniture craftspeople, these brands create pieces with the same care and attention you give to your own home. Did you know that the most common era of period house in the UK is Victorian? Given the monarch’s exceptionally long reign of 63 years (second only to our current Queen), it’s not surprising. To celebrate 200 years since Queen Victoria’s birth, we trace the key events in her life, from her unhappy childhood to falling in love, and becoming known as the Grandmother of Europe (page 96). It’s a fascinating story, tinged with sadness. Continuing on the Victorian theme, we catch up with Daisy Goodwin, creator of ITV’s Victoria, and find out her inspirations and what goes on behind the scenes of the hit TV show (page 104). Plus, we look at how to decorate a 19th-century home with heritage-inspired prints that look great today (page 24). Finally, this month don’t miss the chance to subscribe to Period Living for just £20.50 for six issues, and receive a gorgeous Emma Bridgewater cake tin set worth £38 (page 66). Enjoy! Melanie Griffiths Editor, Period Living
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Chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne Non-executive chairman Richard Huntingford !Ç?ÇŁĆşÇ”ËĄČ‡Ć?Č‡ĆŹÇŁĆ?ÇźČ’Ç”ËĄĆŹĆşČ¸ Penny Ladkin-Brand Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244
40 145 21 Cover
Photograph Brent Darby
Decorating & shopping
11 18 21 22 24 65 87 115
Journal We round up the latest interiors offerings, news and exhibitions Patterned tiles Add an ornate touch with these Victorian inspired designs Riverbank inspiration Evoke the colours and creatures of the water’s edge with these buys Shop for vases Ensure your flowers are looking their best in a beautiful vessel ON THE COVER
Victorian splendour Decorate your home with the prints of the 19th century ON THE COVER
Arts and Crafts revival Celebrate craftsmanship with William Morris inspired designs
30 88 96 104 106
Scandi wallpapers Inspired by nature, these pretty prints will bring life to your walls
The best wall lights We reveal the most stylish designs to suit all budgets and tastes
Features Made in Britain Ralph Jandrell’s ceramics are inspired by the countryside ON THE COVER
Best of British Discover our favourite home grown brands to invest in ON THE COVER
Queen Victoria Take a tour through the life of Britain’s iconic monarch ON THE COVER
Behind the scenes of ITV’s Victoria We catch up with Daisy Goodwin, creator of the hit TV show
The great designers Marc Allum explores the life and legacy of William De Morgan May journal The best activities to get you out and about this month Heritage weekend Discover the best of Harrogate
22 Period Living 7
36 Enter our awards
We launch our search for Home and Garden of the Year ON THE COVER
The age of elegance Shelia Soulsby was determined to call this Georgian house her home – even though it had just been sold to someone else
54 At home by the sea
After years of renting, Kathleen and Scott Simpson have finally found their dream home
69 A moment of time
The Sperrings have celebrated the history of their 19th century rectory through their sensitive restoration
78 Perfectly patterned
Sarah and Mattais have created a cosy home, transformed with texture and colour
Advice & inspiration
House journal New products and expert advice for improving a period home Health check Renovation expert Roger Hunt advises on maintaining and repairing original encaustic tiles Reclamation We visit Laurence Green, founder of Insitu Architectural Salvage in Manchester
8 Period Living
ON THE COVER
Glazed extensions Add space and value with an orangery or conservatory
139 145 148
Growing under glass Learn how to cultivate a year round indoor tropical oasis Garden journal The latest products for your garden, and horticultural advice Sleeping beauty Take a tour of Susie Challen and Marc Beney’s fairytale garden
Get six issues for £20.50, plus a free Emma Bridgewater cake tin set
Where to find all the suppliers featured in this issue
i r p c t s
5 ways to maximise space Discover how to make your home bigger without extending
Embrace bright botanicals and blousy floral prints, plus discover must-see exhibitions Feature Pippa Blenkinsop
utside o ep As warmer
Photograph Kasia Fiszer
weather approaches, it’s time to start thinking about alfresco dining. Why not pretty up proceedings with a profusion of floral fabrics? Abigail Bury’s beautiful designs are based on hand illustrations and include this Floral Posy design on oatmeal linen (used as tablecloth), £66 per m, and mixed cushions, from £58.
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Image (bottom left) Queen Victoria - engraving with her parents the Duke and Duchess of Kent © Historic Royal Palaces
SuMMEr dINING Give your tableware a fresh botanical look in time for picnic season with these Eddington melamine coupe plates, £24 for four, and Tropical mango wood serveware, from £10, all John Lewis & Partners.
don’t miss To mark the bicentenary of Queen Victoria’s birth, Historic Royal Palaces has announced two major exhibitions at Kensington Palace. Journey back in time with Victoria: A Royal Childhood and experience the suite of that rooms Victoria and her mother occupied, reimagined in a family-friendly exploration of her childhood. Expect to see evocative objects relating to the monarch’s early years, including a scrapbook of mementos created by her German governess, Baroness Lehzen. In addition to the new route through the palace, the Victoria: Woman and Crown exhibition will be opening at the palace’s Pigott Gallery and will examine the private woman behind the monarch as well as her later life and legacy. Opening 24 May 2019 – entry included with a standard palace admission price. 12 Period Living
STATEMENT SEATING The ‘Queen of Print’ Orla Kiely has teamed up with Barker & Stonehouse to launch an exclusive range of furniture. From footstools to sofas, the stylish pieces capture Orla’s signature mid-century style, palette and iconic patterns. PL loves this playful Fern small Liffey Multi sofa, £1,189 – because who needs cushions in all one colour?
Image Upturned Boat, Yves Dussin, Audierne, © 2019 Joanna Maclennan
bookshelf Want to embrace unique style and make your decorating scheme a little more sustainable? The Foraged Home is full of inspiration for creating a characterful interior on a shoestring, by cleverly incorporating salvaged, rescued and collected finds. Presenting the techniques and philosophies of a wide spectrum of experienced foraging homeowners, the book showcases interiors from all over the world, from an upturned boat in France (pictured) to an Australian beach house. £24.95, Thames & Hudson.
Introducing Sophie Elm, an illustrator, surface pattern designer and ceramicist working under the alias of Jeff Josephine Designs. After graduating in Illustration from Edinburgh College of Art, Sophie now employs her drawing skills across a wide selection of objects, offering a collection of handcrafted studio pottery, art prints and printed textiles, all created in her Gloucestershire home studio. Favourite subjects include quintessential cottage garden motifs, from pea pods to primulas, which sit alongside playful abstract patterns and are all bound by a signature naive charm and punchy primary palette. ‘I draw inspiration from many places,’ says Sophie. ‘I love the bold, colourful illustrations of 20th century children’s books, as well as packaging with bold typography, and I’ve always had an interest in traditional Scandinavian folk art.’ (jeffjosephinedesigns.co.uk)
Left: Flower Garden giclée print, £38 for A3 Below: Handmade Summer Flower mugs, £28 each
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News Shiva table lamp with 30cm straight empire shade in handmade green and royal blue marbled paper, £155, Pooky
IN A WHIRL Give your interior an abstract colour pop with these marvellous marbled pieces
Beige Ripple linen cushion, £95, Susi Bellamy
Handmade archival box, £20, Choosing Keeping
Marbled wallpaper in Topaz, £150 per roll, Mind the Gap
Marbled pudding bowl in blue/green, £28, Penny Morrison
om o l b
Sanderson has unveiled its latest collection: Glasshouse, a cornucopia of wallpapers and fabrics inspired by historic botanical drawings, alongside co-ordinating weaves and embroideries. A spectacular watercolour painting celebrating the blousy beauty and diversity of tulips, the Tulipomania fabric would make a pretty yet punchy choice for living room curtains and cushions. Printed on cotton satin, it costs £59 per m.
Tune in A new online home-improvement TV show is launching this month, with advice on everything from extending to finding the perfect tradespeople. The Real Homes Show – brought to you by Period Living’s sister magazine – will broadcast fortnightly from 4 April, in partnership with Checkatrade, the leading tradesperson-finding service. Regular features will include extending and improving your home, making the most of small spaces, tours of the homes of leading Instagram influencers, and tips on sourcing affordable tech, furniture and accessories. Each episode will broadcast on realhomes.com/tv, with a special £1,000 homeware giveaway to mark the first episode.
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EYE ON DESIGN Rebecca Drury, co-founder of British design studio MissPrint, shares her passion for Scandinavian design Tell us the story behind MissPrint
Above: Pendulum wallpaper in Moroccan Sun, £72 per roll Right: Rebecca designing in the MissPrint studio
I founded it with my mum Yvonne Drury in 2005, after I’d been inspired by screen printing projects at university. We started printing on our kitchen table and have grown organically over the years into what we are today. We began by printing onto silk and making lampshades, but quickly expanded into printed cushions, wallpapers and fabrics. Every pattern is hand-illustrated by me and starts as a page in my sketchbook; I love the imperfections and non-uniformity that you get from original drawings. These drawings are then translated into patterns and screen printed onto fabric and paper using organic inks.
simplistic forms; it’s not a brutalist minimalism, but a simple naivety that stems from folk traditions and a symbiotic relationship with nature. One of my favourite designers is Stig Lindberg. He produced such beautiful, natural shapes with his ceramics and created some amazing whimsical patterns for textiles.
What’s your advice for decorating a period home? I believe mixing old with new is key to creating a home with personality. I would always keep and restore period features where possible, but why not try adding a bold pop of colour? Our Pendulum Moroccan Sun wallpaper could give a fun modern twist to a period property, or try mixing in mid-century finds.
omen’s W W o
This month, Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft will present a major exhibition on the work of craftswomen who turned their practices into successful businesses between the two World Wars. Women’s Work: Pioneering Women in Craft 1918 1939 will focus on pieces made by textile artists, weavers, ceramicists and silversmiths who looked to the traditional techniques of the past to create contemporary designs that would go on to inspire craftspeople for generations. 4 May 6 Oct. Entry £7.50.
a new palette Albany paints has launched its Design Collection colour card, which includes 34 brand new shades. From fresh whites and popular greys, to inky blues and vibrant greens, the 112-strong edit features a range of carefully selected colours for the perfect scheme. Try pairing this versatile Adam hue with honeyed wood and cream for a classic country look. £14.69 for 1ltr of vinyl matt at Designer Paint.
Images (bottom left from top) Glass and silver necklace, 1934, Catherine Cockerell/Cobb; Barron and Larcher’s workshop, Painswick, and Peggy Turnball with gallery assistants Edith and Mary Flint, both from the Crafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts
From where do you draw inspiration? I admire the simplicity of Scandinavian style. I love how many of the mid-century prints depict organic motifs in their most
SQUARE with the patterns of the st using Victorian-inspired floor and wall tiles, m decorative dados to striking geometrics
From top left, per tile: Juno reclaimed encaustic floor tile, from £7.20, Bert & May. Grosvenor border tile, £4.59, Topps Tiles. Dentil moulding Dado in Royal Blue, £4.75, Original Style. Minton Hollins Rolling Leaf in Blue, £7.29, Topps Tiles. Source Egg & Dart in Aqua, £5.45, Original Style. Metropolitan Camden Trim, £4.95, Fired Earth. Minton Hollins Ripple Border in Teal, £4.19, Topps Tiles. Victorian Green Rope Dado, £3.85, Original Style. Freya Decor tile, £1.87, Mandarin Stone. Salisbury encaustic floor tile, £3.84, Ca’Pietra. Pink Basco tile, £6, and reclaimed encaustic Vega w tile, £6, both Bert & May. Impression cement tile, £7.80, Maitland & Poate. Madeira Amparo tile, £7.80, Fired Earth. Sweetbriar tile, £10.25, Original Style. Minton Hollins Roker Scuba Blue Decor tile, £4.69, Topps Tiles. William De Morgan Boston blue flowers tile, from £34.74, Victorian Ceramics. Metropolitan Camden tile, £1.49, Fired Earth. Minton Hollins Apple Green Bevel tile, £1.49 and Henley Ice tile, £9.10, both Topps Tiles.
Styling tyl yling Pippa Blenki enki nkinsop p Phot gra aph Kasiia Fisze F sze zerr
River Reed, £45 for 2.5ltrs of Perfect matt emulsion, Designers Guild
Demoiselle wallpaper in Ink/Chartreuse, £67 per roll, Harlequin
Emma Bridgewater Frog mug, £19.95, Daisy Park
Birds Eye View large decorative lamp, from £565, Rosanna Lonsdale
Blue Heron print, £89, Graham & Green Dragonfly melamine dinner plate, £8, Sophie Allport
Handwoven merino wool Rockpool throw, £180, Camilla Thomas Textiles
Voyage Maison Lily Pad Amber cushion, £45, Bridgman
Tales from the
RIVERBANK Evoke the blissful tranquillity of a riverside walk by capturing the colours and creatures of the water’s edge
Reed 4-cup bone china teapot, £81, William Edwards
Helmsley snuggler in teal mix of Portland velvets, £1,716, Sofas & Stuff Nympheas at Giverny by Claude Monet, from £65 for a H42xW42cm framed print, King & Mcgaw Feature Pippa Blenkinsop
Watersedge grey otter cushion, £12, Dunelm
Albany Litlington, £29.99 for 2.5ltrs of vinyl matt, Designer Paint
Peter Layton Water-Lily large glass bowl, £600, The National Gallery shop
Fiore fabric in Mineral, £39 per m, Clarke & Clarke Luke Irwin Horizon blue rug, £1,800, John Lewis & Partners
Period Living 21
Large rustic black vase, £30, John Lewis & Partners
22 Period Living
ully f t r a
lou b to
rb lo om
Handmade Romantic ceramic vase, from £250, Polly Fern
s p l ay e
Medium cane glass vase, £45, French Connection
Handpainted patterned rocket vase by Sophie Alda, £65, A New Tribe
Hand-painted Aya vase, £30, Printer + Tailor
m sin o r F
Recycled glass vase, extra large, £20, Garden Trading
rist bouquets, ma o l f ke sy
h a beautifu l v st wit a se
Kirsty Adams posy vase, £25, National Trust
gle stems pick ed f
th eg a
Kosta Boda Bjork glass vase, £109, Amara
e ir b he kt oo sl
Speckled candle holder/vase, £12.99, Very
Block stripe ceramic vase, £19.50, Marks & Spencer
Floral hurricane vase, £6, George Home
Piro ceramic vase, £22, Curious Egg
Feature Sophie Warren-Smith and Pippa Blenkinsop
Rose glass vase, £8.95, The Gifted Few
While authentic Victorian interiors would prove impractical for modern living, their wealth of ornate prints and rich colour palettes offer plenty of inspiration for a scheme with period drama. The Victorians loved ornamentation in all its forms; whether exterior or interior, every surface of the home was used as a vehicle for decoration, from brickwork and architectural mouldings to stained glass and encaustic tiles, with wallpaper finding particular favour. Often referred to as The Golden Age of wallpaper, the 19th century witnessed developments in manufacturing that made wallpaper readily available to the masses. Rather then hand-block printed onto individual sheets, rotary presses allowed designs to be printed onto continuous rolls of paper. Small repeat prints were preferred as backdrops to artworks, and widespread gas lighting meant that darker colours could be embraced. Synonymous with Victorian wallpaper design, Arts and Crafts pioneer William Morris took inspiration from nature to create numerous stylised flower and leaf motifs, many of which are still available today, alongside new prints and refreshed archive designs that pay homage to Victorian design.
24 Period Living
Feature Pippa Blenkinsop Image Acanthus wallpaper in Slate Blue/Thyme, ÂŁ84 per roll, Morris & Co
Give a living room a sense of period drama by teaming rich, dark colours with an ornate wallpaper. A refreshed archive leather design from Little Greene’s London V wallpaper collection, this New Bond Street paper in Hide, £91 per roll, is tempered beautifully with True Taupe (on fireplace) and Chocolate Colour (on walls), £45 for 2.5ltrs of Absolute matt emulsion
Opposite: While not typical of the functional, modestly decorated kitchens of the 19th century, this statement design incorporates plenty of Victorian references. Bringing a decorative dose of kitsch, the House of Hackney Mamounia paper, £185 per roll, takes inspiration from an original by 19th-century French block-printed wallpaper company Zuber, while the Empress Beatrice wall tiles in Tourmaline, £16.99 each from Fired Earth, are replicas of original Victorian designs. The Classic English kitchen cabinetry is by Devol, from £25,000 Above: Create a look reminiscent of a Victorian collector’s quirky drawing room by teaming elaborate window treatments in ornate fabrics with vintage furniture and fringed accessories. For affordable prints with a heritage feel, try Blendworth’s Courtyard fabrics, from £35 per m, then complete the look with framed natural history drawings, old books and ornamental feathers Period Living 27
Opposite: With its wealth of nature-inspired, archival designs and regular collaborations with individual artists, wallpaper and fabric studio Lewis & Wood brings the Arts and Crafts values of the later Victorian era into the modern day. A celebration of craftsmanship, this Coromandel design is inspired by an 18th-century Indian Palampore quilt in the V&A archives. Pictured in Malachite it costs £68 per m Above: If you’re a fan of Victorian patterns, but don’t want to commit to wall-to-wall print, why not introduce it through bedlinen, which can be easily switched for a change of mood? One of William Morris’s most celebrated designs, Strawberry Thief is now available across a selection of bedlinen in a beautiful new brown/pale blue colourway. From £105 for a double duvet cover; Oxford pillowcases, £22; quilted throw, £275, all the Morris & Co collection at Bedeck Home Period Living 29
Cer amiC art
Using his pottery as a canvas, Ralph Jandrell paints bucolic scenes, inspired by nostalgic images of the English countryside Words Rachel Crow | Photographs Jeremy Phillips
Made in Britain
This image: Ralph outside his combined studio and gallery space, which is housed in a converted farm building in the village of Chirbury, nestled in the Vale of Montgomery, next to the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Opposite: A detail of his Buddleia design, which pays homage to the local flora and fauna and that he creates using a combination of painting with coloured slips, handmade stencils, sponging and sgraffito
Period Living 31
alph Jandrell works in almost monastic silence in his studio; not for him any music playing or the radio chattering in the background. Preferring to ‘be in the zone’, he is completely absorbed as he builds up the painterly pictures on lamp bases, plates, bowls, ng a converted farm building in the quiet Shropshire village of Chirbury, there are few distractions around his pottery to draw him away from his focussed creativity, other than the occasional visitor dropping by to admire his work in the gallery space. Only then will he down tools and tear himself away from the scenes he’s painting in coloured slips, inspired by the natural bounty of the surrounding countryside. Often, walkers drawn to this beautiful landscape will stumble across his workshop, and leave with a ceramic piece nestled in their backpacks, sandwiched between the thermos and OS Map. The names of his ranges more than hint at their inspiration: Buddleia, Wildwood, Bramble, Foliage, Oakleaf … ‘Mostly hedgerows and trees; the lesser vaunted local flora,’ Ralph explains, and all are produced in the subtle and muted palette of the English countryside. More recently, a few characters of local fauna have been creeping onto his designs, too a hare peeking around the edge of a vase, a blackbird swooping on a plate, or a fish caught in the fast flowing river currents on a bowl. For Ralph, there is no gradual development and working up of his designs in sketchbooks first. ‘I do 32 Period Living
walk in the countryside, but I’m not thinking directly of designs, although what I see naturally feeds in. Mine is more a nostalgic idea of the country,’ he says. ‘Whereas a painter might take a photo of a view, I work from an impression or an idea of a woodland view, for instance, and then people project their own memories onto it. The designs mean different things to different people.’ Working directly on the pot, his development of the technique guides the designs. ‘Because it is such a unique medium to work in a three dimensional shape that you can work in to as well as on to you can only really develop a pattern on a piece.’ With the natural motifs gradually built up using a mixture of freehand brushwork, sponging and handmade stencils traditional English slipware techniques brought up to date with his contemporary designs Ralph’s work resonates with an Arts and Crafts ethos. He cites the movement, and William Morris in particular, as his principal influence, ‘both in the organic designs but also the way I work; the handmade artisan approach, but with an element of scaling it up using stencils is a way of speeding up the painting, and while I throw most pieces at the wheel, I do slip cast some lamp bases so I can work on a pair at once,’ he explains. ‘I look to William Morris because he went through the same agony over pricing and wanting to make work accessible to people, but having to charge a certain price for handmade goods. Trying to fathom how to square that circle is an interesting dilemma to have to work with.’ And like Morris, Ralph is driven by an almost tangible passion for his work, living and breathing his craft and spending every available moment designing, throwing, painting, firing and glazing. ➤
Made in Britain
Clockwise from top left: Ralph has separate wheels for throwing the white and red clays. â€˜For the lamp bases I use a semi-porcelain clay, which has the whiteness, but fires at a lower temperature, so has a good colour responseâ€™; he mixes his own coloured slips in a subtle palette; having applied initial
washes of colour, akin to watercolour, Ralph sponges on elements of the design using his handmade stencils; gradually building up the layers he creates depth to the image; a piece awaits firing in the kiln, after which it will be dipped in a clear glaze before a second firing; the artist potterâ€™s tools
Right: The gallery space sits beside the pottery studio, where visitors can see the extent of Ralphs’s handpainted ranges, including (clockwise from left) River, Oakleaf, Foliage and Wildwood. Alongside working in the studio, he also runs pottery and yoga creative breaks with his wife – for more details visit potteryandyogaweekends.co.uk Below: A trio of finished lamp bases featuring his Buddleia design. Prices for these range from £98 for the classic shape, and £105 for the candlestick
‘Since developing my technique, I have almost resisted looking at other people’s work. I feel that what I am doing is coming from the inside out, rather than the other way,’ he explains. Shropshire born and bred, with a family tie to the area dating back to the 1600s, Ralph hails from a line of makers and craftspeople – a carpenter, wheelwright and engineer among the most recent. But it wasn’t until he was studying for a Fine Art degree at Leeds Polytechnic that he first got to play with clay as part of the sculpture module. ‘I was completely besotted with it, so I did an A level in pottery after completing my degree – making stuff at the wheel, not even firing it, but mashing it up and starting again.’ Having swept through the 34 Period Living
A level in six months, he rang around potteries looking for work, and was taken on at the Gwili Pottery in Carmarthen, where he remained for five years, honing his skills, before setting up on his own. Fortunate to be offered a studio space at the Coalport China Museum at Ironbridge, he spent 16 years there, the association with the museum and its footfall helping to generate almost immediate success for his pottery. ‘I was very lucky to have access to people already interested in quality ceramics, but it did have its restrictions, so the wish grew in me to have my own space.’ Ralph moved to his current studio and gallery nearly four years ago. ‘It works really well, and the joy of having the gallery shop is that I can put on the shelf something that is part of the process of developing a design, and someone will buy it. I’m not too prescriptive with what I make. I enjoy seeing what people want, as often the thing I am chasing isn’t necessarily what the customers like.’ Using a semi porcelain white clay for pieces such as lamp bases, and a red clay for large plates and mugs, he uses a painterly surface pattern technique, building up the design over initial washes of his hand mixed coloured clay slips, as well as sponging off the colour back to the clay and using the process of sgraffito to scratch in details of the design and add texture and depth, ‘just as you would find in nature,’ he adds. ‘Having spent years making complicated shapes, I realised that it wasn’t helping the design and it is this which really sells the pot. The shapes of the pieces I make now tend to be fairly simple.’ Once fired and glazed, the designs, with their three dimensional quality, almost come alive when caught in the light. Ralph sums it up perfectly when explaining of his Buddleia design: ‘Arching branches and candy floss flowers attract a breeze of dancing butterflies, recalling hazy summer days and time to daydream.’ To see more of his work, visit ralphjandrell.co.uk. Ralph will be exhibiting at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival, running from 9 to 12 May.
Could you be one of our 2019 winners? If you think your home or garden deserves a prize, enter Period Living’s Home and Garden of the Year awards and you could be in the running for a prize worth £1,000
ave you recently completed a renovation, an extension project, or given your home décor a stylish update? Have you redesigned and replanted your garden? Or do you simply feel that all your work on your home or garden has finally come together and is ready to be admired? If so, Period Living would love to hear from you. We’re inviting readers to enter their completed home improvement, garden, or interior decoration projects into our awards, and we can’t wait to see the schemes you’ve come up with for all kinds of period properties, large and small, and to hear their unique stories. As we launch the 2019 Home and Garden of the Year awards, we look forward to finding out all about your homes, kitchens and gardens, and to hearing about your inspirations and the work you’ve put in. For how to enter, see right.
The prizes Our prizewinning entries will be announced in Period Living’s November 2019 issue. One overall winner will scoop a fabulous £1,000 in John Lewis vouchers. Our first-prizewinner also receives a year’s Period Living magazine subscription for themselves and a friend, worth over £100. The garden of the year will win £500 worth of John Lewis vouchers, and a year’s subscription to Period Living, worth £50, and three further runners-up will each win a year’s subscription to Period Living, worth £50.
We want to see: O Elegant townhouses and semis O Cosy cottages and terraces O Fabulous farmhouses
How to enter
O Characterful conversions – barns,
Enter online at realhomes.com/features/periodliving-awards and follow the instructions on the website. You will need to have the following information ready to complete your application: Tell us in up to 500 words why you think your home should win, giving us details of how it looked before you renovated, what you’ve achieved and
schools, chapels, pubs, windmills O Intriguing listed buildings O Extended homes O First-time and DIY projects O Showstopping kitchens O And gorgeous gardens 36 Period Living
Enter the Awards
how you’ve gone about it. Please also tell us what period or original features you’ve successfully managed to restore or reinstate. Make sure you include photos of all the main rooms in the house (or main areas of the garden for a garden entry) – quick snaps will do – and a photo of the exterior of the property. To enter by post write to Period Living, Future Plc, Units 1 & 2, Sugarbrook Court, Aston Road, Bromsgrove B60 3EX and we’ll send you a paper entry form. Full terms and conditions can be found at futureplc.com/competition-rules. The closing date for all entries is 5pm on Monday 10 June 2019.
Last year’s winners In 2018 we received some stunning entries of homes full of inspiring ideas. The standard was exceptional and showed just how much care and creativity our readers put into their projects. Mike and Julie La Rooy’s remarkable renovation of an East Sussex manor house scooped the top prize last year with their superb attention to detail and careful restoration of original features. Jude and Mat Jansen were the winners in the garden category and wowed us with their transformation of a neglected overgrown site with beautiful cottage planting, to make the most of its idyllic setting. ➤
Above: The stunning kitchen in the La Rooys’ East Sussex home, which won the Best Listed Home category and was the overall prizewinner in our 2018 awards Right: Mike and Julie La Rooy with golden retriever Donna outside their Grade II-listed, 14th-century manor house
This is the category to enter if you’ve successfully negotiated your way through an extension or building project on a period home – we can’t wait to see what you’ve done and find out how the new space works alongside the original property.
SPONSORED BY FOLDING DOORS 2 U If you’ve completed a kitchen update – whether that’s extending or just rearranging the layout, we’d like to see the results of your hard work. Folding Doors 2 U is a leading supplier of aluminium rooflights, bi-fold doors, sliding doors and windows. The company offers an affordable range of high-quality glazing products to enhance any home extension, new build property or renovation. For details, visit foldingdoors2u.co.uk.
3Best Interior Style
SPONSORED BY THE ALBION BATH CO If you love the way the colours, patterns, furniture and furnishings have all come together in your updated home then this is the category to enter. The Albion Bath Co started with a simple goal to make the best baths around. Using its unique
Jude and Mat Jansen’s pretty cottage planting won our garden award in 2018
38 Period Living
Iso-Enamel, Albion was able to make a bath strong and solid yet not as heavy and cold as cast iron. For more details, visit albionbathco.com.
Best Listed Home
SPONSORED BY WHYTE & WOOD Renovating or updating a listed property brings joys and challenges. We look forward to hearing all about yours. Whyte & Wood produces bespoke timber sash windows, beautifully crafted to enhance the character of your period property. The lowmaintenance timber sash windows have a 50-year guarantee. For details, visit whyteandwood.com.
5Garden of the Year
SPONSORED BY SMART – GARDEN ROOMS, OFFICES & STUDIOS If your garden is your pride and joy, we’d like to see photos of your planting schemes – whether they are cottage style, country garden or billowing borders and mellow meadows. Smart is one of the UK’s leading garden room suppliers, offering beautifully crafted spaces designed to inspire and delight. With six stunning ranges available in a variety of sizes, there is a Smart solution to suit every taste, garden size and budget. For more details, visit smartgardenoffices.co.uk.
the age of elegance Captivated by this gracious Georgian home by the sea, Sheila Soulsby was determined to become its new owner – even though it needed loads of work and had just been sold to someone else Words Karen Darlow | Styling Pippa Blenkinsop | Photographs Brent Darby
The original glass-fronted cupboards lend a classical symmetry that contrasts well with Sheila’s ‘bargain’ kitchen table, an old door on a Napoleonic table base. She mixed her own colour for the walls – the perfect backdrop for a seascape by Annabel Playfair. Sheila’s tureen collection came about ‘by accident’, on many trips to France over the years. The Saltfire stove is a recent addition to the original Italian marble fireplace. For marble floor tiles, try Mandarin Stone
THE STORY Owner Sheila Soulsby lives here with her Bengal kitten, Ety. Sheila previously owned a vintage business Property A Grade II-listed five-bedroom, double-fronted Georgian townhouse in Herne Bay, Kent, built in 1833 What she did Sheila renovated the whole house from top to bottom, removing partition walls to open up the kitchen. She installed central heating, updated the bathrooms, decorated throughout and made all the soft furnishings
ooking for a period property to buy, with all her belongings packed up ready to go, Sheila Soulsby found her dream home, only to discover that someone had beaten her to it. n townhouse had a sold sign saying to myself, they’ve got alls, so sure was she of its the circumstances, she did the only thing she could do: went to see the agents and asked them to call her if the sale fell through. A few weeks later the sale encountered a few hurdles and Sheila arranged a viewing. ‘Before my foot was through the front door I just knew, whatever problems it had, I would take it on,’ says Sheila. ‘And there were lots of problems. It was totally unloved and very dated. Everywhere was 1970s style – scroll wallpapers, brown kitchen units, and so gloomy. But I just knew the house could be amazing if I put it back together again.’ Montague House is one of a trio of elegant summer seaside residences built by a wealthy local landowner. Its chequered history included many years as a girls boarding school, before it reverted to private ownership and gradually slipped into disrepair. It must have been a fine sight in its heyday with carriages sweeping through the gates from the bay, and it was with that image of Georgian glamour 42 Period Living
in mind that Sheila began its restoration. Part of putting things back together actually involved taking things apart - at least in the kitchen, the first room she tackled. ‘I removed a partition wall, absorbing an unused lobby to add width and light, and to give a more welcolming space,’ she says. The major building work took a year as Sheila set up camp in one of the top bedrooms in the freezing cold. ‘I worked morning, noon and night, seven days a week for months and months. My friends thought I’d vanished,’ she says. From there it became a family affair as Sheila enlisted her father’s help in fitting new kitchen units and worktops, her son’s help with the central heating and bathrooms, and swapped pieces of furniture with her mother and daughter. ‘We all do houses up and between us we specialise in different crafts and help each other out,’ explains Sheila. Once the basics were in place Sheila set to work putting the rest of the house to rights, working from top to bottom, appropriately starting with the staircase. She uncovered its graceful curves from hundreds of layers of paint, sanding and staining each step and painting each spindle over the course of just a few evenings. She was lucky that the home’s most distinctive Georgian trademarks, the huge sash windows, were all in good condition and allow the coastal light to fill the kitchen. The fresh white walls, cabinets and flooring all add to the bright new look. It took sheets and sheets of sandpaper to remove the dark treacle-like finish on the original glazed cabinets either side of the fireplace, before reviving them with a calm grey shade Sheila mixed herself, along with the striking mustard for the walls. She had a clear vision for the upstairs décor right from the start: ‘The back of the house lent itself to lighter rooms while the front needed more drama,’ and says inspiration often comes from the many vintage fabrics in her work room - her ‘happy place’. That happy place may soon have a different look as Sheila, having decorated twice over, is searching for another period home to transform. ‘There were times during this renovation when I felt I’d bitten off more than I could chew, but I kept going – and the satisfaction at the end was immense.’
Georgian Townhouse This image: Sheila’s father fitted simple white Ikea units, which fade into the background allowing the star pieces to shine. The French chandeliers came from Ardingley Antiques Fair, along with the green china plates. The Aga proved tricky to install, as getting the flue through the solid outside walls was a challenge the Georgians hadn’t planned for! Oka sells similar dining chairs Opposite: Sheila fell for the home’s period charms before even stepping inside; the double doors and fan window sealed the deal. Bengal cats feel the cold and mischievous Ety can’t resist the Aga warming plate
Georgian Townhouse Eastern influences abound in the elegant living room. A red lacquered cabinet, bought on Ebay, adds vibrancy to the scheme, along with the china blue accent wall, again a paint shade that Sheila mixed by trial and error. The sofa is another Ebay find, the armchair came from a French brocante and is covered in vintage brocade found at Shepton Mallet Antiques Fair, and the chandelier is another French antique
This image: Sheila sanded the staircase, stripping it of years of chipped white paint, and then used a dark oak stain. She also sanded and painted the stair spindles over the course of a few evenings. The enormous antique mirror came from Shepton Fleamarket. Sheila says she couldnâ€™t watch as four men secured it in place Opposite: Double doors to the formal dining room. The ebonised chairs were a lucky Ebay find
Period Living 47
Vintage chintz curtains provided the inspiration for the feminine bedroom scheme. Sheila painted the corona and found the pink eiderdown at a vintage textiles fair, the embroidered sheet came from an antiques fair in Crewkerne and Sheila hurriedly washed and dried it the same day before guests arrived to stay in the room. The pink frilled cover is by Rachel Ashwell
Above: Sheila has an eye for unusual colour combinations that create striking results. In this guest bedroom, the rich tones of the ornately carved heaboard are a good foil for the smoky blue walls (try Designers Guild’s Borage Flower Blue) and painted chest of drawers – Annie Sloan’s Amsterdam Green would give a similar finish
Below: Sheila had an anxious wait for this painted wardrobe – it was the last lot in the auction, and she thought it would go beyond her limit. In the end she paid just £220. She opened up the fireplace after decorating the room and had to redecorate before guests arrived Below right: The chinoiserie cabinet came from an antiques market
Above: Sheila’s work room – her ‘happy place’ – where she finds inspiration in the vintage fabrics she has collected over the years. Her latest project is making Ikat lampshades, which she plans to sell Right: Sheila’s son James Warner fitted all the bathrooms and wetrooms, and daughter Hannah’s company Anima & Amare helped to source some of the furniture and put colour schemes together Top right: The cherrywood doors make an unusual wall display in the back bedroom. Sheila bought the toile de Jouy fabric in France, along with the striped ticking, used in the 17th century to cover furniture in country homes when the families were in town. On the bed is a quilt made in a vintage Laura Ashley print
52 Period Living
At home by the seA
Balance and symmetry are key to the simple elegance of the living room, which includes items of Asian furniture from Louise Jones Interiors, and Lawson Wood Alexander sofas covered in Penny Col 25 by Renegade Fabrics. The Chinese red crackle lacquer coffee table from Guinevere Antiques is a particular favourite of Kathleenâ€™s, along with the Art Nouveau ceiling light by Exeter Antique Lighting. The panelling is painted in Papers & Paintsâ€™ Sung Grey
Arts and Crafts Home
After years of renting holiday properties across the UK, Kathleen and Scott Simpson have finally found the perfect place to make an escape from the city Words Heather Dixon Photographs Jody Stewart
Left: The Simpsonsâ€™ Arts and Crafts home stands in extensive gardens. The roof tiles have been relaid, handmade wooden windows installed and paths reinstated Below left: The panelled walls were specially made for the living room and hall to bring the house back to its original character. The seat cover is made with Nomad stonewashed linen from Westbury Textiles Bottom: This spiral-legged hall console table came from an antiques shop years ago. The walls are papered in Stark Carpetâ€™s Organic Burlap in Grain
tHe story Owners Scott and Kathleen Simpson (right), both lawyers, who have three grown-up children. They have two dogs, George, a Clumberpoo, and a cockapoo called Teddy Property A four-bedroom 1930s detached house, set in 0.7 acres of garden, near Portsmouth What they did Underpinned a portion of the property before renovating throughout, taking the house back to a shell while retaining its original room layout and Arts and Crafts appeal. This included roof repairs, new windows and doors, new floors, renovating fireplaces and decorating throughout
56 Period Living
Arts and Crafts Home
tial buyers have given a second deterred by e substantial cost of updating it. Kathleen and Scott, however, saw beyond the obvious cosmetic and not-soobvious structural challenges of the dated 1930s property. Instead they saw a sturdy and beguiling family home promising a casual, rural lifestyle the antithesis of their London townhouse. ‘We had been renting second home properties throughout England for many years but we were always aware of the lack of permanence,’ says Kathleen. ‘We came to the conclusion that if we bought somewhere we could make it our own.’ This house appealed on many levels – but particularly because it was so close to the sea. Scott is a keen surfer, and the family spend as much time as possible on or near the water. They enjoy beach walks with their dogs, and the house is ideal for weekends and holidays away from the city. The coastal location was undoubtedly one of the property’s greatest assets, but Kathleen and Scott were also drawn by its character and cosiness. ‘We did not want a modern, soulless home. We liked the Arts and Crafts elements; the combination of natural light and materials. It’s a very relaxed and comfortable environment,’ says Kathleen. Kathleen and Scott moved in and lived with the imperfections for six months while they decided what they needed to do and what to tackle first. The most pressing problem was the rising damp and evidence of subsidence, but Kathleen was keen to replace the dated kitchen as soon as possible, and the plumbing and electrics also needed upgrading. The six-month delay gave them time to establish exactly what they wanted from the house. They were keen to avoid any planning issues, so kept the room layout as it was with just a few minor ‘tweaks’. Their focus was on restoring it to a good structural condition and modernising the interior without losing any of its character and comfort. To begin with they employed a local builder to renovate a detached annexe so they could live there while the main house was being done up. Facilities were basic and they relied on a barbecue
for hot meals, but it gave them a comfortable base from which they could oversee the main project. ‘We gave ourselves a target of Scott’s 60th birthday in the following August,’ says Kathleen. ‘We achieved it – but only just.’ The restoration took more than 10 months, during which time the house was underpinned with two-metre high underground concrete pylons and blocks, cleared of soil that was banked against the exterior walls causing rising damp, completely rewired and replumbed. The roof was retiled after the Simpsons discovered the original nails had corroded, exterior walls were pointed and internal walls plastered. The old floor covers were taken up and replaced with engineered wood on the ground floor and solid oak upstairs. All the PVCu windows were replaced with handmade bespoke wooden ones, as were the internal doors. This was followed by a new kitchen and bathrooms, before Kathleen turned to London-based interior designer Louise Jones for help with the décor and furnishings. ‘Louise had helped us with our home in London and we trusted her completely to do the same here,’ says Kathleen. ‘We had some key pieces of furniture that we wanted to keep – pieces handed down through the family or favourite items we have had for years – but we also asked Louise to find things that suited the house and our lifestyle.’ Kathleen wanted the overall look to be relaxed and comfortable, a place where family, friends and work colleagues could enjoy time out. As a result, oak panelling, richly patterned wallpapers, plush fabrics and beautiful antiques sit side-by-side with modern sofas and timeless accessories. One of Kathleen’s favourite features is the collection of 1930s light fittings and hardware which is sympathetic to the house. ‘The success is in the detail,’ says Kathleen. ‘Louise is excellent at sourcing the slightly unusual and bespoke. It’s the kind of house that lends itself to a more eclectic interiors style.’ While the Simpsons have invested in some beautiful antique furnishings and artwork, Kathleen still enjoys a bargain. The ceramic plates displayed in the living room cost her just a few pounds a time from fairs and antiques shops, and she has also updated family pieces, such as armchairs, which she has had re-covered, and a rosewood bed that her parents bought by accident in an auction and now fits perfectly in one of the guest bedrooms. They have also made good use of any extra furniture in the boathouse guest annexe – the only place with a television, and a favourite chill-out area for younger members of the family. ‘We spend as much time as we can here,’ says Kathleen. ‘We love our home in London but this is the place we escape to for weekends and holidays. What we truly love about this place is the sense of permanence after so many years of renting. There may come a point when we buy a smaller place in London and make this our main home, but for now we are just enjoying the best of both worlds.’ Period Living 57
Above: A new look for the kitchen with Sylvarna Kitchen Design cabinets and Verde Italia granite from Gerald Culliford, who also supplied the travertine flooring. The lights over the island are from Hector Finch and the pendants over the sink are from Holloways of Ludlow. Verde tiles from Solar Antique Tiles are used for the Aga splashback Right: The table and chairs were specially made to fit this cosy kitchen alcove. The cupboards were handmade by Sylvarna Kitchen Design and the light fitting is a 1930s antique. Walls are painted in Farrow & Ball Lichen. For a similar gas stove, try Gazcoâ€™s Stockton 5 58 Period Living
Arts and Crafts Home
Bespoke panelling in the living room provides the perfect place for Kathleen to display some of her favourite china plates, many picked up from fleamarkets nearby
60 Period Living
Arts and Crafts Home Left: Perfectly positioned to make the most of the good light in the garden room, an old family bureau complements the Patola French Blue curtains from Romo Fabrics and the Adam’s Eden Scandi wallpaper from Lewis & Wood. The woodwork is in Papers & Paints’ Sung Grey Below: A purpose-built brick fire surround was added to the dining room. Engineered oak floors create flow and continuity through the ground floor. The Marlowe table from Antiques by Design and Montpelier chairs from The Dining Chair Company – covered in Robert Kime’s Mughal Flower fabric – sit beneath a chandelier from Stuart Interiors Opposite: Even the smallest rooms have been given a stylish makeover, with William Morris Golden Lily wallpaper from Sanderson, SC239 boarding paint from Papers & Paints and Original Style floor tiles. The blind is made by Louise Jones Interiors with Lichen Olive Sacking by Guy Goodfellow
Above: The rosewood bed in the guest room has finally come into its own – it was bought accidentally by Kathleen’s parents at auction. ‘They were buying another piece of furniture, not realising that the bed came with it,’ she says. An old armchair has been re-covered in Zoffany fabric, and Lloyd Loom Barton bedside cabinets complete the look. The wallpaper is William Morris Jasmine from Sanderson Left: A painted slipper bath with over shower and Balineum curtain makes the best use of a compact space. It took seven men to hoist the cast-iron bath upstairs. Behind the bath are Acapulco Salazar tiles from Fired Earth, with Basco floor tiles from Bert & May Below: A soft blue and white scheme fosters a sense of calm in main bedroom. Set against a false wall that screens a dressing room and en suite, the four-poster bed by Beaudesert is upholstered in Ian Mankin’s Chelsea Duck Egg. The drape behind the bedhead is a hand-embroidered fabric from Chelsea Textiles. The unusual ceiling pendant and bedside lamps are from Tyson and the bedside tables are French antiques from furniture restorers TS Baskett
William De Morgan Bedford Park Daisy tile, from £34.74, Victorian Ceramics
Yoeman’s large side chair with pippy oak splat, £520, Batheaston
Arts & Crafts Willow rug, £395, Grosvener Wilton
Foster pendant lamp, £127, Jim Lawrence
Arbutus Multi wallpaper, from £50 per m, Claire Worthington at The Fabric Collective
arts & cr afts revival
Montacute wool throw in Aqua and Natural, £85, National Trust Collection by Moon
Handcrafted Luce candle holders, from £20, Oggetto
Celebrate traditional craftsmanship and the beauty of nature by combining handmade buys from British brands and artisans with ornate William Morris prints
Tubby Torre Duo bath in burnished bronze, from £2,837, Albion Bath Company
William Morris Pimpernell cushion, £34.99, We Love Cushions
Stubby large English beeswax candles, £18, The Future Kept
Feature Pippa Blenkinsop
Browning sofa in Morris & Co Snakehead Indigo/ Hemp fabric, from £2,329, Sofa Workshop
Handturned spalted beach bowls, from £28 for a small, &Hobbs
Camellia teatowel collection, £15, Susie Hetherington
Handmade ceramic espresso cups, £55 for 4, Lovestruck Interiors
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66 Period Living
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Both Daphne and Roger love to cook and wanted a kitchen thatâ€™s as functional as it is beautiful. They chose the School pendant lights in copper from Davey Lighting at Original BTC. For similar bar stools, try the Elise design from Danetti
a moment of time When Daphne and Roger Sperring restored this 19th-century rectory, they not only reclaimed a piece of history, they created the perfect setting for their life together today
Words AndrĂŠa Childs Photographs Colin Poole
the stoRy Owners Roger and Daphne Sperring live here. They are both retired Property A three-bedroom Grade II-listed former rectory in a small Devon village. There is also a coach house and stables in the propertyâ€™s grounds What they did The couple replaced the roof, rewired, installed new flooring and redecorated throughout. They also redirected some pipes from the cellar, which had been causing flooding
70 Period Living
was our last chance to live somewhere so beautiful and grand,’ explains Daphne. ‘We knew it would need a fair bit of work but we saw its Gothic features and stained-glass windows and just fell in love with it. It may not have seemed the right time of life to take on such a project, but we felt it was an opportunity we just couldn’t pass up.’ Five years on, they have no regrets. Not only have they created a beautiful home for themselves and their extended family to enjoy (their children and grandchildren are regular visitors), they’ve restored the house in a way that respects its heritage, while also making it fit for generations to come. ‘Our goal was to return the house to the way it would have looked, with wooden and marble floors, and rugs rather than wall-to-wall carpets, but not to make it too fuddy-duddy,’ says Daphne. ‘The kitchen is probably the most modern room, but we’ve made some decisions that don’t follow contemporary trends – for instance, deciding not to fit en-suite bathrooms in all the bedrooms. We just felt it wasn’t necessary and would change the character of the property too much. Instead, we replaced two bedrooms with new bathrooms that are shared by everyone.’
Top left: The Devon vicarage dates back to 1834 and has been updated inside with nods to its ecclesiastical origins Left: The wall cupboard is an original feature – Daphne had plate racks and drawers fitted into the frame. The cabinets and island were made by Joseff Samuels, and topped with Caesarstone work surfaces. The grandfather clock is from the couple’s extensive collection of timepieces. ‘Roger was collecting clocks when I met him,’ Daphne says. ‘They just became bigger as the years went on!’ Top right: Roger and Daphne love the fact that the old vicarage is full of decorative period details such as this doorway with its stained glass and elegant Gothic arch
The house was built in 1834 as a rectory for the church next door, but was sold by the parish in the 1960s. By the time Daphne and Roger moved in, the roof needed to be replaced and the cellar, which was linked by old pipework to a well in the grounds, was flooded and damp. They engaged property development experts Mike Martin Associates to complete a top-to-toe renovation, liaising with National Heritage and local planners to ensure the building’s historic integrity was kept intact. The couple moved into the adjacent coach house for six months while the work was carried out. ‘It was all about bringing back the character of the house. We reused as many of the original roof slates as we could. We restored period details, taking out the modern narrow radiators and skinny skirting boards, and replacing them with chunky cast-iron radiators and deep woodwork in keeping with the original architecture,’ says Daphne. The standout feature is the staircase, which is rumoured to have been designed by the architect of nearby Hazelwood House, a former country manor turned hotel. ‘When we first saw it, the staircase was a dark treacle colour,’ Daphne recalls. ‘Mike employed a retired carpenter who sanded away years of grime, revealing the beautiful oak beneath.’ When it came to decorating, Daphne and Roger again called on expert help, commissioning Gavin Woodford and Sarah Watson of Woodford Architecture and Interior Design to help with colour schemes and furnishings. ‘I felt it was too big a job to tackle ourselves, and Sarah and Gavin were recommended by our estate agents, who told us: “We’ve seen hundreds of properties in this area and those Woodford have designed are by far the best.” It seemed like a good tip!’ says Daphne. Gavin and Sarah helped to resolve an issue with the couple’s bedroom and its integral bathroom. ‘On first viewing, I loved everything about the house – except for the combined bedroom and bathroom,’ says Daphne. The room has a stunning vaulted ceiling, so splitting it in two was out of the question. Instead, Gavin and Sarah designed a half wall dividing the bathroom area from the bedroom. It is now cleverly concealed behind Gothic-style cabinetry that reflects the style of the house and was made by a local carpenter. Sarah Watson also designed the decorating and furnishing scheme, creating a calm backdrop for the couple’s eclectic collection of antique furniture, vintage clocks and contemporary artworks. ‘I’m a huge fan of history but I don’t want our home to look stuck in the past,’ says Daphne. Not turning back time but living in the moment. Period Living 71
Victorian Rectory Although the living room is the most ‘serious’ room in the house, contemporary soft furnishings stop the effect being too formal. Most of the furniture is antique, including the armchairs. Wooden flooring and a rug brought back from India give an authentic 19th-century look; for similar, try Rugs of London. Designers Guild’s Artichoke paint is similar to that used for the walls. The Cobweave throw is from Tweedmill
The mirror above the original fireplace was bought from the house’s previous owner; for similar try the Sandon large gold ornate overmantle mirror from The Chandelier & Mirror Company. The wooden table and chairs were made for Roger and Daphne by a carpenter friend – Laura Ashley’s Balmoral extending dining table is similar. The blinds are made from Beatrice fabric by Nina Campbell
Left: Daphne uses the chinoiserie chest in the hallway as a filing cabinet; find similar pieces at Shimu. The couple weren’t allowed to fit double-glazed windows or doors so thick curtains in Nina Campbell’s Paracas fabric do a good job of insulating the entrance. The walls are painted in Oxford Stone by Farrow & Ball Below right: This stunning staircase is original to the property. It was sanded back to reveal its warm oak tones and finished with a matt varnish. The Moritz Multi flat-weave stair runner is from Roger Oates Below left: An antique high-backed sofa is the perfect piece for the living room and has been reupholstered to suit the décor
Above: A vaulted ceiling and large bay window bring a sense of space and elegance to the couple’s bedroom. The upholstered bed is from Peter Betteridge in Kingsbridge, Devon. For similar lamps, try the Pineapple glass base from Laura Ashley; for a similar throw, try The British Blanket Company’s mustard knitted alpaca design Right and below right: Custom-made panelling creates a vanity area and conceals the WC. It was designed by Sarah Watson of Woodford Architecture and Interior Design, and built by cabinetmaker Joseff Samuel. The fixtures include the Victoria console basin, Granley taps and Clothes Horse radiator, all from Heritage Bathrooms Below: ‘We brought the guest room bed back from Malaysia. Brass can look heavy but it works here as the room is so light,’ says Daphne. For a similar brass bed frame, try The Original Bed Co
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Swedish Country Home
Perfectly Patterned Sarah and Mattias have transformed their home with pattern and colour, furnishing it with characterful vintage furniture and accessories that create a cosy, comfortable atmosphere Words Johanna Lindqvist | Photographs Malin GrĂśnborg/KnĂ¤ck Media/Coco Features
Layering florals and geometrics, Sarah combines The India Paper from Cole & Son with cushions from Afro Art and Ellos. The black Mademoiselle chair is a 1950s classic, which Sarah loves. For a similar sofa, try Loaf; for a pouffe, try Bohemia
rah and Mattias’ rural home looked ery different on first viewing to the olourful floral rhapsody that greets itors today. The couple have worked magic in every room, painting floors, anelling and furniture, and adding the uches with a series of pretty chintzy that provide a busy backdrop to a mix nd fleamarket furniture finds. m of buying their own home brought Sarah and Mattias to the village of Nordmaling, near Umeå in northern Sweden, where they found Villa Loftet, a weatherboarded house in the heart of the countryside. The little home had lots to recommend it – not least the quiet setting, vast garden and practical interior layout – but the décor wasn’t to the couple’s taste and the house felt cold and unloved. However, Sarah had fallen in love with it. ‘It sounds strange, but it was the upstairs landing that made me want to buy the house. It has an old charm and it is so light and beautiful up there,’ says Sarah. To make the most of the soft light, Sarah painted the stairs and the tongueand-groove panelling on the landing pale green. At one time there was a balcony outside the landing window, but the wood had rotted and it had to be pulled down, along with the front porch below it, which had also become unsafe. Sarah and Mattias soon decided to rebuild the porch, however, feeling it was essential to the character of their new home. ‘It was as if something was missing from the house. The new porch is the entrance hall, but also an extra room where I can sit and relax,’ says Sarah. The pair struck lucky with some reclaimed 1920s hand-blown glass windows and doors, an online auction buy from a man in Gothenburg. They arranged to meet him in Stockholm and then drove back home with the doors, which became the starting point for the new porch design. The inside of the doors are still coated with the original apricot paint – a colourful reminder of their old life. The next area for attention was the kitchen, which had been renovated some years before by the previous owners. The floor had been covered with terracotta-coloured tiles, which Sarah and Mattias decided to paint white to brighten the space. ‘The people at the paint shop said it would not work, but it did. First, we primed the floor and then added 80 Period Living
two coats of concrete paint.’ The newly lightened floor gave Sarah scope to be bolder with the kitchen wallcovering: trellis wallpaper, an unusual choice for a kitchen but one that works well. Wallpaper is one of Sarah’s great passions and she has added colour and pattern to almost every wall in the house since she and Mattias moved in in 2013. Some rooms have already been wallpapered several times. Next on the list is the main bedroom where the floor will be sanded, wardrobes built and the existing Josef Frank wallpaper will make way for a design from Boråstapeter’s latest collection. Old furniture, patterns and bric-a-brac are everywhere in Villa Loftet. Sarah is an expert at discovering secondhand and vintage gems at fleamarkets, and she regularly visits her favourite haunts to find them. ‘I have a thing about old cupboards and wardrobes, but they are difficult to find and so if you see one you like, you have to act very quickly,’ she says. Daughter Stella’s room contains a grey wardrobe built by Sarah’s great-uncle from old sugar crates. It is not the only family treasure in the house – an ornately decorated Mora clock inherited from Mattias’ grandfather is another cherished piece. In the living room, a creaking parquet floor was replaced with simple wooden floorboards, which were sanded and oiled. The TV is hidden away in a tall cabinet, a good solution for this cosy family space. ‘It is great that the TV is not always on show. Before, it was the focus of the room and the centre of attention. Now the living room is more like a den where we can enjoy spending time with each other and our friends. We have a cupboard for Stella’s toys, which is easy to move out when needed.’ With a new baby on the way, the couple also have plans to extend the house. They plan to build out over the patio outside the living room to create a bedroom and dining room, and Sarah’s dream is to source more old windows for the extension, too. No doubt she’ll also be browsing wallpaper books for inspiration to add to the patchwork of patterns elsewhere in this charming home.
THE STORY Owners Sarah Hedman and Mattias Holmlund live here with their three-yearold daughter, Stella, and a new baby on the way. Sarah works as a personal assistant and is a keen interiors instagrammer (@villaloftet), and Mattias is a machine operator Property The three-bedroom house was built in 1929 in Nordmaling, near Umeå in north-east Sweden What they did The couple have updated the décor throughout, painting the kitchen floor, replacing a damaged floor in the living room and rebuilding the front porch
Above: Sarah, Mattias and Stella in their pretty Nordmaling home Right: A rustic garden bench is the perfect perch for cheery geraniums Top left: The grey weatherboarded wall in the porch is the original outside wall of the house. The couple liked the apricot-coloured paint on the salvaged doors and decided to keep it
Above right: The house originally had a porch with a balcony above it, which had to be pulled down when it became water damaged. Sarah and Mattias built this new porch, installing reclaimed windows and double doors. They use the space as an extra hall, but also as a room where they can sit and enjoy the garden views
Swedish Country Home
Above: Sarah and Mattias painted over the terracotta tiles in the kitchen with concrete floor paint. Most of the furniture is from fleamarkets, including an old card table, which can be extended. The curtain under the kitchen counter creates a hideaway where Stella can play. The wallpaper is called Nästgårds and is from Gysinge Right: The couple inherited the simple white Ikea kitchen cabinets and painted the dining furniture to match. The range cooker keeps the whole house cosy. On the wall is Mattias’ grandfather’s old coffee grinder
Period Living 83
Above: The guest room is wallpapered with Duro’s Hudiksvall’s Teater design. The rag rug is another fleamarket find Right: Josef Frank’s Söndagsmorgon wallpaper makes a cheerful backdrop for the pretty things in Stella’s room. The bed canopy and the pouffe are from Ikea; the green cupboard came from the local recycling depot
Above: The bedroom is decorated with Josef Frank’s striking Eldblomma wallpaper. The bed and bedside table are from Ikea and the old flowerpot and lamp came from a vintage fair Right: The light-filled upstairs landing is what first attracted Sarah to the house. The round table is an antique and the daybed is a more recent find from Ellos
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Swedish Country Home
Jasmine Birds in French Blue, £60 per m, Claire Worthington
Feuille D’Or in Blush, £90 per roll, Osborne & Little
Emma in White, £85 per roll, Sandberg
Tessin from the Anno collection, £64 per roll, Boråstapeter
Sea Kelp in Aqua/ Lichen, £59 per roll, Sanderson
Honesty in Charcoal/ Gold, £39 per roll, Clarke & Clarke
Dandaloo in Deepest Indigo, £90 per m, Rapture & Wright
Tropics Foliage, from £72 per roll, MissPrint
Scion Berry Tree 204, £39 per roll, John Lewis & Partners
Kitchen in style 3, £33.95 per roll, Galerie Wallcoverings
Feature Holly Reaney
Give your walls a wake-up call with these Nordic-inspired prints that are full of the joys of spring
Pasture Trees, £20 per roll, Next
Aquafleur, £150 for three rolls, Mind the Gap
Green Sanctuary in Original, £150, Clippings
Fruit Garden Detail in Pigeon/ Powder Blue/ Straw, £56 per roll, Vanessa Arbuthnott
Botanica in beige, £42 per roll, Scandinavian Design Centre
Period Living 87
The furniture craftsmen Batheaston’s furniture starts its life as oak and ash trees that are sliced in their length and then dried in the kiln. Over the last six decades, not much has changed in the process. Woodworking is in the blood of the Batheaston family, as are the tried and tested traditional techniques that have been passed down through the generations. ‘Every piece of furniture has a unique story to tell,’ says furniture-maker Sam Gill. ‘We take pictures along the way and post them to our customers. Anyone can buy a chair, but to see where it came from – that’s something special.’ The company’s workshop in the Yorkshire Dales encourages a slow pace of work, fostering precision and accuracy. ‘There are times when you think “we should speed this up”, but then you step back and say, “no. This furniture is going to be here long after we’re gone, bearing our legacy and our name”. We want Batheaston to be remembered as one of the best.’ batheaston.co.uk
Also see… Realwood Furniture: realwood.co.uk Titchmarsh & Goodwin: titchmarsh-goodwin.co.uk
With ecological and ethical concerns surrounding outsourc ced manufactturing, we take you behind the e scenes of some of our favourite home-grrown bran nds
Brit Feat Fe at
Best of British The bed maker The Wrought Iron & Brass Bed Company would not exist today, if Amanda Thompson had not purchased two metal beds for her sons, Harry and Jack. Appalled by the quality and the price, she decided to approach a local iron fabricator with the aim of creating two iron beds that were robust enough to withstand her two young boys. Today, those same beds can be found at The Wrought Iron & Brass Bed Company under the names of Sophie and Grace, and although they are now accompanied by myriad designs and styles, they marked the start of the UK’s only iron bed manufacturing company. Recognised by The Guild of Master Craftsmen, The Wrought Iron & Brass Bed Company is still very much a family run business, now employing both sons. ‘We’re very different from other companies’ says Harry. ‘All our beds are made under one roof and guaranteed to last a lifetime. We source from within the UK and try to keep it as close to our home county as possible. We believe in the British stamp of excellence, and feel it’s our duty to support the British iron manufacturing industry.’ wroughtironandbrassbed.co.uk
Also see… Victorian Dreams: victorian dreams.co.uk
The wallpaper Th ll and d ffabric b i d designer ig ‘The hallmark of a Sanderson print is that it started life as a beautifully painted piece of artwork in the studio,’ says Rebecca Craig, head designer. For Sanderson, wallpaper and fabric creation is a work of art. Taking inspiration from archives and still-life drawings, each collection begins with a moodboard before a colour palette is established, creating a harmony throughout the collection. ‘Our designers are involved in every part of the process – from the painting to the selection of substrates to overseeing production at the factory – ensuring there is synergy between what is created in-studio and the final product.’ Founded in Islington in 1860 by Arthur Sanderson, the firm has been at the forefront of manufacturing innovation, reflecting a wide range of ever-changing tastes in the designs that it creates. Granted a Royal Warrant in 1923, Sanderson still supplies the Queen and British Royal Palaces. ‘We have a great heritage of manufacture and design in this country,’ adds Rebecca. ‘We feel that being able to wave the “Made in Britain” flag with confidence and patriotism is something worth talking about.’ Supporting British industry is not simply an act of patriotism for Sanderson, as the environmental benefits of being based in Britain, also reflect another vital pillar of Sanderson’s ethos. stylelibrary.com
Also see… Cole & Son: cole-and-son.com Lewis & Wood: lewisandwood.co.uk Period Living 89
The lighting designer ‘Craftsmanship is something special and it is becoming rarer to find as we get more accustomed to fast paced automated manufacturing processes,’ says Hollie Moreland, creative director of one of the oldest British lighting manufacturers. David Hunt Lighting prides itself on the unique skills of its craftspeople, preserving a wide range of artisanal techniques, from hand painting and resin moulding to ironwork and wiring. ‘Because our lights are handcrafted, they tell their own story, creating a connection between the customer, the brand and the people who make them. The craftsmanship of our products is what makes them authentic.’ Everything from vintage knick-knacks to the beautiful surroundings of the workshop in the Cotswolds, can inspire Hollie to sketch and then watercolour the designs for the latest David Hunt products. ‘I’m incredibly lucky to be designing for a brand that continues to manufacture, so from a practical point of view we can trial and test materials before we finalise the design,’ says Hollie. ‘What makes us unique is our attention to detail, and our flexibility to bring new designs to the market, which larger businesses simply could not do. The Antler collection, in particular, speaks volumes about who we are: inspired by the Scottish Highlands and the Swiss Alps, it was designed to allow customers to bring elements of nature into their homes.’ davidhuntlighting.co.uk
Also see… Jim Lawrence: jim-lawrence.co.uk Westland London: westlandlondon.com
The paint master ‘True craftsmanship and a solid grounding in chemistry stands at the heart of our family-run business,’ says Ruth Mottershead, marketing director at Little Greene. The original factory, the Little Greene Dye Works of Collyhurst Wood, opened in 1773, and today is one of England’s most ancient industrial sites for the making of paints. ‘We are the only British paint maker who is still producing a complete range of traditional and modern finishes,’ says Ruth. With costing and the environment in mind, the majority of the oil paints of the past have been replaced by water-based alternatives. However, its range of eco-friendly vegetable oil-based paints offers the best of both worlds, creating complex colour formulations that are designed to last. This, paired with its recycled and recyclable packaging, makes it one of the most eco-conscious brands on the market. Collaborations with prestigious British brands, including National Trust and English Heritage, represents a celebration of generations of British style and decoration – only at Little Greene will you see a genuine 1950s colour alongside an authentic Georgian one. littlegreene.com
Also see… Mylands: mylands.com 90 Period Living
Best of British The brassware manufacturer Forty years ago in east London, friends Bob Perrin and Greg Rowe began an extraordinary partnership. Despite limited funds and a factory that was little more than a garden shed, they began manufacturing brassware components of exceptional quality, and applying their engineering skills to solving the design problems of others. However, it was by producing the world’s first 3-in-1 tap – which dispensed hot, cold and filtered water using their own Triflow technology – that the brand made its name and opened up new markets. ‘Mass production is not our business,’ says David Coles, sales director. ‘We believe every product must be treated individually to ensure the highest possible quality.’ Today, all the brassware is forged in the Black Country, the q engin ne room of the Industrial Revolution, where heavy industry remaains in the blood. Perrin & Rowe became known by architects and d design professionals for its quality and durability, and began appeaaring in famous hotels such as the Savoy and Claridges. Treasuring the artistry of the trade, the products are created by hand glazing, castin ng, soldering and polishing, resulting in the high-quality ucts for which the brand is renowned. Perrin & Rowe also works produ to preeserve these unique skills in the next generation of British crafttsmanship through an apprentice scheme. perrinandrowe.co.uk
Also see… Stonebridge Forge: stonebridgeforge.com
The upholstery maker Working as a corporate high-flyer was never going to be enough for Sarah Massouh, Willow & Hall’s founder. With the clock counting down to her 30th birthday, she decided it was now or never and took the plunge to start her own business. Leaving her job as a strategy consultant, she used all her savings to design her first range of sofas, sofa beds and armchairs, before sourcing a manufacturer and setting up a website. With Sarah working seven days a week in the first year, Willow & Hall’s growth speedily accelerated. Today, the company has 259 fabrics from a range of artisan suppliers, and an equally wide range of styles. There are five steps in the creation of a Willow & Hall product. First, your chosen fabric is ordered from the supplier before being sent to the workshop in Wiltshire. Then, one of the seamstresses chalks and cuts the fabric by hand, while one of the master craftsmen constructs the frame of the item. Once the frame is ready, the fabric is hand applied to the frame before it is signed off with the Willow & Hall stamp of quality, and then delivered. willowandhall.co.uk
Also see… Sofas & Stuff: sofasandstuff.com Tetrad: tetrad.co.uk
The carpet expert Today, the majority of the carpets bought in the UK are made in Belgium or Holland. Cormar Carpets, however, is bucking this trend, as every square metre of its carpet is made in its two Lancashire mills. This is no mean feat considering that the firm produces over 14 million square metres per year. Founded by Neville Cormack in 1956, Cormar made its name by pioneering the manufacturing of tufted carpet – a new method that had been recently invented in the USA. Following the successful launch, Cormar moved to the Brookhouse Mill factory in Greenmount, near Bury, Lancashire, from where it still operates today. cormarcarpets.co.uk
Also see… Alternative Flooring Company: alternativeflooring.com
Best of British The sanitaryware designer From its home in Aldridge, a historic town in the heart of England famed for its rich history of clay and brick production, Imperial Bathrooms is keeping alive the traditional techniques of handcrafted sanitaryware. With skills passed down through generations, the team of time served craftsmen creates beautiful bathroom products from wood, clay and other natural materials. Over the last three decades, the skill and diligence of its closely knit workforce has enabled the company to soar, becoming one of the UK’s finest sanitaryware manufacturers. Unlike most mainstream brands, who have supplemented aspects of their workforce with automation, Imperial’s traditional handmade manufacturing process maintains the art of creativity. Its highly skilled potters carefully cast the delicate and difficult shapes of the sanitaryware and affix detailed chrome wear to create British made products that will last for decades. imperialbathroom.com
Also see… Marflow: marflow.co.uk Antique Baths of Ivybridge: antiquebaths.com
The stove maker It was with a lot of passion, the support of its customers and a little bit of luck, that Clearview’s story started. Built in its Shropshire factory in 1987, the first Clearview stoves rose to popularity since they were easy to light, very controllable, kept their glass spotlessly clean and provided at least four times more heat than an open fire. ‘A Clearview stove should burn with a crystal clear glass window; for safety and consistency our glass is inspected twice to ensure it meets the Clearview standard,’ says managing director Jonathan Greenall. In 1993, Clearview created the first stoves to pass new emission standards, meaning they were approved to burn wood in UK smoke control zones, with a smoke reduction of some 90 per cent. The company continued to grow, and saw a new factory built, installing the best machinery to turn its paper designss into a reality. Locality is important for Clearview, as all its stoves are created using Welsh steel, which helps maintain n UK steel production, a key pillar of many Welsh communities. ‘By building Clearview in the UK we can maintain control and consistency, and by sourcin ng parts and materials locally we minimise transport and provide local employmen nt,’ says Jonathan. ‘We endeavour to build to the highest standards as if every Clearview customer is part of our family.’ clearviewstoves.com
Also see... Charnwood: charnwood.com Period Living 93
The range cooker expert While heating trends have evolved since the first Esse stove was produced back in 1854, a love of the comforting warmth of natural flames remains a firm favourite, particularly among period homeowners. With an abundance of famous fans including Florence Nightingale (who would use no other brand at her field hospital in Balaclava while caring for soldiers injured during the Crimean War) and Ernest Shackleton (who relied on an Esse stove throughout his Antarctic expeditions), Esse’s unique stoves can be found everywhere from Alpine chalets to the Australian outback. Created from high-quality cast iron and steel, the stoves are handmade using a wide range of specialised skills in fettling, folding, drilling, welding and laser-cutting machinery to produce smooth, robust stoves with a durable, fade-free finish. Using British raw materials and components, the dedicated team of metal-workers have hundreds of years of experience between them, to create products that last a lifetime. From the outset, founder James Smith’s mission was simple: invest in research and design to build the best quality, cleanest and most efficient stoves available. More than 160 years later, these values are still reflected today. esse.com
Also see... Avec: aveccookers.co.uk
The window maker ‘Craftsmanship is the backbone of the business,’ says Richard Dollar, managing director at The Sash Window Workshop. ‘From the specialist craftsmen in our workshop to our skilled installers, it is their skills in the trade that enable us to produce bespoke products.’ Initially operated from a small converted pig shed in Ascot, The Sash Window Workshop now trades from two large workshops in Bracknell, Berkshire, thanks to success over the last 25 years. Its expert craftsmen use a combination of traditional and modern techniques to create bespoke timber windows and doors. Spraying the finished products with a minimum of three coats of paint produces an extremely hardwearing glossy finish, while the glass is cut to size and sealed, providing the best insulation and durability. Customers can see the creative process for themselves on a tour of the workshop. sashwindow.com
Also see... Whyte & Wood: whyteandwood.com Mike Honour: mikehonourwindows.co.uk Croxfords: croxfords.co.uk
To celebrate 200 years since the birth of Britain’s second longestserving monarch, we trace the key events in her fascinating life, from an unhappy childhood to ruling the world’s largest empire
ess than five feet tall, Queen Victoria made up for what she lacked in stature with a strong personality and a supremely long reign. She was queen for 63 years, during one of the most self-confident periods in British history, ruling over the biggest Empire the world has ever seen. Victoria gave her name to an era, a style of architecture and decoration, even a set of values.
A YOUNG QUEEN ‘I will be good.’ Such was the promise made by the 11-year-old Victoria when she discovered that one day she would be queen. She did not have to wait too long for the announcement to materialise. Less than a month after turning 18, Victoria was woken at 6am on 20 June 1837 to be told that her uncle, King William IV, had died. Barely an adult, she was now Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Victoria received the news with a request to spend an hour alone, and recorded in her journal: ‘I shall do my utmost to fulfil my duty towards my country; I am very young and perhaps in many, though not in all things, inexperienced, but I am sure that very few have more real good-will and more real desire to do what is fit and right than I have.’ On 28 June 1838, Victoria was crowned at Westminster Abbey. The procession to and from the abbey was watched by over 400,000 people – the largest crowds ever seen in London. The coronation itself lasted an impressive five hours, and involved two changes of dress for the young 96 Period Living
queen. From the start, Victoria was hugely popular with the British public, who came to refer to her as their ‘little majesty’ and ‘the little queen’, because of her young age and diminutive size. Her rosy cheeks, plump lips and rounded face gave Victoria a sweet doll-like appearance, all of which belied a tempestuous and stubborn personality. Although Victoria’s childhood was cut short when she became queen, she probably didn’t see it that way. Her domineering mother, the Duchess of Kent, had kept the young Victoria under strict control through an elaborate set of rules known as the ‘Kensington System’, named after Kensington Palace where they lived. Victoria was even made to sleep in the same room – some say the same bed – as her mother. Despite being surrounded by servants and tutors, the princess felt alone and ‘melancholy’ and had little contact with other children. Her closest companion was her King Charles spaniel, Dash. ‘Dear little Dashy ... quite my playfellow, for he is so fond of playing at ball and of barking and jumping.’ Becoming queen was Victoria’s chance to break free. She banned her mother from her apartments and quickly grew into her new role, enlisting the help of the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, who became a trusted adviser. ‘He has such stores of knowledge,’ Victoria wrote, ‘he knows about everything and everybody…and he imparts all his knowledge in such a kind and agreeable manner; it does me a world of good.’
Clockwise from top left: The princess aged four, by Stephen Poyntz Denning; the teenage Victoria with Dash, by George Hayter, original 1833; official portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, from 1842; Winterhalter also painted this portrait of Victoria in her coronation robes, original 1859; the marriage of Victoria and Albert by George Hayter, 1840-42
Images (clockwise from top left) Dulwich Picture Gallery, Wikimedia Commons; Royal Collection, Wikimedia Commons; Osborne House, Isle of Wight, Wikimedia Commons; Hulton Archive, Getty Images; Royal Collection, Wikimedia Commons
Feature Claire Masset
Queen Victoria FALLING IN LOVE Victoria had first met her cousin, the German Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, when she was 16, but it was during their second meeting that she fell in love. Albert was athletic and good-looking. When she met him at Kensington Palace on 10 October 1839, she confided in her journal: ‘It was with some emotion that I beheld Albert – who is beautiful.’ Five days later she asked him to marry her. ‘I told him I was quite unworthy of him. He said he would be very happy to spend his life with me.’ The ceremony – a small gathering of relatives and dignitaries – was held at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, on 10 February 1840. Victoria wore a white satin dress with deep trimmings of lace, starting the fashion for white wedding dresses. Despite Victoria’s devotion to her husband, Albert was never liked by the British public. They saw him as foreign, and therefore suspect, as well as power hungry. There is no doubt that he was ambitious and highly intelligent. Within weeks of her wedding, Victoria discovered to her horror ➤
QAueen ictoria goldenAge Period Living 97
that she was pregnant. ‘I could not be more unhappy. I am really upset about it,’ she wrote, indignantly. Over the next 17 years, she would give birth to nine children. And so while Victoria was busy being a mother – a task she thoroughly disliked – Albert inevitably took over some of the affairs of state. In a symbolic gesture, he moved his desk into Victoria’s room at Windsor and placed it next to hers; the same was done at Buckingham Palace. In 1857 Victoria gave Albert the title of Prince Consort, giving him precedence over anyone at court but her.
A lover of art and architecture and firm in his ideas of what constituted a healthy family life, Albert had a strong influence on the couple’s choice of residence. As much as was possible, he tried to remove his family from the public court life of Buckingham Palace and Windsor. As a first move, he and Victoria sold the Royal Pavilion, George IV’s extravagant pleasure palace in Brighton. Instead they acquired a holiday home on the Isle of Wight. The latter was demolished and replaced in 1846–51 by an Italian-style palazzo, Osborne House, designed by Albert with the help of London architect Thomas Cubitt. Here Victoria enjoyed ‘the liberty, the peace, and retirement’. The rooms at Osborne were ‘cheerful and unpalacelike’ and the children were free to come and go throughout the house as they pleased. As Simon Jenkins writes in England’s Thousand Best Houses: ‘It was the home of only one monarch, Victoria, and is a memorial not just to her, but to the Victorian family in general. We see her and her husband working together, playing together, and enjoying their nine children.’ The royal family stayed here for long stretches of time: in May for Victoria’s birthday, over the summer months, and before Christmas, which was spent at Windsor. Osborne even had its own beach, where the children learnt to swim and collected shells. You can visit the beach today, peek inside Queen Victoria’s own bathing machine and sit in the alcove where she used to write and sketch. One holiday home was not enough for Victoria and Albert, who sought the wildness of the Scottish Highlands for an even more secluded retreat. Since 1848 they had spent the autumn at Balmoral in Aberdeenshire and in 1852 Albert acquired the estate and castle there. This building was too small for their needs so, ever the designer, Albert set about working on a fantasy castle, amending plans originally drawn up by Scottish architect William Smith. Balmoral Castle was completed in 1856: an imposing example of Scottish Baronial architecture, made of local granite and complete with pepperpot turrets, battlemented porch and a profusion of tartan, from the carpets and curtains to the linoleum in the servants’ quarters. Victoria, who had her own tartan, loved Scotland. She called Balmoral her ‘dear paradise in 98 Period Living
the Highlands’. While she enjoyed long walks in the country, Albert would spend hours hunting. The couple’s love for the area was recorded by Victoria’s favourite artist and friend Edwin Landseer, from whom she bought many paintings.
FAMILY LIFE Victoria gave birth to four sons and five daughters between 1840 and 1857. Despite hating being pregnant, disliking babies (whom she described as ‘frightful’ and ‘froglike’), finding breastfeeding disgusting and suffering from postnatal depression, Victoria was depicted as the model mother. She, Albert and their nine children were seen as the perfect family: a picture of domestic bliss to serve as an example to the nation. Paintings promoted this image and showed them in intimate and harmonious group portraits. One of these (right) was commissioned from court painter Franz Xaver Winterhalter in 1846, which showed Victoria as both sovereign and mother. The painting was hung in the Dining Room at Osborne. Although intended ultimately for this private setting, it was first exhibited in 1847 in St James’s Palace, where 100,000 members of the public flocked to see at it. In 1850 it was engraved
Above: Illustration for Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 featured in Illustrated London News. It shows a family portrait at Windsor Castle above the Queen’s homes, Windsor, Balmoral and Osborne, with portraits of her children’s spouses Above right: Victoria’s bedroom at Osborne – her and Albert’s seaside escape Right: The Royal Family in 1846 by Franz Xaver Winterhalter
Images (clockwise from top) Culture Club, Getty Images; English Heritage; Royal Collection, Wikimedia Commons
for public circulation. Meanwhile, photos of the royal couple and their children were sold in their thousands. Victoria clearly understood the power of this kind of publicity: ‘They say no Sovereign was ever more loved than I (I am bold enough to say), and this because of our happy domestic home and the good example it presents.’ Things, though, were not as rosy as they seemed. Victoria struggled in her relationships with her children. Bertie, her eldest son and heir to the throne, was a particular concern. She complained of his ‘shocking laziness’, ‘very bad manners and great insubordination’. Even Victoria’s marriage to Albert was not as blissful as it seemed. She was known for fits of rage, which her even-tempered husband tried his best to quell.
TRAGEDY Unfortunately, what domestic happiness the couple did enjoy came to a sudden halt when ➤
Images (Clockwise from top left) Historical Picture Archive, Getty Images; Balmoral Estates Office; Time Life Pictures, Getty Images
Albert, who had suffered from ill health for the past few years, was struck by typhoid fever and died on 14 December 1861. He was just 42. Victoria went into a deep mourning, retreated from the public life and devoted herself to glorifying her husband. She started work on his mausoleum at Frogmore near Windsor Castle, commissioned the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park, and asked Scottish author Theodore Martin to write his biography, which turned out to be a 3,000 page, five volume epic. And she decreed that monuments should be built in his memory across the country and the Empire. Meanwhile, at Windsor and Osborne, Albert’s rooms were left untouched and presented as shrines. At night Victoria fell asleep clasping her husband’s nightshirt and a cast of his hand. She would wear black for the rest of her life.
MRS BROWN The grieving queen spent more and more time at Balmoral, escaping for months at a time to her Highland retreat. She had been heavily reliant on her husband, so it is understandable that she should seek comfort in another figure of strength and stability, albeit of a very different nature. This she found in her faithful gillie, John Brown, whom she promoted to Highland Servant in 1865. This new post allowed Victoria to give direct orders to Brown, who was from then on permanently in attendance to her. He became her ‘faithful friend’ and rumours soon spread that the relationship was less than platonic. Members of the royal household jokingly referred to their mistress as ‘Mrs Brown’. The court was scandalised, but Victoria did not care. In what could be seen as an act of defiance, she commissioned Landseer to paint her seated on a pony with John Brown by her side. When Brown died, aged 56, in 1883 again Victoria was distraught. But at last the 64 year old queen was free to devote herself fully to her role as monarch. Finally she became the queen that the nation expected her to be, quashing complaints that she had been either absent or absent minded in her duties.
EMPRESS OF INDIA AND GRANDMOTHER OF EUROPE A few years earlier, in 1876, Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India. It was a role she relished, not for its power but for its duty ‘to protect the poor natives and advance civilisation’. Victoria was now head of a huge Empire, covering a quarter of the globe and with over 400 million subjects. In her later years she earned the nickname of Grandmother of Europe, thanks to the many marriages her nine children and 42 grandchildren made into different European royal houses. Demonstrating astute empire building skills, Victoria played a key role in encouraging these unions. Her daughter Victoria married the future German Emperor, Frederick III. Bertie married Alexandra of Denmark, and Victoria’s second son, Alfred, married a Russian princess. Her grandchildren sat on the thrones of Germany, Spain, Norway, Romania, Russia, Greece and Sweden. Victoria made sure that her legacy would be as widespread and long lived as possible. ➤
Above left: The Grand Reception Room at Windsor Castle by JB Pyne Above: Balmoral was Victoria’s Highland retreat – she spent a large amount of time here after Albert’s death Below: Victoria sits sidesaddle astride a horse as her personal servant John Brown stands nearby, at Balmoral, 1863
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POMP AND PAGEANTRY Two glorious celebrations marked the end of Victoria’s reigning decades. Her Golden Jubilee of 1887 was a triumph of pomp and pageantry, celebrating her return to public view, after years of isolation. On the evening of 20 June, Victoria hosted a banquet at Buckingham Palace attended by 50 kings and princes and the governing heads of Britain’s colonies and dominions. ‘All the Royalties assembled in the Bow Room,’ she wrote, ‘and we dined in the Supper-room, which looked splendid with the buffet covered with the gold plate.’ The next day Victoria travelled in an open carriage to Westminster Abbey, where she was greeted by a ‘rich and tumultuous chorus of loyalty and affection’. The event, simultaneously marked by nationwide festivities, did much to boost her reputation, as did
FINAL DAYS At dawn of the 20th century, Victoria’s health started to fail. She lost her appetite and suffered from insomnia and depression. From December 1900 she spent her last weeks in the calm surrounds of Osborne House and died of cerebrovascular disease, at 6.30pm on 22 January 1901, surrounded by her family. Her last words were addressed to her eldest son, Bertie: ‘Kiss my face,’ she asked, and then called his name, an act which could be seen as a final endorsement of her heir. Victoria’s body was laid to rest in the mausoleum at Frogmore beside Albert. While the nation had lost its queen, after 40 years husband and wife were finally reunited.
Images (clockwise from top left) Heritage Images, Getty Images; Wikimedia Commons x 2
Top: Brooch commemorating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 Top right: Photographed in 1897 for her Diamond Jubilee by W & D Downey Above: Victoria’s last progress through London in February 1901, passing Marble Arch
the wealth of commemorative souvenirs emblazoned with her portrait – from tea cups, milk jugs and plates to booklets, brooches, coins and biscuit tins. Ten year later, Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee confirmed her status and the esteem of her subjects. The day itself, 22 July, was declared a bank holiday in Britain, Ireland and India and marked by worldwide celebrations. The highlight was a six-mile procession through the streets of London, lined with troops from all over the globe and watched by crowds bearing banners declaring Victoria the ‘Queen of earthly Queens’. Captured on film, the parade became a worldwide media event, paving the way for many televised royal pageants to come. The 78-year-old queen recorded: ‘No-one ever, I believe, has met with such an ovation as was given to me, passing through those six miles of streets... The crowds were quite indescribable and their enthusiasm truly marvellous and deeply touching…The cheering was quite deafening and every face seemed to be filled with joy.’
Victoria queen of the screen P
resenting a new face of Queen Victoria to an audience who feel they already know everything there is to know about her, was the considerable challenge facing Daisy Goodwin (left), writer and creator of ITV’s Victoria. Her starting point, Daisy says, was the young queen’s journal. ‘I read history at university and read her diaries, a treasure trove for anyone’s who’s interested in the real smell of the past, as opposed to how it was interpreted later.’ ‘I was 19 and reading a diary entry the young queen wrote when she was 19 or 20. She’d just got engaged to Albert and she wrote about how handsome he looked in his cloak and white cashmere breeches with nothing under them, and I thought - whoa, this is not what you expect!’ That’s because, explains Daisy, when we think of Victoria, we think of late Victoria, the photographs of the grieving widow in black. ‘But actually Victoria as a young woman liked pleasure, dancing and fun, especially when she became queen, because she’d had this very restricted upbringing and she really wanted to go for it.’ The diary entries gave Daisy a whole vision of who Victoria could be. Partly to redress the balance of our tired old view of her, but also as she explains, ‘All the iterations of Victoria have been written by men and I come to it from a different point of view. A lot of the assumptions we make about Victoria, we make because she’s a woman. For example, think about her relationship with John Brown after Albert dies. If she were a man, you’d think it was perfectly reasonable for them to have a relationship with someone else, after all she was only 42. But because it’s a queen, not a king, everyone’s scandalised. You have to look at things differently.’ Once the cast were on board, they too added their own different perspectives on the characters. ‘They’re amazing. It’s the greatest thrill on earth to see this incredible cast turn this idea into something, giving it shape and form,’ says Daisy. ‘I’ve been so lucky to have actors of that calibre and I think the way it has been realised on screen is incredible.’ Jenna Coleman in the title role, like the real queen, is tiny in stature. ‘The fact that she’s
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smaller than the rest of the cast is part of it,’ says Daisy. ‘You get a sense of the fact that Victoria had to project so much to be the dominant figure, so at the beginning I had the vision of this very small woman surrounded by this forest of white haired old men. Plus, Jenna brings this innate dignity, it’s difficult to write, but you know it’s there. And that sense of always being watched – those are things she’s very good at conveying. ‘Tom Hughes is Prince Albert,’ she adds, ‘I can’t even separate them. When he’s on set he is always Albert, and it’s quite a transformation. He’s totally method acting. ‘In series three you’ll notice he puts on a bit of weight because that’s what Albert did. You really get the sense of this man inhabiting the character completely. And it’s brilliant because he really gives flesh to the most under-recognised royal we’ve ever had. His accomplishments were extraordinary and weirdly it’s the woman who gets all the credit, not the man, but Albert deserves a lot of attention.’ In the storylines for the latest series, we see Albert’s reforms of the university curriculum, starting at Cambridge, to get people studying sciences and botany instead of just Latin, Greek and theology. We also see how he was the driving force behind the Great Exhibition. ‘He was part of the new and looked towards the future. He decided that it should be an international exhibition, a bold thing to do at the time; he felt that Britain should be part of Europe, not separate.’ There are plenty of details that Period Living readers will particularly enjoy in the new series, promises Daisy. In the Great Exhibition scenes, look out for the stuffed frogs playing violins, which, along with a weasel wedding, were Victoria’s favourite exhibits. ‘Victorian taxidermy was the thing,’ says Daisy. ‘I put the stuffed frogs in the script, and low and behold they made it in!’ It’s not just about accuracy in the small props, as Daisy explains, ‘The depth of detail in the set design is extraordinary. If you go back over the three series, you can see how fashions are changing. At the start Buckingham Palace is quite austere. It’s still basically a Georgian house. Then as the series
Feature Karen Darlow Photographs © ITV/Mammoth Screen; Daisy Goodwin portrait © Getty Images
As smash-hit historical drama Victoria returns to our Sunday evenings for its third series, creator Daisy Goodwin talks about her inspiration, the stars of the show, strong women, and those all-important period details
Behind the Scenes
goes on, it starts to get brighter colours, more furnishings, stuff everywhere. We’re getting to the mid-Victorian period where everyone’s sitting on heavily stuffed sofas and every surface is crammed with things. That’s done very cleverly.’ Was Victoria interested in interiors? ‘Very much so and Albert definitely was. He redecorated Buckingham Palace and was always building new things. He was definitely a frustrated architect,’ says Daisy. ‘He designed Osborne House, which we see in the new series, and it was very much a monument to his taste. He didn’t have an architect, just a builder and Albert said “this is what I want.” It is the place where you really get a sense of them.’ A key part of any costume drama is of course the costumes. ‘Often Jenna is wearing exact copies of things Victoria actually wore,’ says Daisy, ‘and that’s another thing that surprises people. We always think of her dressed in black, but before she was widowed she was interested in fashion and used clothes to project her power and status.’ For all her status, this tiny powerhouse of a queen had some very modern qualities that Daisy was keen to bring to life. ‘I probably erred slightly
on the side of making her intelligible and likeable to the modern audience, but she was surprisingly free of many of the prejudices we associate with Victorians. For example, she loved sex, and was not a prude in any way. I think Albert was – I mean the whole idea of shrouded piano legs etc, didn’t come from Victoria, that came from Albert or from other people. She loved the physical side of marriage. It was the only time they were equal.’ What else, besides changing our perspective on the empress queen, does the eagerly anticipated new series have in store? It picks up the story in 1848, a turbulent time for Europe and the monarchy. With revolutions on the continent and the Chartist movement growing in London, the government are putting Victoria under increased pressure to leave London for her own safety, says Daisy. ‘Victoria and Albert are the most famous couple of the 19th century, but underneath the united façade their relationship is at breaking point and it is a struggle for mastery that neither side can win.’ Perhaps not, but it’s going to be fascinating watching them give it a go. Victoria is back on ITV at 9pm on Sunday 24 March
Above: Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes reprise their roles as Victoria and Albert in ITV’s hit series Victoria. Creator Daisy Goodwin promises plenty of surprises and says it’s the ‘greatest thrill on earth to see this incredible cast turn this idea into something and give it shape’
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othing is new. It’s a common statement, yet it’s important to remember that design and innovation are evolutionary, and often build upon past achievements and discoveries. It’s also essential to view this in a historical context, and I’ve always maintained that the Arts and Crafts is a perfect example of how a movement can be a major innovator, while also rejecting modern production methods and adhering to a manifesto-like desire to revitalise traditional lost skills and techniques. In my pursuit of knowledge from a young age, I studied and collected the very essence of the Arts and Crafts movement. It was a world alive with medieval melodrama, architectural fantasy and exotic eastern influences, and everywhere I looked there was William De Morgan (1839-1917). 106 Period Living
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Media and Method Ceramics are an integral part of the Arts and Crafts story, and De Morgan plays a key role in the design narrative of the movement. Born in 1839 in London, William was to be the oldest of seven children. His father, Augustus, was a Professor of Mathematics at University College, while his mother, Sophia, was the daughter of the social reformer and writer William Frend. De Morgan’s education through University College School and UCL was not illustrious, but he attended evening classes at Cary’s Art School in Bloomsbury and was then able to gain a place at The Royal Academy Schools. He managed to complete half of the eight-year course and then left to work for Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co. It was in this environment that De Morgan began to find his true forté, initially working with stained glass and in conjunction with other Morris designers such as Edward ➤
Images (bottom left & right) © Victorian Ceramics, (top left) © Leighton House/Justin Barton, (right, top & middle) © Lakeland Arts, (all others) © National Trust Images /James Dobson /Sophia Farley & Claire Reeves /Derrick E. Witty
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The GreaT DesiGners
Opposite: This chalk drawing by Blake Wigman of De Morgan, and one of his tile designs seen behind, are among the collection held at the National Trustâ€™s Wightwick Manor. The Victorian house, decorated with Arts and Crafts designs, includes a dedicated gallery space for the internationally important collection of ceramics by De Morgan, and paintings by his wife Evelyn Above, clockwise from top left: De Morgan
tiles in the staircase hall at Leighton House in London; fantastical beasts were among his signature designs; his Anemone and Daisy tile designs can be seen at Blackwell, the Arts and Crafts House, in Cumbria (blackwell.org.uk); more stylised animals and Islamic influenced designs in the Wightwick collection Left and right: Victorian Ceramics reproduces authentic, original De Morgan tile designs, from ÂŁ32 each (victor ianceramics.com)
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ART IN TILES The presence of De Morgan tiles in the many properties I had visited emphasised his part in the Victorian explosion for home improvement. The demand for tiles had increased enormously for fireplaces, decorative schemes, building exteriors, restaurants, sculleries and kitchens. Whereas large firms, such as Mintons and Doulton, were already supplying the mass markets, De Morgan realised that the higher-end burgeoning ‘art tile’ market had potential for expansion. His trademark designs, such as ‘Sunflowers’, ‘Cavendish’ and ‘New Persian’, along with fantastical and stylised beasts, including ‘Hippocamp’, ‘Griffin’ and ‘Pelican’, are all preserved in the V&A archives, the very place where he often gathered inspiration in the form of Persian, Medieval and Renaissance designs. Unfortunately, a fire at the Fitzroy studio forced a move to 30 Cheyne Row, Chelsea, where in 1872 he started a kiln in a small shed at the end of the garden. By 1873, production had increased dramatically and he opened a workshop and showroom at 36 Cheyne Row, known as Orange House. It was during this period that he took on some of his best painters and designers, including Charles and Fred Passenger, whose work is synonymous with the incredible delicacy, stunning fluidity and sheer fantastical exuberance of the De Morgan name. It was here, also, that Frank Iles, his kilnmaster for over 30 years, helped to perfect their techniques.
TRANSITION AND INVENTION It is thought that about 300 tile designs date from the Chelsea period. These were painted on blanks supplied by Wedgwood and Poole; some were even imported from Holland. They are the most affordable of De Morgan’s output, with single tiles ranging from £100 upwards in the current auction market. Bowls and dishes were also supplied by Davis of Hanley and Wedgwood, with De Morgan making his own tiles in the later 1870s. The success of this period necessitated a larger premises, but De Morgan maintained Orange House as a showroom. In 1882 production moved to Merton Abbey, where William Morris had established his textile workshops. Often described as a ‘transitional phase’, the Merton Abbey period allowed De Morgan to experiment with greater resources, but ill health 108 Period Living
made his trips to Merton increasingly difficult and he decided to move production to Sands End in Fulham. He had married Evelyn Pickering, a skilled artist, in 1887. She would have undoubtedly provided funds for this move and along with his new partner, the architect Halsey Ricardo, the Fulham Period was to prove the most productive for De Morgan in both the breadth of design and output. Gone was the sometimes naïve – although attractive – work of the Cheyne Row period, and in the words of May Morris, William Morris’s younger daughter, a period that was ‘elaborate and intricate and full of curious invention’ ensued. It was here that the pinnacle of De Morgan’s technical success, with wares such as the ‘moonlight’ and ‘sunset’ series, matured. Characterised by dreamy mixtures of copper, silver and gold oxides on blue backgrounds, each piece required multiple firings. They were expensive and difficult to produce, which accounts for their rarity, but despite their beauty even De Morgan remarked: ‘All my life I have been trying to make beautiful things, and now that I can make them nobody wants them.’ These wondrous pieces are now highly sought after. Galleons, serpents, fish and classical figures mimic the designs of Hispano Moresque and Isnik masterpieces, but in only the way that De Morgan could do. Many of the best examples are now held in national collections but some do come up for auction. However, be prepared to dig deep as prices generally start in the thousands.
LUSTROUS LEGACY In 1892 De Morgan began wintering in Florence. His health was poor and the factory was also beset by continual financial problems. His remoteness was unhelpful, but he also employed Italian painters to produce patterns on tracing paper, which he sent to England to be fired on to the tiles. Despite some major commissions, including 12 schemes for P&O liners – none of which are known to have survived – the business went into liquidation in 1898. De Morgan continued in a new partnership with his loyal employees, Frank Iles and the Passengers, which they maintained until 1907, but he started to concentrate more on his writing; this, in the end, proved to be financially more rewarding than ceramics. The enormity of De Morgan’s legacy has never been underrated. Even immediately after his death in 1917, an exhibition was mounted at the V&A. The museum had already purchased pieces of his work as examples of ‘modern design’, and Evelyn De Morgan quickly arranged for his drawings to go to the museum where over 2,000 are now in the collection. Upheld by the few, his appeal became more muted over many decades and that is perhaps why I felt more exclusive in my early desire to connect with De Morgan. However, his genius is now a matter of record and my earliest recollections of visiting Leighton House, and the Debenham House (now in private ownership), with their lavish De Morgan schemes, undoubtedly set me on my path. It’s one that you can easily tread, too.
Images © National Trust Images /John Hammond /Andreas von Einsiedel /Trevor Ray Hart
Burne-Jones and Dante Gabrielle Rossetti. As a result De Morgan had – importantly – become one of the Pre-Raphaelite set. At this time, he was also working independently from a studio in Fitzroy Square and it was here that through his personal experimentation he developed a strong interest in iridescent glazes, a characteristic that he had noticed during the firing of stained glass. This was due to the presence of silver, and ‘lustre’ finishes subsequently become a major hallmark of De Morgan’s future production. Initially he decided to concentrate on tile production.
Clockwise from top left: A lovely lustreware vase at Wightwick depicting antelopes – De Morgan’s floral images are reminiscent of William Morris’s designs, but the animal designs are distinctly his own; his tiles fill many of the fireplaces at the Victorian manor; showing an ibex on a background of ferns, this bowl is on display in the Drawing Room; the Malthouse Gallery space
Discover more De Morgan WIGHTWICK MANOR – Hosted in the purpose-
built Malthouse gallery space, the De Morgan exhibition at this Victorian manor house in Wolverhampton, displays over 100 works by De Morgan, and demonstrates the breadth of his artistic achievements. There are also examples of his work around the beautiful house. Open daily. Tel: 01902 761400; nationaltrust.org.uk LEIGHTON HOUSE – The former London studio home of the Victorian artist Lord Leighton, contains examples of De Morgan’s tiles. Open Wednesday to Monday. Tel: 020 7602 3316; rbkc.gov.uk/subsites/ museums/leightonhousemuseum/visitus.aspx THE VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM – vam.ac.uk THE DE MORGAN FOUNDATION – demorgan.org.uk
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r walls o t c Online retailer a
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animal magic Add a quirky touch to doors, drawers and walls with Audenza’s new animalthemed hardware designs. Handmade from brass and consisting of a range of handles, knobs and hooks, the exotic creatures will make a real talking point.
From top: Jaguar door handle, £32.95; cobra snake door handle, £29.95; elephant hook, £15.95; crocodile hook, £15.95
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ASK THE EXPERT Douglas Kent, technical and research director at the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, answers your renovation queries
TIMELESS LUXURY Designer radiator brand Bisque has launched its first range of traditional towel radiators. Comprising the Buckingham, Osbourne and Balmoral models, the collection has been designed with a classic aesthetic in mind. The Victorian-style Balmoral towel radiator, shown here in chrome, £1,529, not only heats the space, but can accommodate large towels on its generous hanging rail. It features periodstyle ball joints and is available in a wide selection of colourways.
My 19th-century cottage is of solid wall brick construction. I have been advised in an Energy Performance Certificate that the walls should be encased internally with insulated plasterboard. I am concerned this will cause moisture to be trapped. There is no evidence of mould in the cottage, and no smell of damp. What do you suggest? You are right to be wary about installing non breathable wall insulation in a solid walled building in the form of plasterboard with a foam backing. Research by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) shows that fitting insulation that is not vapour permeable increases the risk of dampness accompanied by mould, timber decay and harm to human health in older buildings constructed without cavities (which is most houses predating 1919). If wall insulation is added, the use of breathable (‘vapour open’) material minimises the risk of elevated moisture levels. Examples of breathable insulation used on walls internally include woodfibre, expanded cork and aerogel. Adding insulation externally helps walls to maintain constant temperatures, thereby improving comfort levels and reducing total energy use. However, insulating internally will often be the most viable option, especially where the impact of installing external insulation is unacceptable aesthetically. Whether wall insulation is fitted internally or externally, it is advisable to implement easier measures with quicker payback periods first. These include topping up loft insulation, draughtproofing windows and doors, and fitting thermostatic radiator valves.
Q CUBAN FLAVOUR With a subtle colour palette of soft grey, blue and green, the new Havana collection from Gemini Tiles comprises four unique encausticinspired tile designs that can be used on walls and floors. Featuring a natural background with a colourful pattern, the tiles can be paired alongside simple white and grey designs and mixed and matched among the range. Shown is the White Garden design, £49.49 per m2.
We’re looking into our home’s history, but it seems to date from different eras. Is it possible to date the mortar? It is tricky to date mortar accurately. Someone with a knowledge of architectural history will frequently be able to tell the approximate age from, say, the profile of a mortar joint or its visible constituents. They can also often establish the different phases in the evolution of a building. More scientific techniques have been employed, such as radiocarbon dating, but are not always straightforward. The architecture of a building may offer better clues to its history, therefore, than the mortar. If you have a question for Douglas, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org*
Feature Karen Bray *We do our best to answer all queries, but cannot guarantee a response
Creating a decorative stained glass effect is easy with the range of window films from Purlfrost. Available in designs from different eras, including Victorian and Art Nouveau, its stained glass effects are printed onto transparent or translucent window film, which is made to measure and easy to apply. Add a splash of authentic colour to your windows and doors with the new Spinel Art Deco stained glass design, from £11.50.
Oval mirror wall light with gold painted finish, £385, Besselink & Jones
Sloane bronze wall light with shade in Firefly Orange silk dupion, £156, David Hunt Lighting
Fight Me grande antler wall light with shade, £299, The French Bedroom Company
A soft Glow
Melford handforged wall light in beeswax with glass shade, £99.20, Jim Lawrence
Foliage wall light in gold with Empire shade in Peacock silk dupion, £105, Pooky
Balocane wall light in satin silver, £675, Christopher Wray
Wall lights are having a resurgence. Position them for tasks such as reading or cooking, or with a dimmer to provide gentle illumination
Bramley metal wall sconce in Antique Black, £59.99, Dowsing & Reynolds
Swan neck wall light in brass with glass dome shade, £79, Industville
Feature Sophie Warren-Smith
Home Collection Seb wall light with gold finish and glass shade, £40, Debenhams
Bailey double wall light in Antique Cream, £157, Broughtons
Garrick wall light with bronze finish, £75, Neptune
Årstid LED picture light with brass finish, £30, Ikea
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Repairing and laying these tiles is a skilled job so it may be best to get a professional to do the work rather than try it yourself.
General care Encaustic and geometric tiled floors are generally easy to maintain but grit and moisture trodden in from outside will quickly spoil their surface. A good quality doormat at the front door will reduce the problem but it must be shaken out frequently. Floors need to be regularly brushed or vacuumed. Any loose tiles should be temporarily secured with duct tape and promptly refixed. Building work is particularly damaging, especially as these floors are often in hallways where materials are likely to be carried or wheeled through and grit and debris spilt. Before work starts, ensure the floor is thoroughly vacuumed and then lay plywood, OSB or hardboard sheets, sealing all joints and edges thoroughly with duct tape.
Often featuring myriad intricate patterns, original encaustic floor tiles are highly sought after, so they’re worth preserving and treating with care Feature Roger Hunt, author of Old House Handbook
D Illustrations Sarah Overs
ecorative and practical, the tiled floors created by the Victorians and Edwardians in hallways and entrances evoke a period feel matched by few other floor surfaces. Using mass-produced tiles in imitation of the medieval floors found in ecclesiastical buildings, the intricate patterns were formed with encaustic tiles, featuring a wide variety of designs, laid together with plain geometric tiles of different shapes, sizes and colours. Original tiled floors often have an attractive patina of wear and age resulting from decades of comings and goings across their surface but, as with all floors, they need regular maintenance, otherwise the beauty of the tiles will be eroded.
Tiles that have become stained or dirty can generally be cleaned with fresh water, detergents or proprietary tile cleaners, but never soak the floor. Nylon scourers will help remove stubborn marks, but wire brushes or other abrasives should be avoided. Tiles will sometimes be discovered beneath thin screeds, lino and carpets, often bonded with adhesives. Removing these is frequently time consuming and difficult but scraping with a wooden or plastic spatula – not metal – and softening with water or paint remover should help. Where water is used, control its spread; a wet towel left on the floor overnight can be effective. Acid-based cleaners may be used sparingly to remove hard cement deposits. If floors have been covered, white powdery deposits or efflorescence may be present. This problem is caused by salts, directly related to moisture, so never wash them off; instead, brush or vacuum them away.
Tile repairs Loose tiles may be glued back in position with a resin-based or PVA ➤
Repairing and overhauling Although hard and durable, the fired clay used to form encaustic and geometric tiles is brittle and will suffer through impact – damage can shatter, crack or loosen the tiles. A missing tile will quickly lead to surrounding tiles becoming loose and cracked. Period Living 117
Structural issues Tiles were generally laid on a solid base of stone or concrete and were bedded in lime mortar. Cracks across the floor, areas of broken or loose tiles, or dips in the floor may indicate problems with the subfloor or wider structural issues, possibly caused by damp. Look for evidence of moisture or cracks on adjoining walls and, where necessary, consult a surveyor or, if there are significant problems to the building, a structural engineer.
Maintenance checklist OVacuum and clean floor surfaces ORemove ingrained dirt ORefit loose tiles ORepair or replace damaged or missing tiles OIdentify the cause of cracking – it may indicate
structural problems ODeal with signs of damp to the floor and adjoining walls
Fit for the future Unless access is available from below, it is impossible to thermally insulate existing tiled floors except when they are being relaid, which will inevitably result in the loss of much of the original floor. Although they will hide the floor’s beauty, unbacked coir or sisal runners or rugs will take off the chill, but beware of the danger of slipping. Never lay rubber-backed carpets on tiled floors as they trap moisture, causing sweating on the underside and potentially marking the floor. Above: These are examples of the encaustic floor tile designs from Pryke and Palmer’s 1896 catalogue. Easy to maintain and hardwearing, the tiles were used in hallways and conservatories, as well as on outside steps and front paths
adhesive. Where tiles are missing, matching ones are often available from specialist suppliers or salvage yards. Take an existing tile or alternatively a photograph, along with the dimensions, and always check sizes and exact colours before purchasing. Loosely lay out tiles to check the pattern and sizes before fitting – remember that the gaps between tiles were generally no more than 2mm. It is usually difficult to remove existing bedding mortar, and the process may damage surrounding tiles, so a small slither may need to be removed from the back of new tiles, which is likely to be a job for a specialist. Allow tiles to partially set in place before grouting with cement or lime and ensure any glue, mortar or grout is removed with a damp cloth before it dries.
Finishing Old floors often have a gentle sheen due to the polishing action of years of wear. Linseed oil, thinned with turpentine, was traditionally employed to finish tiled floors but will yellow over time and can become sticky, trapping dirt. Wax is sometimes used but can build up and discolour. There are a number of proprietary products designed for unglazed floor tiles, but always test on a small area first. Acrylic coatings tend not to do justice to the tile’s colour. Before applying any finish, ensure the floor is clean and totally dry. 118 Period Living
Useful contacts CRAVEN DUNNILL JACKFIELD – tile manufacturer and supplier. Tel: 01952 884124; cdjackfield.com HERITAGE TILING & RESTORATION – specialist restoration. Tel: 0151 9207349; heritagetiling.com HG – tile cleaning and finishing products. Tel: 01206 822744; hg.eu LONDON MOSAIC – Victorian tile design and supply. Tel: 020 8699 0820; londonmosaic.com MOSAIC RESTORATION COMPANY – tile renovation and design. Tel: 01788 510000; mosaicrestoration.co.uk ORIGINAL FEATURES – tile supplier. Tel: 01992 535981; originalfeatures.co.uk ORIGINAL STYLE - tile manufacturer. Tel: 01392 473000; originalstyle.com SALVO - architectural salvage directory. salvo.co.uk VICTORIAN SOCIETY - publication on decorative tiles. Tel: 020 8994 1019; victoriansociety.org.uk
Salvage in the city Discovering a love of reclaimed materials almost 40 years ago led Laurence Green to set up Insitu Architectural Salvage in Manchester, a treasure trove of vintage gems and unique architectural antiques Words Karen Bray | Photographs Jeremy Phillips
Above: The exterior of Insitu, set in a Grade II-listed former pub Right: Laurence Green among an array of stock, including a Danish leather sofa, £850, a plinth from the Natural History Museum in London, £325, a loud speaker bought in an auction in Cheshire, £75, and a pair of mid-century German cocktail chairs, £325 each 120 Period Living
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aurence Green arrived in Manchester as a student in 1977. Three years later, armed with a Geography degree, he got a casual job stripping pine doors for a local dealer. It was meant to be temporary work while he evaluated his future, but he learned the trade and decided he liked it. ‘I realised it wasn’t all about doors, but lots of other things, too,’ he explains. ‘The world of architectural salvage beckoned and I’ve never looked back.’ He set up his own salvage business in 1982, working from his garage and basement, but just two years later he moved into a three-storey shop in the Old Trafford area of Manchester with his former business partner Stan, and Insitu Architectural Salvage was born. ‘We are currently occupying our fifth set of premises,’ says Laurence. 122 Period Living
‘All of them have been within a mile of each other, just off the Chester Road near Old Trafford. The first site had a floor space of about 1,500 square feet and our current shop is double the size, plus we rent additional storage in Salford. ‘Being located in a busy city has restricted us finding larger premises, especially with all the development work that has gone on in Manchester in recent years. I would love to have a traditional yard with outdoor storage space, but with three million people living within a 10-mile radius, this location has its benefits.’ The current premises, a Grade II-listed former pub, was built in the Italianate style in the 1870s. ‘It is quite beautiful and a prominent local landmark, so it means we are very noticeable,’ adds Laurence. ‘I’ve been restoring the building for the last few years, which has taken a significant investment ➤
Above: Shop manager Faye sits beneath a selection of opaline lighting from the Czech Republic, from £100, and a mix of industrial lighting, from £100. The white Le Corbusierstyle suite is £650, and the parquet flooring samples on the wall cost from £35 per m2
Clockwise from top left: The top floor is fitted out with reclaimed items and midcentury furniture; stained glass from a church in Lancashire, from £400; Victorian porch doors, £850; the Harry sign is from local Smithfield market, £125, while the tiger sign, £160, and coffee tin, £100, are Belgian; industrial chairs
in the basement, £50 each; midcentury Czech glass lights, from £225; coats of arms from the Free Trade Hall in the city, £900 each, with Art Nouveau brass pull handles, from £80 a pair; a Jindrich Halabala screen, £800, with a selection of mid-century lamp bases, from £40
Clockwise from left: Indian metal lights, £75 each, with a pair of rustic doors from Portugal, £925, Stressless reclining chairs, £350 each, and a collection of Swedish pottery, from £5; brass chandelier from Amiens, France £375; decorative brass door handles, from £45 a set
of both time and money. It’s looking really good and showcases the stock perfectly.’ Laurence obtains his stock from a number of sources, such as local building demolitions and refurbishments, as well as further afield at fairs, from other dealers, members of the public and abroad. ‘Most of the stock is unique and we deal with everything from newel posts, oak panelling and windows, to fireplaces, radiators, furniture and lighting,’ he explains. ‘We have dropped and added lines over the years depending on the economics of what is going on. For example, the dramatic increase in reproduction radiators recently has seen my sales of original versions drop off a cliff – the same thing happened to sanitaryware a few years back. Tastes change, so you have to roll with the punches. Timber flooring has grown in popularity as it’s practically impossible to reproduce a reclaimed board, but original stock is getting harder to find. The popularity of original lighting has also grown. I visited the Czech Republic last year to stock up on opaline lights. I bought loads of them as they can be hard to get and are currently on trend. 124 Period Living
‘There is nothing like having plenty of good stuff around and the shop is always full of interesting items,’ he says. ‘It also depends on how flush I am in terms of buying the weird and the wonderful. ‘At the moment, I’m particularly pleased with the Jindrich Halabala screens I have in stock. They have previously been a tad too pricey for me, but this year I found 40 of them at Peters, the dealer I bought the lights from in the Czech Republic. This type of mid-century design is proving popular at the moment, so it was an exciting find.’ Working in the reclamation industry has been a valuable experience for Laurence, who has always aimed to do his part for the local community and the environment. ‘By using reclaimed items, not only are we saving things that are really valuable in terms of workmanship or rarity, but we’re not depleting the earth’s resources,’ he says. ‘I love the fact that salvaged items can add an extra element of frisson because of their history and provenance the story of a piece can be fascinating.’ 252 Chester Road, Manchester M15 4EX. Tel: 0161 839 5525; insitumanchester.com
space 5 ways to gain
Adding an extension can totally change the appearance of a period home, and is not always the most cost-effective way to maximise it. So, consider how an alternative solution could reduce the scale or need for other building work
Photograph Jeremy Phillips
Take down divides
Period homes are not traditionally thought of as generous open-plan spaces conducive to modern living, but taking down internal walls between smaller rooms – usually to create a family-friendly kitchen-diner – can introduce a sense of space and flow. It’s a common project undertaken in Victorian and Edwardian houses; however, for older or particularly characterful properties it is not always a desirable solution, as it will forever change the atmosphere of the interior. Sometimes
just including a wider doorway (as above) can aid flexibility, or removing the plaster between timbers can be a sensitive option for creating a more open feel without permanently altering the fabric. Ask a structural engineer to check it will be possible, before consulting a good builder. There are a number of design considerations when creating open-plan spaces, such as respecting original features, lighting, zoning individual areas and positioning furniture. The work doesn’t require planning permission unless your home is listed. ➤ Period Living 127
A basement is the ideal location for a snug, playroom or wine cellar, and it is also a great place to relocate the utility room, boiler and storage areas, freeing up more valuable above-ground space. It can even have its own separate external entrance and provide a self-contained unit, which is ideal for use as a home office or annexe. Converting a cellar costs around the same as a loft conversion and often creates more usable space directly accessed from main living areas. If you don’t have a cellar, you can dig down to create one, although it’s rarely financially viable unless you live in a high-value urban area. As soon as you start extending outwards, lowering the floor level to increase headroom, digging out the ground beneath the house and underpinning the foundations, prices rocket to £2,000£4,000 per m². Waterproofing, or ‘tanking’ is a key issue – there will usually be a cementitious waterproof render system on the walls, linked to a waterproof screed on the floor; alternatively a cavity membrane, which constantly drains away any small leaks, may be employed. Converting an existing cellar doesn’t usually require planning permission, but creating a new one will. The basement kitchen in this London property doubles up as a home office.
Create a master suite in the roof
Loft conversions are one of the most cost-effective ways to gain space, with an extra bedroom and bathroom adding up to 25 per cent to a home’s value. Expect to pay between £500–£1,500 per m2, depending on the location and work involved. A key factor is head height – there needs to be at least 220cm between the bottom of the ridge timbers and the top of the ceiling joists. If the roof isn’t high enough, it may be possible to lower the ceiling in the rooms below, or raise the height of the roof. Think about how the space will be lit – the most common solution is to insert rooflights between the rafters, but if the property is in a Conservation Area or listed, you may need to look at conservation designs. Other factors to consider are insulating the space, meeting fire regulations, introducing plumbing runs if you want to add a bathroom, and tackling obstacles such as chimneybreasts and water tanks. Most conversions don’t need planning permission, but check planningportal.co.uk for exceptions. This project by Econoloft has added a master suite to a formerly two-bedroom 1890s house in Surrey, creating a beautiful three-bedroom home in a prime area.
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Photograph Andreas von Einsiedel
Build a garden room
A much overlooked means of gaining extra space is to add an outbuilding in the garden. With a period property this is often the most cost-effective and least disruptive solution. Many firms specialise in creating garden rooms – from shepherd’s huts to summerhouses and posh sheds – or you can buy a DIY kit, with prices starting at a few hundred pounds. The room can serve as an office or studio, or add guest accommodation, complete with a kitchen and bathroom. Planning permission is not usually needed for simple designs. Depending on the building’s use, bear in mind you may need electrics, Wi-Fi and plumbing, which will add to the cost and can disrupt garden landscaping. This shepherd’s hut by Plankbridge costs from £22,000. ➤ Period Living 129
If you have more vertical space than floor area, such as in a barn conversion or double-height room, consider adding a semi-storey, which will give you extra room without removing the sense of drama a high ceiling creates. Studies, library areas or TV snugs are ideal, but extra sleeping areas are also useful. You’ll need to have enough head height for both areas to be full storeys (around 4.2m in total), or you could turn the space below the mezzanine into a storage area. A spiral staircase is a space-
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efficient access solution, and you’ll need to install a balustrade at the edge of the mezzanine for safety. Consult a structural engineer in the first instance to find out if it’s possible, as a mezzanine will add additional weight to the supporting walls of your house, and will need its own supporting structure – this can sometimes mean modifying the existing roof and ceiling – then enlist the help of a good house designer or architect. Planning permission is usually not required, unless you require alterations to the house’s external appearance.
Photograph Jeremy Phillips
Add a mezzanine level
A NEW PERSPECTIVE There is a lot to get your head around when choosing new windows and doors, particularly if you live in an area with additional restrictions. Residence 9 explains how this doesn’t always have to be a struggle
here are many positives to owning a period home: its rich character, spacious rooms and a unique design. However, there are also additional restrictions that may limit your options when you are renovating, particularly regarding windows and doors. There are three main categories of homes where your choices are limited when it comes to making changes to your property: O In a Conservation Area – the location is ‘of special
architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve’. O Article 4 sites – a direction made by the local planning authority, which restricts the scope of permitted development rights. O Listed building status – although this does not prevent change, it does mean that consent must be granted before any changes are made.
If you are looking for an alternative to traditional timber windows and doors, Residence 9 offers a wide range of designs with an elegant flush exterior and decorative interior that authentically replicates 19th-century timber designs. Designed to be in keeping with Conservation Area guidelines to ensure the windows and doors are a suitable choice for period properties, Residence 9 products have been approved for use in a large number of Conservation Areas, Article 4 sites and listed buildings. Available in a choice of hand-picked heritage colours, the frames can be personalised to complement your interior decor, by choosing a different colour for inside and out. For more information visit residencecollection.co.uk
When it comes to choosing windows and doors, these classifications restrict your freedom since some planning authorities preclude the use of ‘modern materials’ or PVCu, as these have been deemed inappropriate in size, shape and design. However, recent developments in window and door systems now mean that modern material replicas can perfectly mirror traditional aesthetics, while offering the benefits of being maintenance free. In light of this, many authorities have been approving the use of systems such as Residence 9 in a wide variety of period homes. Period Living 131
Here comes tHe sun
A glazed extension is the perfect way to add space and value to your home â€“ for relaxing with the doors open in summer, to snuggling up in winter. We reveal the best orangery, conservatory and sunroom designs Feature Holly Reaney
Floor-to-ceiling glazing and elegant oak work in harmony to create a framed extension that makes the most of the natural light, while sensitively blending with the existing building. A tiled overhanging roof prevents the space from overheating. Prices start from ÂŁ48,000 at Prime Oak
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hen it comes to adding a glazed space to your property, you have two choices: you can either opt for an extension that’s entirely sympathetic to its period, such as a classical orangery on a Georgian home, or you can choose a more modern structure, like a glass-box extension, which creates a harmony between history and modernity. Regardless of which style you choose, it is vital to ensure the design suits your needs, whether that is as a relaxing spot to sit and watch the seasons change, or a space that is more integrated into your home, such as an extension to a kitchen to create an open-plan dining area. WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT OPTIONS?
Originating in the early 17th century, orangeries rose in popularity throughout the 1800s as a means for the wealthy to cultivate expensive citrus fruits. One particularly decadent example of such an orangery still stands in the grounds of Kew Gardens in London. Today, orangeries are a lot less ornate, although still retain the same classical symmetry and characteristic features, such as floor-to-ceiling windows, roof lanterns and decorative brickwork. Now serving more as an additional room or living space rather than a greenhouse, orangeries have seen a recent resurgence in popularity among owners of period homes. Technically defined as a building that has at least half of its side wall glazed and three-quarters of its roof glazed, conservatories are more easily characterised by their traditionally Victorian features, including high gabled roofs, a bay-front design and elaborate finials, cresting and ridges. Stained glass and gothic motifs also were, and still are, extremely popular, particularly for 19th-century properties. Rather than the predominantly glass structures of orangeries and conservatories, sunrooms offer a glazed extension with a solid roof. Providing a transitional space between the home and garden, they are primarily designed to showcase the landscape while providing shelter from the weather (either hot or cold). Oak frames are particularly sought after as they provide an authentic look. DO I NEED PLANNING PERMISSION?
Although the majority of projects will fall under permitted development, meaning they will not need planning permission, some projects will require additional approval. If your home is listed, you live in a designated area, such as a Conservation Area, or are planning a particularly large or multi-storey addition, then consent will likely be required. This varies project to project, and your local authority can provide guidance on the types of design that will be acceptable. You can also visit planningportal.co.uk for more information. 134 Period Living
HOW DO I GET THE PERFECT TEMPERATURE?
Unbearably hot in summer, freezing cold in winter: this is a preconception that haunts prospective buyers when it comes to conservatories. However, recent developments in temperature regulation, heating and building design means that this is quickly becoming a problem of the past. Here, Jane Hindmarch of Vale Garden Houses explains how to maintain the perfect temperature all year round. ‘When planning your garden room, the first question to ask yourself is “what will the new space be used for?” From here you can figure out where it will be sited and its orientation. Both of these will have an impact on the temperature of the room. For example, a south-facing conservatory will be exposed to more sun, and so will be warmer than a north-facing structure. ‘In order to create a comfortable environment all year round, correct ventilation and heating are essential. The most popular heating option is thermostatically controlled underfloor heating, since it is a lot less cumbersome than traditional radiator-style heating. Bear in mind that this type of heating is particularly suited to certain hard floorings, such as stone or tile. ‘Another, more traditional form of heating, is a trench system. This either works by an independent convection system or by being connected to existing conventional heating. Decorative cast-iron grilles cover the trench, which generally runs around the perimeter of the room, and can add a nice detail to the space. If you opt for this form of heating, ensure you build in adequate side and roof ventilation to create a generous air flow throughout the room. ‘Bi-fold doors are increasingly popular for opening out, as they create a wider aperture to the garden, allowing a free-flow of air during the warmer months. They can be used in collaboration with thermostatically controlled roof vents, which enable a constant temperature to be maintained as the vents will independently open and close in response to changes in temperature. ‘Additionally, roof blinds are also a very efficient and affordable way to control temperature as they shield the strong heat in the summer months and prevent heat loss in the cooler months. Unlike most other options, these can be added after the build, and can be changed to reflect different interior styles without structural interference. ‘Pair blinds with Low E double glazing, the most energy-efficient option. In this glass, the gap between the glazing is filled with Argon gas, which has a greater density than air, so is more effective at reducing heat loss. The reflective coating also reflects heat back into the room to retain warmth. With the right design, these rooms can be comfortable all year round and often become the most popular room in the house.’
Tropical plants and exotic flowers have long been the perfect companion to conservatories. Plants such as orchids, olive trees and bougainvillea particularly thrive in the warm environment, benefiting from the natural light that floods in through the glass. This design from Alitex is priced on application
Modern in style, this glass-box linking extension, ÂŁ15,000 from Apropos, creates a unity between the original thatched 16th-century cottage and the more contemporary brick and wood outbuilding. The harmony between old and new is mirrored through the dĂŠcor and vintage pieces in the room
Above: Typically used to provide an additional seating area, a conservatory can provide a wide variety of other functions. This aluminium and glass structure from Marston & Langinger incorporates both a kitchen and dining area, while the large mirror on the back wall creates the illusion of even more space and light. Prices start at £3,000 per m2
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Below: When it comes to flexible temperature control, you do not have to choose between elegance and practicality. These roller blinds, £69 per m from Sanderson, add botanical flair to the room. Teamed with leafy green upholstery, also from Sanderson, they transform this garden room into a tropical paradise
You don’t need to have a huge garden to introduce a glazed extension. This small yet striking orangery, from £40,000 at David Salisbury, features an impressive Victorian-style domed roof lantern, which floods the room with natural light
Above: Victorian houses are known for their elaborate architectural details, and their conservatories are no different. With ornate gables, arched glass in the door, and decorative handcarved bargeboards, the gothic details of this extension allow it to merge seamlessly with the original property, creating a harmony between the spaces. From ÂŁ40,000 at Vale Garden Houses
Below: A lack of space can be a key challenge of owning a period cottage. This oak-frame garden room extends the kitchen to create a beautiful dining space, looking out across the country garden. The floor-to-ceiling glazing set within a green oak frame creates a good flow between indoors and out, making the most of the lovely views. Prices start at ÂŁ10,000 for an oak-frame kit from Border Oak
Above: Perfectly in tune with the traditional Victorian property, this elegant timber conservatory, starting at ÂŁ45,000 from Westbury Garden Rooms, features stunning stained-glass detailing and an ornate rooflight for an authentic appearance
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The popularity for nurturing exotic plant species in hothouses has endured from the Victorian era through to present day. Learn how to cultivate your very own year-round indoor tropical oasis
Words and photographs Leigh Clapp Clockwise from above: A lush collection of ferns, fuchsias, pelargoniums and other tender plants under glass at Parham House in Sussex; over wintered and propagated succulents make a lovely display; this classic-style glasshouse is in constant use for propagation, growing on and for crops such as tomatoes and peppers
lasshouses appeared in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries, designed to nurture the vast quantities of exotic plants that were being brought back by explorers, plant hunters and the ‘Grand Tourists’. Prior to the mid-19th century, a glasshouse was an object of awe, to be found on the estates of grand country houses, as only the wealthy could afford the expense of glass used; they were beyond the reach of the average person.
HotHouse Heyday The Victorians certainly popularised the fashion for cultivating exotic plants under glass in the golden age of gardening. With the repeal of the glass tax in 1845 and the window tax in 1851 reducing the cost of glasshouses, an emergence of new wealth from the Industrial Revolution, and an expanding empire, manufacturers began producing functional versions, in response to the demand and social changes. Technical advances contributed, too, such as mass-produced paints, mechanised brick making, new materials, increased production of wrought iron and the growth of the railway network. Designs for glasshouses varied in sizes and became lighter, less ornate and specific to use – which included the cultivation of exotic and ornamental plants, display houses, ferneries, vineries, cutflower houses, potting sheds, hothouses, cold frames and conservatories. The craze for conservatories and glasshouses flourished. Since over 80 per cent of the world’s flora originates in warm, temperate and tropical parts of the world, hothouses allowed a wide range of plants and flowers to be cultivated. With the development of cast iron and coal-fired heating, glasshouses also featured in kitchen gardens, allowing exotic crops to be grown, and could be found in both private and public gardens. Horticulturalists could extend the growing season, enabling plants from warmer climates to survive the inclement British winter. However, the British glasshouse heritage was nearly lost as many beautiful examples from the 19th century were demolished and replaced with soulless, utilitarian designs in the 20th century. Luckily, there has been a recent revival in their fortunes, with many Victorian and Edwardian hothouses now being restored, and a range of manufacturers revisiting the gracious and elegant designs of these eras.
GrowinG panes Today, the theory behind the glasshouse remains largely the same, but with the benefits of modern climate control and lighting systems. Growing plants under protection, whether in orangeries, hothouses, greenhouses, conservatories or glasshouses, allows you to control the growing ➤ 140 Period Living
Clockwise from top left: Cacti and succulents on a traditional tiered theatre; enjoy a striking display of bougainvillea from summer to autumn in a conservatory; a moveable display in a mini glasshouse on wheels; select a sheltered spot with good light levels for a greenhouse; shelves abundant with mini tomatoes and entwined with tendrils of cherry tomatoes at West Dean
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environment, propagate your own stock and nurture a whole range of plants that otherwise would be too sensitive to grow outside. If you only have space for small scale, there are still many options, from mini-greenhouses, cold frames and polytunnels, to cloches. Frames and mini-greenhouses are useful to wean greenhouse plants to the outdoor conditions, while a cloche – in effect a portable microclimate – is used to protect seedlings in spring in the kitchen garden, or weather sensitive plants through winter. Plants grown under protection depend on you to provide all their needs – light, temperature, moisture and humidity. Consider the following: OPosition your greenhouse where it will get good light levels year-round, sheltered from winds and close to a tap and power point. OAvoid extremes of weather as that can damage plants; it is important to have a thermometer and check it regularly. OFluctuating weather outside is magnified inside. OVentilation is essential for constant air movement to prevent fungal infections; adjust the ventilation to maintain the temperature. OWatering is key as plants can dry out quickly. OKeep your greenhouse clean and tidy; an annual deep clean is a good way of clearing it thoroughly. OAllow space for plants to grow as this also helps stop diseases developing. OAccept that there will be some pests in your greenhouse, just as there are in the garden. OThere is a multitude of exotic beauties you can grow under glass. To stay true to the Victorian origins, consider growing citrus, pineapple and peach, or oleander, hibiscus, orchids, impatiens, begonia, palms, camellia and fuchsias.
EXPERT ADVICE John Myers is head gardener of Fairlight Hall, a historic garden in Sussex that has, at its heart, a large glasshouse. A temperate and tropical specialist, he was also part of the restoration of Kew’s Temperate House. He advises: ODivide your glasshouse into sections, such as a place for propagation, one for growing on, and a section for plants that will permanently live in the glasshouse. This will allow you to meet the plants’ needs better and make life easier in the long run. OA well-staged glasshouse gives a more professional look, with the largest plants at the back and smallest in the front. Mix foliage, colour, shapes and sizes for a good effect. OGrow something fun and unusual, such as protea or Tibouchina urvilleana – you’ll be surprised at all the interesting plants that can be grown under glass. OIf you don’t have a budget for a glasshouse, use your windowsills. Windowsill propagators are available and plants such as cacti and succulents will be just as happy and don’t take up much space. 142 Period Living
GARDENS TO VISIT ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS KEW, TW9 3AE. The world’s
largest surviving Victorian glasshouse. Open year-round. Adults £16.50, children £4.50. Tel: 020 8332 5655; kew.org RHS WISLEY, Surrey GU23 6QB. Cathedral-like glasshouse covering a size of 10 tennis courts, filled with tender plants. Open year-round. Adults £14.50, children £7.25. Tel: 020 7821 3170; rhs.org.uk WEST DEAN GARDENS, Sussex PO18 0QZ. 13 working Victorian glasshouses. Open Feb to Dec. Adults £9.50. Tel: 01243 818210; westdean.org.uk BICTON PARK BOTANICAL GARDENS, Devon EX9 7BG. 1820s palm house, tropical, arid and temperate houses. Open year-round. Adults from £10.75, children from £8.95. Tel: 01395 568465; bictongardens.co.uk BIRMINGHAM BOTANICAL GARDENS, B15 3TR. With the character of a Victorian public park, there are four glasshouses, ranging from Tropical through to Subtropical, Mediterranean and Arid. Open yearround. Adults £6.75, children £4.72. Tel: 0121 454 1860; birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk
Image (Hartley Botanic) © Hartley Botanic
Clockwise from above left: A clean and tidy greenhouse will be a pleasure to work in; this small lean-to conservatory is covered in potato vine; for success with an exotic orchid collection make sure there is adequate light; this rustic wood greenhouse is a perfect fit for a cottage garden; choose a colour to suit the design of your garden – this Victorian Terrace from Hartley Botanic is in a bespoke Charcoal tone
TRADITIONAL GREENHOUSE SUPPLIERS ALITEX, Hampshire GU31 5RG. Home of the modern
Victorian greenhouse, with a National Trust range. Tel: 01730 826900; alitex.co.uk HARTLEY BOTANIC, Greater Manchester OL3 7AG. Victorian glasshouse range. Tel: 01457 819155; hartley botanic.co.uk THE VICTORIAN GLASSHOUSE COMPANY, Sussex RH20 2DZ. Specialist in restoration and supply of 19th and
early 20th century glasshouses. Tel: 01798 874580; victorianglasshouse.co.uk FOSTER & PEARSON, Sussex RH14 9DP. Faithful to the Victorian originals. Tel: 01403 782868; fosterandpearson.co.uk GRIFFIN GLASSHOUSES, Hampshire SO24 9SQ. Bespoke greenhouses, glasshouses and orangeries. Tel: 01962 772512; griffinglasshouses.com GABRIEL ASH Chester CH3 6QP. Wooden greenhouses endorsed by the RHS. gabrielash.com Period Living 143
exotic shades Handmade and painted by Indian and Balinese artisans, the beautiful new parasols from the East London Parasol Company make an eye-catching garden feature. Available in a range of rainbow colours, from primrose yellow to vivid turquoise, the 2m tasselled shades feature hand-painted designs in gold ink, with carved durian wood poles. Pictured are the Goldie, Bette and Jane designs, £399 each.
GARDEN j ur colour and s, and enjoy
floral fortUne Bringing magnificent blooms in swirls of white, pink and red to gardens in late spring, peonies are also one of the favourite flowers of homeware designer Sophie Allport. The voluminous perennials decorate her new range of picnic ware, including this Peony picnic blanket, £35.
Feature Rachel Crow
UsefUl and beaUtifUl as great fans of the Victorian arts and Crafts movement, the PL team were thrilled to spot the new William Morris Gallery deckchair collection at WeloveCushions, priced £99 each.
The Stitch Society’s artisan Susie pinafore apron in natural linen, £55, handmade in Yorkshire, is hardwearing and comfortable – perfect for the vegetable or cut-flower curators.
EXPERT TIPS... SPRING FLOWER IDEAS Kevin Toms is head gardener at Sedgwick Park Gardens in Sussex
TIDY IDEA Store away the garden hose when not in use on this ornate wall-mounted, cast-iron hanger, £25, The Farthing.
CALL ON HOME HELP
Just as we are all individuals with our own likes and dislikes, so are houseplants; what may be good for one, is not always right for another. So learn how to nurture happy plants indoors with these Care Cards, containing easy reference advice for 32 popular indoor botanics – from how much water and light they need, to advice on root rot or repotting. £12.95 from Another Studio.
ist... l doO HARDEN off half-hardy
o plants by placing them outside
ON THE BOOKSHELF Captivating, mysterious and a symbol of love since the days of Ancient Greeks and Romans, roses have enjoyed enduring popularity. With about 3,000 varieties available in the UK, there is one for every type of garden. In this new book, Claire Masset explores the rich history of the flower and Britain’s classic rose gardens. Roses and Rose Gardens, £14.99, National Trust Books.
MICRO-CLIMATE Working in collaboration with the Eden Project, LSA International has created a new range of planters made from 100 per cent recycled glass. Based around the themes of propagation and hydration, the Canopy collection includes the glass domed Closed Garden, £40, for nurturing a miniature biome.
during the day for 10 days before planting out O TAKE cuttings of tender perennials and shrubby herbs, such as sage O MOW the lawn regularly – a little, often, is better than a lot occasionally O TIDY up trailing and spreading plants, such as aubrieta O MULCH the soil when it’s damp to suppress weeds and prevent plants drying out
ETERNAL FLAME Create a romantic ambience to spring evenings spent alfresco with some soft, flickering candlelight. Bloomingville pink ceramic lantern, £59, Beaumonde.
Spring at Sedgwick is the most wonderful time in the garden. The daffodils give way to thousands of bluebells that flower from mid April to late May. These make the most of the sunlight that reaches the woodland floor before the full tree canopy casts its shade. The spring show continues with the planting of rhododendrons and camellias, which give an abundance of flowers. We have needed to rejuvenate some of the rhododendrons by cutting them back to the base of the plant to get the shape and form back. When the Camellias are budding, this is the time to give them plenty of water to encourage the buds to flower. At Sedgwick we take pride in all of the water features. The many ponds are planted with marginal plants, such as marsh marigolds, Caltha palustris, which are easy to maintain. Once the first flowers are over, prune to ground level and they will provide you with a second bloom into early summer. The water irises, Iris pseudacorus ‘Golden Queen’ also make wonderful marginals with their bright yellow flowers. The marginal borders would not be complete without the many different varieties of ferns. These look wonderful and give so much depth, but are so simple and easy to maintain – just a quick run around with the secateurs at the end of the season and they are ready for the lovely fresh growth in spring. The White Sea, which is the largest sunken pond, is planted either side with euphorbias, which when in flower turn the water yellow from the reflection. Just to the right of the White Sea are a cluster of areas known as the island beds. These come to life in late spring with the flowering of thousands of different varieties of aquilegia in many colours, which burst through a carpet of vibrant heathers – the show is spectacular. The aquilegias are left to self-seed and the display is better year after year. Guided tours of the garden are available by appointment for small groups from May until September. Tel: 01403 734930; sedgwickpark.com
In the kitchen garden, Lavandula angustifolia â€˜Imperial Gemâ€™ edges one side of the path, with a colourful herbaceous border, billowing with a mix of roses, aquilegia, verbena, campanula and candy pink Lychnis coronaria, fringing the other
Sleeping beauty Having first discovered and awoken the gardens around their elegant home, developing them is now an ongoing and gradual process for Susie Challen and Marc Beney Words and photographs Leigh Clapp
hen they were looking to move out of London in 2011, Susie Challen and Marc Beney cast their net wide. It was fortuitous that they had such a broad search area, for how else would they have discovered The Mount, a beautiful Victorian villa in a rural area near Rochester in Kent? They were both instantly seduced by the garden, with its romantic overgrowth and the potential it offered. ‘We were told that the garden was magnificent post war, but it had largely returned to nature when we arrived,’ explains Susie. ‘We have worked unaided to clear and rediscover it, without any plan or pictures from before.’ With many areas left to grow wild for years, ivy scrambled across lawns, a large dead oak dominated the south-west skyline, misshapen yews blocked views, and the garden was dotted with a mix of self-sown elm, Holm oak and laurel saplings. There were wonderful original features remaining, however, including mature specimen trees, such as a cedar of Lebanon, meandering paths and steps, varied aspects, and romantically tumbledown Victorian vine and soft fruit houses glimpsed out of the thicket. ‘We have since learned what effort is involved to realise even a part of the garden’s potential, but we are continuously rewarded by seeing our plans come to fruition as the seasons pass,’ says Marc. Wrapping around the house, the sloping, terraced plot is separated into areas, each with its own micro-climate, use and aspect. These include a walled kitchen garden, an old grass tennis court now with a double spiral mown labyrinth, and a yellow and a white garden next to a Victorian pavilion and croquet lawn. ‘We have gradually opened up the garden – which was partially inaccessible and dark with evergreens – to the light, clearing a lot of dominant monoculture and adding variety and productivity, always wanting to try new ideas,’ says Marc. This is the largest garden the couple has tackled, but with a shared interest in plants their knowledge has accelerated through hands-on experience of digging, clearing, planning and planting. ‘The planting decisions and propagation are mainly my domain, while Marc creates the structure and hard landscaping. Apart from some initial fencing and on-going tree surgery, we have both undertaken all the work ourselves,’ Susie explains. It was not easy for the couple to establish what lay underneath the overgrown areas until each was cleared, so the garden has evolved in a piecemeal fashion with no overall plan. Their initial focus was to re-establish the kitchen garden, all of which remained were two overgrown Victoria plum trees, a glorious walnut tree, a lidless cold frame and a greenhouse that had seen better ➤
150 Period Living
KEY FACTS Character Colour themed borders with a mix of formal structure and informal planting, divided by paths, hedges and walls, a walled kitchen garden, croquet lawn, and Victorian outhouses in various states of repair Size 1.75 acres Aspect The garden wraps around the south-facing house Soil Neutral, sandy, with pockets of clay Owners Marc Beney and Susie Challen since 2011 House Built in the early 1850s by Reverend George Goodenough Lynn, whose sister, Eliza Lynn Linton, sold the family home to Charles Dickens about the same time Open The Mount, Wainscott, Rochester, Kent, is open through the National Garden Scheme in July (ngs.org.uk)
Above: Marc and Susie work as a team to transform their beautiful garden Above right: Campanula, or bellflower, blooms give soft blue violet tones in the border that work well with a wide range of harmonious lovely colours Below right: Annual poppies unfurl their pretty petals through the summer
Above: The yellow and white themed bed by the croquet lawn features towering spires of pale lemon Eremurus ‘Charleston’, sulphur achillea, spikes of salvia, double white Paeonia lactiflora ‘Duchesse de Nemours’, with foils of silvery stachys and Euphorbia characias ‘Humpty Dumpty’ Left: Alliums and foxgloves dot the border by the front of the house, while a stately urn set on a plinth draws the eye
Period Living 151
days. After clearing ivy along the brick wall, repairing the greenhouse and cold frame, reseeding the lawn and adding rainwater collection tanks, they planned out paths and beds. Planting began with an abundance of fruit trees, raised beds for vegetables and billowing herbaceous choices in a 25-metre flower border. Today, a mix of climbing roses adorn the walls, blending from pinks to the dark burgundy Rosa ‘Falstaff’. The fruit harvest offers a wide range, from Mespilus germanica ‘Nottingham’ (medlar) and Morus nigra ‘Chelsea’ (mulberry), to pears, plums and apples, while a four-bed rotation vegetable system supplies produce through the year. Susie and Marc’s aim is not to be selfsufficient, but rather nurture crops they love and which may be hard to find in the shops, all grown in as natural a way as possible. ‘The kitchen garden is usually the most sheltered spot, so it is a great place to set out a table to entertain family and friends under the large walnut tree,’ says Susie. Now known as the yellow and white garden, the area to the south-west of the house has been cleared, levelled and a hand-sown lawn created for the enjoyment of croquet. It is bordered by a romantic, billowing mix of yellow and white flowers, including foxtail lilies, Achillea ‘Moonshine’ and Salvia sclarea ‘Vatican White’, framed by low box hedging. ‘On a hot summer’s evening this is the best place for a cool breeze and to watch the sun go down, so for evening scent I’ve added seed-grown annual Nicotiana ‘Lime Green’,’ Susie explains. Below the lawn, Marc skilfully rebuilt the retaining wall and created a path along the length of it, fringed on one side with tall bearded irises in tones of blue, purple and copper, and on the other by the beginnings of pleached limes. New plans abound, in particular the renovation of the collection of Victorian hothouses in the sloping area beneath the croquet lawn. Across the garden, the palette is considered, with the aim for year-round interest; winter aconites, snowdrops and crocuses, through roses and perennials, to flamboyant dahlias, asters, winter jasmine and holly berries. ‘Colour combinations are important, so there are gradual transformations, such as in the kitchen garden where colours move from light and pale to strong and dark, or the emphasis on strong colours at the front of the house,’ explains Susie. ‘When the sun is shining and the birds are singing, it feels a wonderful thing to be working in a garden,’ adds Marc. ‘We benefit both from looking at the surrounding landscape and the efforts and inspiration of our predecessors, and hope that some of what we set in train now will endure to give pleasure to those that come after us.’ ➤ 152 Period Living
Gardens Clockwise from left: Around the house the areas are more formal, with urns adorning the terrace; scented roses in tones of crimson, pink and cream smother a wall in the kitchen garden beside the raised beds of produce; a little seating area in a corner of the walled garden is framed by neatly clipped hedging infilled with euphorbia and poppies; Rosa â€˜Rambling Rectorâ€™ drapes over a frame leading down to the lower area of the garden
SUSIE’S GARDENING TIPS O Formal structure can be infilled with exuberant
informality to work well together. For example, hedging Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’ in the kitchen garden and Taxus baccata in the yellow and white garden, underpin the more informal and blousy summer growth. O Fresh greens in May and June, such as the lime green bracts of euphorbia, add structure and work with all other colours. O It’s both cost saving and rewarding to grow new plants from seed for infilling beds and borders. We buy a few new packets each year to try out; we also let some plants, such as foxgloves and aquilegias, go to seed and self-sow – although you may need to thin them out as they can take over. O Plants are quite forgiving to the amateur, so don’t worry too much about doing the wrong thing. 154 Period Living
Above: Tufts of Lavandula x intermedia ‘Olympia’ seen in the dappled sunlight by the gate, add to the sense of linear division between areas of the garden
IN THE AREA KEEPERS NURSERY, Maidstone ME15 0LE. Leading
online specialist fruit tree nursery, with open days in September and October. Tel: 01622 326465; keepers-nursery.co.uk DOWNDERRY NURSERY, Hadlow TN11 9SW. Specialist lavender nursery. Open May to 30 September, Thurs–Sun (10am–5pm). Tel: 01732 810081; downderry-nursery.co.uk RESTORATION HOUSE, Rochester ME1 1RF. Elizabethan house with walled garden made up of formal and productive areas. Open May – Sept, Thurs and Fri (10am-5pm). Entry, adult £8.50, child £4.25. Tel: 01634 848520; restorationhouse.co.uk BISHOPSCOURT, Rochester ME1 1TS. Home to the Bishop of Rochester, with a historic walled garden. Open 22-23 June through the National Garden Scheme (ngs.org.uk)
ts n u a j g
Jo us ti
How does a castle celebrate its 900th birthday? With an England v France medieval jousting tournament, of course. At least, that’s how Leeds Castle, near Maidstone in Kent, will be marking its special milestone on 25-27 May as brave knights battle it out on horseback in the magnificent setting of the moated castle. If you prefer four wheels to four legs, don’t miss Motors by the Moat on 11-12 May, with a stunt show, and vintage and supercars in the castle grounds. Priced at £26 for an adult’s unlimited annual pass. Visit leedscastle.com for details.
MAY j ur l Feature Karen Darlow Photographs (Workhouse) © National Trust; (Ballet) Guy Farrow; (Charleston) Tony Tree; (Jousting) Leeds Castle Foundation
go, things t things inter
SCOTTISH SHOWTIME! This month sees the start of county show season, a chance to enjoy all that’s special about the nation’s farming traditions. Ayr County Show at the Racecourse on Saturday 11 May, promises showjumping, cattle and sheep classes, vintage tractors, a young farmers’ tug of war, and more than 100 trade stands. Adults £15; accompanied children under the age of 14 go free. For details of the day’s events visit ayrcountyshow.com
Famed as a melting pot of literary, intellectual and artistic creativity, the Sussex home of the Bloomsbury group opens its garden gates to the annual Charleston Festival on 17-27 May. With a packed programme of debates and talks from inspiring thinkers and writers of our time, this year’s is the 30th anniversary event and includes talks and readings by Alan Bennett, Michael Palin, Simon Callow and Naomi Wolf – to name but a very few. Festival tickets start at £16. For full programme details, visit charleston.org.uk.
VICTORIA – THE BALLET IN THE WORKHOUSE For those who found themselves destitute in Victorian times, there was often no option than to live out their days in the workhouse. It’s hard to imagine the desperation families must have felt, as men, women and children were segregated and ‘inmates’ subjected to a punishing regime of repetitive work in return for meagre portions of food and an uncomfortable bed. Now visitors can find out more about the harsh realities of life there, as the National Trust’s Nottinghamshire Workhouse reopens on 23 April following restoration work. Visit nationaltrust.org.uk/theworkhouse for details.
The latest offering from the dance dream team that is Northern Ballet keeps things right on theme this month. The company’s touring production of Victoria runs from 9 March-1 June, and promises to be a choreographic treat for anyone who likes their costume dramas on points. For more information visit northernballet.com, where you’ll also find booking details. Period Living 157
Built on the healing sulphur springs, Yorkshire’s celebrated spa town is renowned for relaxation, gorgeous gardens and afternoon tea Feature Holly Reaney with additional words by Karen Darlow
uring the Victorian and Edwardian eras, Harrogate was a tourism hotspot for the health-conscious elite, who each summer flocked to the town in their thousands, eager to experience the healing properties of its famous spa waters. The Royal Pump Room was built upon the site of Europe’s strongest sulphur well, and taking the waters became known as ‘The Harrogate cure’, thought to alleviate all kinds of ills. While such noble visitors as Tsarina Alexandra of Russia had water administered inside by an attendant, the local poor were able to use an outside tap. Now a museum, the Pump Room presents Harrogate’s fascinating spa history, featuring a temporary exhibition programme as well as permanent displays. Although natural spas were popular in 19thcentury Britain, today only seven remain from the 158 Period Living
era. One of these is Harrogate’s Turkish Baths and Health Spa, on Parliament Street. Featuring original Islamic architecture and authentic décor, the baths offer a unique and highly relaxing spa experience. With its rich, sulphurous waters and reputation as an area of tranquillity and relaxation, it’s no surprise that Harrogate has gardens galore. Take a trip to the glorious RHS Garden Harlow Carr or visit the Grade II-listed Valley Gardens, in the nearby city of Ripon, where there are 36 different mineral wells – more than any other place in the world. No trip to Harrogate is complete without a spot of afternoon tea at the legendary Bettys café tea room. It’s just a short walk from the Montpellier Quarter, where you can shop for homeware, antiques and more in 50 boutique stores. With so many delights to offer it’s easy to see why Harrogate has consistently been voted the ‘happiest place to live in Britain’.
Photographs (Harrogate Town Centre) Getty; (Turkish Baths) © turkishbathsharrogate.co.uk; (Hale’s Bar) © Dan Amat, (The Chapel) Alex Telfer, (Bettys Tea Room) © Olivia Brabbs
Heritage weekend... Harrogate
out and about was renovated in 2013 to reinstate its rich history, uncovering original wooden beams, and a stone display alcove as well as installing a real log-burning fire. In 2016, a ‘secret’ garden was added, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy their drinks in the sunshine, surrounded by beautiful flower displays. For more details visit halesbar.co.uk.
Where to stay
Opposite: the formal gardens between West Park and Prospect Place Above: Britain’s most restored Victorian Turkish baths Left: Dating back to the 17th century, Hales bar is a quintessential Yorkshire pub
A night in a museum? Well, almost. Full of quirky artworks, antiques and collections, The Chapel is a boutique B&B with a difference, set in a converted Grade II listed Wesleyan chapel in the heart of Harrogate. Each of the rooms is decorated with a different theme, including the balcony suite, with its stunning view out to the chapel’s central space, and an oriental room with its ceiling hidden under layer upon layer of parasols which also double as ceiling lights. The chapel’s original stained glass has been restored, old pews were upcycled into kitchen cabinets, and two contrasting living spaces created one a boudoir with a gallery wall of vintage sewing machines, the other a gentleman’s club style space full of military memorabilia. An overnight stay costs from around £175, and promises to be fascinating. Visit thechapelhg1.com to book. ➤
Where to eat Celebrating its centenary year, Bettys sets the standard when it comes to elegant afternoon teas. Book a table in the Imperial room to enjoy crisp white linens, gentle piano accompaniment, your choice of Bettys’ teas and, of course, silver cake stands laden with bite-size savoury treats and dainty sandwiches, and exquisite cakes, macaroons and scones. This is afternoon tea exactly how it should be: a visual and gastronomic treat with a real sense of tradition and occasion. The Lady Betty Afternoon Tea costs £34.95 per person; £42.95 with champagne. Visit bettys.co.uk to book. Specialising in craft beer and artisan real ale, Major Tom’s Social uses its laid-back and quirky atmosphere to celebrate the best in Yorkshire breweries. A favourite with locals, its famous stone-baked pizzas are made fresh on site, while the décor, with walls covered in vintage film and music posters, paired with mismatched sofas and bench tables, makes for a characterful venue. For more details or to book call 01423 566984 or visit majortomssocial.co.uk. Reminiscent of an old coaching inn, Hales Bar is the oldest and most historic pub in Harrogate. Established circa 1827, the property
Above: Filled with unusual finds, The Chapel is as much a gallery as it is a hotel Left: Don’t leave without visiting Bettys café tea rooms
Period Living 159
French and Swedish furniture as well as oil and watercolour paintings circa 1920–1940 – the perfect place to find something special for your home. To explore this Aladdin’s cave in more detail, visit the Harrogate store or see a sample of its collections at 27westpark.co.uk.
Where to visit
For a more conventional stay, the White Hart hotel is impressive from the outset. Located in the Montpellier Quarter, this Grade II-listed Georgian pile features arched windows overlooking the leafy Stray parkland, and rich grey-rose stonework. The elegance continues inside, with high-ceilinged rooms decorated in a modern neutral palette with country-style fabrics. Situated only a 10-minute walk from the main town centre, the White Hart is the perfect base for exploring Harrogate. Rooms start at £49 per night and can be booked at whiteharthotelharrogate.com.
Where to shop Covet is a treasure trove filled with unique and unusual decorations, interiors and gifts sourced from every corner of the globe. Expect to find ornate trinkets from Marrakesh bazaars and award-winning Middle Eastern jewellery contrasted with the clean lines of Danish design and cosy Arctic skins. Covet aims to source its products ethically, using fair trade suppliers and recycled and reclaimed materials, allowing you to shop with a clear conscience. Browse the gorgeous selections in store or online at covetshop.net. Hosting over 70 dealers from across the UK in individual units, 27 West Park sells a delightful array of fine antiques, luxury vintage items, collectibles and statement furnishings. Only showcasing the highest quality items with rich provenance and rarity, 27 West Park offers a unique antiques shopping experience. In Unit 1, Kate Price’s selected pieces exemplify the best in 160 Period Living
Top: The White Hart hotel looks out across parkland Above: Covet prides itself on offering a wide variety of homeware and accessories from across the globe Right: Combining planting and sculpture, the Himalayan Garden & Sculpture Park is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon
2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the most northerly RHS Garden, Harlow Carr. Standing on what was once part of the Forest of Knaresborough, Harlow Carr offers a year-round showcase of horticultural excellence. Overflowing with trees, shrubs and wildflower meadows, flanked by the winding walks and shady arbours, the rejuvenated gardens abound with hidden treasures and offer contemporary planting to inspire. In this anniversary year, the annual Flower Show (21-23 June) plans to showcase how the gardens have changed and grown over time, as well as a wide variety of gorgeous Flower Show stalls, talks and expert advice. Entry to the flower show is free with normal garden admission. Finish off your adventure with a visit to Harlow Carr’s Bettys tea room. Tickets start at £11.80 for adults and £5.90 for children. For more details visit rhs.org.uk/gardens/harlow-carr. Home to more than 70 striking contemporary sculptures, the Himalayan Garden & Sculpture Park brings 45 acres of stunningly beautiful woodland to life. With 20,000 species of plants across its gardens and arboretum, including the North’s largest collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias, the garden has something for everyone and is the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring. Throughout 2019, the gardens will be unveiling a series of exciting new attractions, including five unique sculptures by Subodh Kerkar
Photographs (Himalyan Sculpture Park) © Rebecca Newnham, (Harlow Carr) © RHS/Jason Ingram, (Harewood House) © Tom Arber
Out and About
(the founding director of the Museum of Goa); a Norse Shelter set in the recently developed woodland area, which pays homage to the area’s Viking history; as well as an exciting project by local sculptor Anna Whitehouse, inspired by Pollen grains and made from clay dug from the Himalayan gardens. Tickets for entry to the gardens are £9 per person in April, June, July and autumn, and £10 per person in May. Child tickets cost £4 throughout the year and under 5s are free. You may already be familiar with the gorgeous Palladian mansion that is Harewood House without even knowing it. Recently it has been the opulent backdrop for ITV drama Victoria, with the State Rooms used as a proxy for Buckingham Palace. It was also featured in Mary Berry’s Country House at Christmas, and later this year will grace the silver screen in the upcoming Downton Abbey film. Only a short drive from the centre of Harrogate, and another on-screen favourite, Harewood House captures your imagination from the minute you arrive. Built between 1759 and 1771 for wealthy plantation owner Edwin Lascelles, 1st Baron Harewood, the house is still home to the Lascelles family and set amid award-winning gardens, designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. The grounds are worth visiting in their own right and are best seen by a boat trip across the lake, which showcases the walled and lakeside gardens in all their glory. Venture inside the house to discover an outstanding collection of Chippendale furniture as well as Turner’s oil paintings of the property and an ever increasing selection of historical artwork associated with the house. Throughout spring and
Top: Harlow Carr has one of the longest streamside gardens in the country Above: A short drive from the centre of Harrogate, Harewood House is home to a stunning art collection
summer 2019, Harewood is also hosting the exhibition Useful/Beautiful: Why Craft Matters, which will showcase 26 of the most exciting British-based makers from the worlds of fashion, textiles, ceramics, glassware. Displayed throughout the house, the project combines the craftsmanship of the property with modern artistry, seeking to answer the question ‘Why does craft matter?’and inspire debate about the role craft can play in culture, identity and society. This fascinating exhibition runs until 1 September. Tickets are priced at £15 for adults and £8 for children. For more information or to book tickets, visit harewood.org or call 0113 218 1010. Period Living 161
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Period Living 163
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In the Picture
eet Mlle Proche Giubelei. Though typical of her time, this poised young lady in her silk gauze gown and velvet hat is no ordinary plaything. She’s one of 128 jointed wooden peg dolls that belonged to the young Princess Victoria, their clothes made by the princess with the help of her beloved German governess, Baroness Lehzen. Mlle Proche Giubelei is dressed to represent the dancer of the same name in the ballet La Sonnambula, which the young Victoria saw in 1833. A regular visitor to the opera and ballets, the princess would sketch and make clothes for her nursery playthings based on the glamorous stage costumes in the performances she enjoyed.
The dolls are now in the Royal Collection, and survive in remarkably good condition because once Princess Victoria reached her 14th birthday she packed them away, bidding a symbolic farewell to the trappings of her lonely childhood as she prepared to succeed to the throne. As part of this year’s Queen Victoria anniversary celebrations, some of the dolls will be back on display at her childhood home, Kensington Palace, alongside many of her favourite possessions. The new displays will be on show from 24 May 2019, offering visitors a glimpse into the childhood world of the young princess. Visit hrp.org.uk for details of the exhibition at Kensington Palace.
178 Period Living
Words Karen Darlow Photograph Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019
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