COUNTRY LIFE FEBRUARY 15, 2017
Thanks for the memories
Heirlooms to stand the test of time
How to grow heavenly hellebores and make perfect pizza Trucks for real men and the raising of Mary Rose
1,500 DESIGNS OF CLASSICAL FURNITURE IN STOCK CABINETRY, UPHOLSTERY, LIGHTING, MIRRORS, PAINTINGS & SILK RUGS
A solid mahogany, rosewood crown and flame mahogany veneered mechanical centre table, the circular top with a finely cast brass gallery of repeating swags, above a brass moulding panelled frieze with four frieze swing drawers opening by the turning of the top, on floral panel capital turned and fluted legs with brass floral details to the fluting, on peg feet with brass details and cappings, joined by a pierced ‘compass’ stretcher. Inspired by a Napoleon III original. Width 36” (91.5cm) | Depth 36” (91.5cm) | Height 33” (84cm)
AVAILABLE TO VIEW IN YOUR HOME PRIOR TO PURCHASE - CALL FOR DETAILS The above piece is from a collection of exquisitely hand-crafted furniture inspired by the interior of Althorp House, built up over 500 years and 20 generations of the Spencer family for their home. View more than 120 pieces of Althorp Living History, endorsed by Charles, 9th Earl Spencer, in stock on our website. For every purchase of Althorp Living History furniture, we make a donation to Whole Child International, a charity founded by Countess Spencer to improve the lives of orphaned, abandoned, abused, and neglected children worldwide. Find out more at www.wholechild.org LONDON
608 King’s Road . London . SW6 2DX | Telephone 020 7610 9597 Open Monday to Saturday 10am - 5.30pm
Kingston House . High Street . Nettlebed . RG9 5DD | Telephone 01491 641115 Open Tuesday to Saturday 9am - 5.30pm
RESERVE ONLINE AT
Essex An accessible and historic private country estate Epping station (Central line) 1.7 miles, Waltham Abbey 5.5 miles, Central London 23 miles Enjoying panaromic views, an historic Grade II listed country house with excellent transport links, mature gardens and excellent facilities. 6 reception rooms, 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms (all en suite). Guest cottage, staff flat, estate office, 2 garage blocks, stabling, tennis court, swimming pool. About 24.8 acres.
Guide price: ÂŁ6,950,000 KnightFrank.co.uk/CHO130556
KnightFrank.co.uk/country firstname.lastname@example.org +44 20 7861 1065 KnightFrank.co.uk/bishops-stortford email@example.com +44 1279 213343
An elegant and imposing Victorian country home set within a small private estate of almost 20 acres, with a detached coach house and excellent leisure and equestrian facilities.
People Property Places
5 reception rooms •Kitchen/breakfast room •7 bedrooms •3 bathrooms •Detached 5 bedroom •coach house •Pool house with heated swimming pool •All weather tennis court •Triple garage Outbuildings • •Park-like grounds •Paddocks •In all about 19.45 acres •EPC rating F
Guide price: £3,000,000
Oxted 01883 712 375
firstname.lastname@example.org Offices in London & across the country
Kent One of the most exceptional houses located on the highly sought-after Wildernesse Estate Sevenoaks High Street 1.3 miles, Tonbridge 7.5 miles, London 36 miles 6 receptions rooms, 7 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, swimming pool, tennis court, triple garage, delightful gardens and grounds. About 2.52 acres.
KnightFrank.co.uk/country email@example.com +44 20 7861 5390 KnightFrank.co.uk/sevenoaks firstname.lastname@example.org +44 1732 744477
Heart of the Crown Estate OXSHOTT, SURREY Oxshott Station: 1.7 miles (London Waterloo from 24 minutes), Heathrow Airport: 13.4 miles, Central London: 20.5 miles, Gatwick Airport: 21.7 miles Stunning brand new property built to an exceptional standard by award-winning developers Royalton. Situated in the heart of the Crown Estate, this family home offers superb living space, an indoor swimming pool and staff accommodation. EPC = C About 0.7 acres I Guide ÂŁ6.25 million
Trevor Kearney Savills London Country Department
Louis Winterbourne Savills Cobham
020 3733 7543
Cambridgeshire, Guilden Morden
An enchanting Grade II* listed house in a moated position Ashwell & Morden Station: 3.7 miles (Kings Cross from 42 mins) | Royston: 8.3 miles | Cambridge: 15 miles Central London: 45 miles Hall | Drawing room | Dining room | Sitting room | Kitchen/breakfast room | Master bedroom suite | 5 Further bedrooms 2 Further bathrooms | 2-Bed cottage | Outbuilding with games room | 2 Offices and kitchen | Beautiful mature moated gardens | Tennis court | Woodland | Paddocks About 20.8 acres
60 Offices across England and Scotland, including prime Central London.
Guide Price £2,500,000
“History in a beautiful setting”
Mark Rimell Country Department | 020 3642 4591
Belinda Holmes-Smith Cambridge Office | 01223 859 970
North Yorkshire A beautifully renovated Grade II listed house with far reaching views Oswaldkirk, Thirsk 15 miles, York 19 miles Set in an outstanding edge of village position, this former rectory has excellent family and entertaining accommodation. 4 reception rooms, large kitchen/breakfast room, secondary kitchen, cellars, master bedroom suite, 2 guest bedroom suites, 4 further bedrooms and 2 further bathrooms. Gym. Garaging. In all about 11.45 acres. Further land available by separate negotiation extending to around 16.85 acres.
KnightFrank.co.uk/country email@example.com +44 20 7861 1114 KnightFrank.co.uk/harrogate firstname.lastname@example.org +44 1423 530088 Blenkinandco.com email@example.com +44 1904 671672
HENRI FANTIN-LATOUR Grenoble 1836 – 1904 Buré
Roses thé dans une flute à champagne Signed and dated upper right: Fantin 73 Oil on canvas: 15 × 12 ¼ in / 38.1 × 31.1 cm On view for sale at
147 NEW BOND STREET, LONDON W1S 2TS
15th – 21st February 2017
TELEPHONE: +44 (0)20 7493 3939
Specialising in Fine Antique Clocks & Barometers for over 40 years...
William Bullock - Bath An excellent West Country longcase clock with rare Rocking Ship Automata. The movement is of 8 day duration and strikes the hours on a bell. The 12” white dial is decorated with roses, foliage and gold leaf detail to the corners and Roman chapters to the centre of the dial. Also showing both seconds, date, matching blued steel hands and the makers name and place of work. The arch has the rare feature of a Rocking Ship Automata displaying a Castle Fort with a single soldier on guard. The Galleon is fully equipped with cannons and is shown in a rough sea with other tall ships in the distance. The mahogany case is veneered with the finest flame mahogany to both the trunk door and base panel. The case is also inlaid throughout with thick ebony veneer and also boxwood detail above the trunk door. The hood cresting is typical of the Bath area from this period. The hood also features brass capitals to the ebonised reeded pillars, a glazed access door framed with typical fret cut surround and three brass finials to the crested top. An excellent and desirable example.
Price: £8,250 / Height: 7’4” / C.1820 Note: William Bullock was born in 1777 and was the son of Thomas Bullock, Clockmaker of Bath. He worked at various places in Bath including Cold Bath, Claverton and 19 Claverton Street. He died in 1846. His Widow, Grace Bullock, continued the business until 1850 when it was taken over by William Vokes.
The Old Rectory, Main Road, Cherhill, Wiltshire SN11 8UX Tel: 01249 816227 - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
From Penistone Hill, Haworth
oil on canvas 102 x 102 cms 40 x 40 ins
The most recent landscape paintings plumb a new vein of lyricism, not just essaying the storm-tossed top moors, but a wider seasonal remit of light on verdure, with the russets of autumn varying the greys of winter. Andrew Lambirth
22 February â€“ 10 March 2017
2 8 C ork Street , London W1S 3 N G
Tel: + 4 4 ( 0 )20 74 37 5 5 4 5
w w w.messums.com
WORDS OF LOVE 23 FEB –17 MAR
All My Love–Golden Years
Acrylic and pencil on canvas 49 x 49 inches
All works can be viewed on our website www.portlandgallery.com To register your interest in works please contact email@example.com
P ORT L A N D G A L L ERY 3 BENNET STREET
LONDON SW1A 1RP
+ 4 4 ( 0)20 7493 1888
WOO L LE Y & WA L LI S SA L I S B U R Y SA L E R O O M S
FINE ART AUCTIONEERS
AN INVITATION TO CONSIGN JEWELLERY FOR THE APRIL 27TH SALE
TO BE INCLUDED IN THE AUCTION A four row natural pearl necklace. Estimate: £25,000 - £50,000
VALUATIONS IN SALISBURY or 17 CLIFFORD STREET, MAYFAIR. BY APPOINTMENT ONLY: firstname.lastname@example.org | Telephone: +44 (0)1722 424595 51-61 Castle Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 3SU, UK
w w w. w o o l l e y a n d w a l l i s . c o . u k
fine art design antiques
15 â€“ 21 march kingâ€™s road london sw3 badafair.com
WOO L LE Y & WA L LI S SA L I S B U R Y SA L E R O O M S
FINE ART AUCTIONEERS
SPECIALIST CHINESE ART AUCTIONS 16TH & 17TH MAY 2017 NOW ACCEPTING ENTRIES
An Important Chinese Imperial doucai guan. Mark and period of Yongzheng, 10.4cm. Provenance: purchased from Bluett & Son in 1947. SOLD FOR £968,000
VALUATIONS IN SALISBURY or 17 CLIFFORD STREET, MAYFAIR. BY APPOINTMENT ONLY: John Axford email@example.com | Telephone: +44 (0)1722 424506 51-61 Castle Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 3SU, UK
THE HARTLEY SALE HAS GROWN
Victorian Classic abutting glasshouse, Cambridgeshire
OFFERS EXTENDED UNTIL 6th MARCH For information call 0800 783 8083 or visit www.hartley-botanic.co.uk The only aluminium greenhouses endorsed by the RHS Â©The Royal Horticultural Society. Endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society. Registered Charity No 222879/SC038262
NOTHING ELSE IS A HARTLEY
COUNTRY LIFE ®
VOL CCXI NO 7, FEbRUaRY 15, 2017
Mrs Ashley Hicks With a degree in Political Economics and French Literature from Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA, Katalina, former digital director of Chanel, now runs a digital consultancy business in London. Photographed with her ‘dogters’, Miss Cara and Miss Mia Hicks, by Ashley Hicks
Contents February 15, 2017 Keepers at Chester Zoo are rearing this tiny Kirk’s dik-dik after the death of his mother. Thanos is too light to register on the zoo’s scales and is only 7½in tall— the species generally only reaches about 16in when full grown
Nina, Domino and Mopsie contemplate their ancestors (Craig Knowles/COUNTRY LIFE Picture Library) Hellebores
‘Their downfall is their extreme variability; they don’t come true from seed’ Each painstakingly created hybrid is unique, page 40
Chester Zoo/Cover Images; Clive Nichols; Andy Trowbridge/ naturepl; Christie’s
34 Merryn Somerset Webb’s Favourite Painting The editor-in-chief of Moneyweek chooses a work that reminds her of ‘small moments of calm in a chaotic time’
Three decades of work by Mike Byford have produced a remarkable collection of unique hybrid hellebores. Jacky Hobbs travels to Hazles Cross Farm in Staffordshire
48 Fifty shades of the grey seal
50 A Georgian renaissance John Martin Robinson looks at the recent restoration of Crichel in Dorset and its 1770s interiors by James Wyatt
‘They remain the most mythologised of all our marine creatures’ They may seem almost human, but they’re fearsome predators, page 48 Heirlooms
‘Their look, feel and smell can spark memories far more effectively than any photograph’ Cherishing family favourites, page 59
22 Country Life, February 15, 2017
Join Keep Britain Tidy for the Great British Spring Clean
40 Cover story One of a kind
David Profumo explores the ‘people of the sea’, creatures that can slow their heartbeats to dive to depths of 200ft
24 Town & Country
56 Visual Treasure: Skye terrier 59 Cover story Future heirlooms With expert advice from Christie’s specialists, COUNTRY LIFE presents its guide to buying the best in jewellery, furniture, paintings, sculpture, watches, wine and guns to pass on to future generations
33 Agromenes 38 My Week Ysenda Maxtone Graham will never be sick of singing
46 In The Garden Tom Coward sows the seeds
90 Property Market Penny Churchill finds a serene Irish estate with its own special magic
92 Property News
74 Streams of consciousness
A historic estate is the best heirloom of all, says Annunciata Walton
While in search of spawning trout, John Lewis-Stempel spots a kingfisher, a native crayfish and an otter
94 Performing Arts
76 Cover story Kitchen Garden Cook
Are today’s directors going too far, asks Michael Billington
Melanie Johnson gives the humble pizza an unusual twist by adding kohlrabi
96 Art Market
78 Cover story My kind of pick-up line
Huon Mallalieu picks up the pieces of America’s porcelain history
Charles Rangeley-Wilson is keen to go off-roading in the latest incarnation of the Isuzu D-Max
80 Interior design
Matthew Dennison applauds a show celebrating Vanessa Bell
Join Giles Kime to find out what leading figures in the design world have learnt from their heroes
76 A good read for the green-ﬁngered An avid reader of all things literary and horticultural, Bryan Kozlowski chooses his classic garden-book list
101 Cover story Dedicated Places Huon Mallalieu enjoys a visit to the Mary Rose Museum and gets closer to the wrecked ship
104 Bridge and Crossword 105 Classiﬁed Advertisements 112 Spectator Leslie Geddes-Brown catalogues her collections
112 Tottering-by-Gently www.countrylife.co.uk
Pinehurst II, Pinehurst Road, Farnborough Business Park, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 7BF Telephone 01252 555072 www.countrylife.co.uk
The enduring pleasure of treasure A Lthough Carphone Warehouse, Starbucks and Boots might be banishing the shops parodied in Victoria Wood’s Acorn Antiques from the high street, the demise of these quirky features of British life is no symptom of a trade in crisis. Like so other many bricks-and-mortar businesses, the antiques trade is evolving; many dealers have retreated to less expensive premises, such as barns and warehouses, or online, where they harness the power of websites and social media to reach an audience far wider and more responsive than the population of Manchesterford. In the mid market, the millennial generation is discovering that antiques are often more interesting and better value than anything to be found in a department store and, in the higher echelons, dealers and auction houses are being boosted by both a buoyant market for quality and a weak pound. however, the antiques trade is driven more by passion than by market forces;
aesthetic appeal, quality and provenance are far more nuanced and subjective than FtSE prices or analysts’ reports. And in an increasingly transient, digital world, they serve a role that is more vital than ever before: the tangible, sensual and sentimental quality of a much-loved possession —whatever its value—has the potential to crystallise a memory far more effectively than anything that could ever be posted online or stored on a hard drive. Antiques also serve another important purpose. It isn’t just the digital onslaught that’s made the world transient—so has mass manufacture. only a fraction that’s being made in the early 21st century has the capacity to make it to the 22nd. Even if we wanted to bequeath our flatpack furniture to our nearest and dearest, the chances are that won’t stand the test of time in the same way as a gillows library table or a Minton dinner service, which so eloquently express the enduring power of craftsmanship and high-quality materials.
It is for this reason that, in this week’s Country Life, we publish, in collaboration with Christie’s, a guide to heirlooms that explores the almost infinite possibilities of furniture, jewellery, paintings, sculpture, wine, watches and sporting guns that will not only give pleasure to their owners, but will do the same for their heirs—and their heirs’ heirs. the aim is not to give advice on speculative opportunities, but simply to highlight items that have the potential to give infinitely more pleasure than a deposit account or a buy-to-let property. In addition, there are descriptions by those who cherish more esoteric heirlooms, such as a lion-skin cartridge bag, badges from henley Regatta and a set of gold teeth. Although they might not have much commercial appeal, they have an almost talismanic power for their owners. Like the best heirlooms, they have the capacity to encapsulate human bonds and that’s what makes them priceless.
British Society of Magazine Editors Scoop of the Year 2015/16 PPA Specialist Consumer Magazine of the Year 2014/15 British Society of Magazine Editors Innovation of the Year 2014/15 British Society of Magazine Editors Columnist of the Year (Special Interest) 2016 Editor Mark Hedges Editor’s PA Rosie Paterson 555062 Telephone numbers are prefixed by 01252 Emails are firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial Enquiries 555072 Subscription Enquiries 0330 333 4555 Deputy Editor Kate Green 555063 Architectural Editor John Goodall 555064 Gardens Editor Kathryn Bradley-Hole 555065 Fine Arts & Books Editor Mary Miers 555066 Interiors Editor Giles Kime 555083 Managing & Features Editor Paula Lester 555068 Deputy Features Editor Victoria Marston 555079
News & Property Editor Annunciata Walton 555078 Luxury Editor Hetty Chidwick 555071 Art Editor Phil Crewdson 555073 Deputy Art Editor Heather Clark 555074 Senior Designer Emma McCall 555080 Picture Editor Lucy Ford 555075 Picture Desk Assistant Emily Anderson 555076 Chief Sub-Editor Jane Watkins 555077 Deputy Chief Sub-Editor Jeremy Isaac 555084 Sub-Editor James Fisher 555089 Digital Editor Toby Keel 555086 Property Correspondent Penny Churchill Group Managing Director Oswin Grady Managing Director Steve Kendall
Antiques & Fine Arts Manager Jonathan Hearn 01252 555318 Photographic Library Manager Melanie Bryan 01252 555090 PR Manager Victoria Higham 020–3148 5401 Senior Marketing Executive Harriet Blore 01252 555141 Commercial Director Property Rosemary Archer 020–3148 2610 Group Advertisement Manager Laura Harley 020–3148 4210 Country Johanne Calnan 020–3148 4208; Nick Poulton 020–3148 4232; George Amor 020–3148 2608 International Lucy Hall 020–3148 4206
Head of Market: Country & Gardening Kate Barnfield 07817 629935 Finance Advertising Kay Wood 07984 180657 Luxury Advertising Jade Bousfield 07583 672665; Jamie Coles 07773 801703 Gardening Advertising Alex Luff 07973 613407 Classified Advertising Robert Spencer 01252 555308 Advertising and Classified Production Stephen Turner 020–3148 2681 Inserts Canopy Media 020–7611 8151; email@example.com
Country Life, February 15, 2017 23
Town & Country
Edited by Annunciata Walton
Great British Spring Clean
AST year, 250,000 people pitched in to help with COUNTRY LIFE’s Clean for The Queen campaign. Now, the charity Keep Britain Tidy, our partner in the original event, plans to inspire twice as many to participate in its biggest clean-up yet, the Great British Spring Clean. Over the weekend of March 3–5, volunteers will do their best to clear up the litter that blights our towns, villages, countryside and coastline. So far, the initiative has the support of almost 400 English, Scottish and Welsh local authorities and some 700 events are registered on the website. A further 150 councils are also registered, along with 670 schools. As well as COUNTRY LIFE, partners include the RSPB, the Marine Conservation Society, Harrogate Spring Water, Coca Cola, Costa, the CPRE and the RSPCA. ‘We know that more than 50% of people are concerned about the
appearance of their local area, so we want them to feel that they can do something about it and they are not alone in caring,’ explains Allison Ogden-Newton, Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive. ‘If 500,000 people help us pick litter
for just two hours each, our country will benefit from one million hours of clean-up care.’ To get involved, visit www.great britishspringclean.org.uk
Yui Mok PA Archives/PA Images; Steve Vidler/Raymond Durrell/Alamy
Tip the scales of justice A
The bin man is back The anti-litter logo introduced in the 1960s has been reinstated, as it was discovered that Tidyman—the black silhouette of a man putting his rubbish in a bin—is far more recognisable than his green successor of a decade’s standing. From now on, Keep Britain Tidy will encourage businesses to use the original symbol on all packaging. 24 Country Life, February 15, 2017
FLY-TIPPING epidemic is blighting our countryside and more must be done, says the NFU. Last week, at Keep Britain Tidy’s annual conference, farmers highlighted the escalating problem, which last year saw 900,000 incidents of fly-tipping across England, a 5% increase from 2015. It is a sad fact that, now, two-thirds of all farms are affected by the dumping of items such as mattresses, carpets, dishwashers, furniture and black bags of household waste. This is ‘dangerous to human health, harmful to wildlife and livestock and, in some cases, pollutes watercourses and contaminates land,’ explains the NFU’s Phil Jarvis. Under current rules, farmers and landowners have to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds a year to have this rubbish removed, but the NFU believes they shouldn’t shoulder this burden alone and that it’s time for action from local authorities, the police and the Environment Agency,
with enhanced communication, investigation, prosecution and stop-and-search initiatives. ‘Although farmers and landowners do all they can to prevent fly-tippers—such as installing gates, barriers, warning signs, security cameras and lighting—in many cases, deterrents don’t work,’ says Mr Jarvis. ‘These fly-tippers are intent on breaking the law and they think nothing of cutting padlocks, breaking gates and smashing cameras.’ www.countrylife.co.uk
For all the latest news, visit countrylife.co.uk
Good week for Getting what you pay for A Government art hoard of 14,000 works, including Turners, Constables and Freuds, bought with taxpayers’ money over the past century, will go on public display at a new gallery Lakeland floods For the first time, the National Trust has planted thousands of trees across the Lake District, to trap rainwater and prevent future flooding Birdwatchers A young kestrel has adopted a CCTV camera on the M5 as a regular hunting perch; she likes to admire her reflection and has only attacked the lens a handful of times
Bad week for
In the red T
O celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Rhododendron Society, Caerhays Castle, Cornwall, is introducing a new variety, Red Centurion. Years in the making, the beautiful, deep-red bloom—a cross between the Elizabeth and Charles Michael varieties—has been officially recognised and registered with the RHS ahead of the garden’s reopening on February 20 (www.caerhays.co.uk; 01872 501310).
The estate’s 120 acres are famously home to more than 600 varieties of magnolia, as well as camellias, azaleas, acers and evergreen oaks, many sourced by 19th-century planthunters in the remote mountainous regions of China. The Rhododendron Society—now called The Rhododendron, Camellia & Magnolia Group—was jointly founded in 1916 by J. C. Williams, the great-grandfather of the estate’s current owner, and Caerhays’s Burncoose Nurseries, from which dozens of varieties and hybrids are sold, is now one of the biggest plant mail-order businesses in the UK.
For those in peril on the sea THE anniversary of the sinking of the SS Mendi, one of the worst maritime disasters of the 20th century to occur in British waters, but which is little known, is being marked by the publication of a new book by Historic England, We Die Like Brothers (£17.99). The SS Mendi was a British ship that sunk off the Isle of Wight on February 21, 1917, with the loss of 616 South African, mostly black, servicemen on their way to the Western Front. The ship went down in 20 minutes. In foggy conditions, the Mendi had been rammed by the Darro, a British mail ship twice its size. To compound the tragedy, the Darro’s captain made no attempt to rescue men who had leapt overboard into the freezing waters. The incident became a rallying cause for South African blacks in the Apartheid era and the authors of We Die Like Brothers, John Gribble and Graham Scott, examine the political repercussions, as well as its place in marine heritage. The wreck was only discovered in 1974 and is now listed under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986. Jack Watkins www.countrylife.co.uk
British security For the first time in decades, the Royal Navy doesn’t have a submarine on stand-by in the event of an attack; all seven of our ‘hunter-killer’ vessels are said to be undergoing repairs Salad days Olive-oil costs have rocketed due to erratic weather in the Mediterranean, as if lettuce rationing wasn’t enough Land Some 40% of farmland on the market during 2016 remains unsold or was withdrawn by the end of the year— the highest since Strutt & Parker’s records began in 1996
Newt to worry about
REAT crested newts may have only been Good newts! a tiny clause in last week’s Housing Builders and White Paper, but the little creatures amphibians are a big headache for developers have reached and landowners who need a licence a truce to remove the protected amphibians. Now, at last, a truce is in sight. The Government has backed a Natural England scheme, already operating in Woking, Surrey, in which newt strongholds will be surveyed and habitat enhanced or created before building begins. Wildlife Trusts Director Stephen Trotter says it’s ‘great news for newts’ and Housing Minister Gavin Barwell adds: ‘This will not only ensure the continued protection of this rare species, but will safeguard developers from delays, costs and uncertainty.’ The CLA suggests the scheme should apply to other building stoppers such as bats and dormice. Last week, the Heritage Lottery Fund gave £3.8 million towards resolving the standoff between bat conservationists and churchgoers who are fed up with clearing up the flying mammals’ corrosive mess. Proposals include ultrasonic-emission devices to deter bats from parts of the church, building bat boxes, establishing a volunteer network and promoting tolerance and harmony between church and bat communities. KG ➢ Country Life, February 15, 2017 25
Town & Country
More houses–but not on the green belt L
AST week, the Government announced plans to fix England’s ‘broken’ housing market and build new affordable homes. Some 250,000 new homes are needed every year, says Secretary for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid. The Government wants local authorities to develop ‘realistic’ plans and its Housing White Paper, released last week, prioritises brownfield sites, surplus public land and estates ripe for regeneration as opportunities for housebuilding. Where land is short, councils and developers should build higher. Mr Javid reassured sceptics that the new approach to housing ‘will not entail recklessly ripping up our countryside’. Indeed, protections for the green belt remain in place (Leader, February 8). Nor will higher-density housing mean a proliferation of unsightly tower blocks, because the White Paper gives locals a greater say over the design of new developments. The Government also intends to speed up the house-building process, introduce a Council Tax premium of up to 50% on empty homes, make renting fairer and diversify the construction industry.
The plans have been met with a mixed response. The CLA hails the paper as ‘a step forward’ for rural housing, although it has concerns about a hike in planning fees. Both the CPRE and the National Trust commend the focus on brownfield development and helping developers to build homes faster. ‘The Government’s assurance that it will not weaken green-belt protection is very welcome,’ says the CPRE’s Paul Miner. However, Mr Miner continues: ‘We must be careful that proposed changes to local planning do not put more pressure on our green belt.’
Green-belt land has been protected in the new Housing White Paper, but experts warn that the new plans may be tough to deliver
On the other hand, some experts, such as Naomi Heaton of London Central Portfolio, feel the paper offers no radical solution. Nick Leeming of Jackson-Stops & Staff laments that it doesn’t address Stamp Duty, which he perceives as a significant stumbling block in today’s market. Savills’ Lucian Cook thinks that the key question is whether the new strategy will be achievable. ‘I see two areas of tension. The first is can [the Government] deliver on housing when they’ve strictly ring-fenced the green belt? The second is do the local authorities have sufficient manpower to do all this?’ Carla Passino
Hoist the flag! T
HIS summer, hearts of oak will throb at the opportunity to view a rarely seen trophy captured in an engagement, the anniversary of which falls on February 18. This was the capture of the French ship Le Généreux in 1800; its huge Tricolour ensign was immediately sent to the City of Norwich, where it has spent the past century in storage. Now, this important icon has been unfurled for the first time in more than 100 years, allowing conservation work to be carried out before it’s shown in the exhibition ‘Nelson and Norfolk’ at the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery (July 29 to October 8). Nelson was off Sicily when the French ship was first sighted. ‘I pray God it may be Le Généreux,’ he exclaimed. He then urged the captain of his flagship HMS Foudroyant to beat the other ships of the squadron for the chance to fight her. However, it was to be the surprise appearance of the much smaller HMS Success that gallantly cut off Le Généreux’s flight. The French Rear-Admiral Jean-Baptiste Perrée died after having one of his legs shot off. The ensign, measuring 52½ft by 27ft, was hauled down as a sign of surrender. Enormous flags were necessary to distinguish the nationality of ships in the smoke of battle. This one has a special historical 26 Country Life, February 15, 2017
The Tricolour in Norwich may be the oldest in the world
importance, having possibly flown at the Battle of the Nile. It could also be the oldest surviving Tricolour, the red, white and blue having officially been adopted by the French in 1794. ‘The ensign is remarkable for its survival in such a complete state, given its age and inherent fragility,’ says Ruth Battersby-Tooke, curator of costume and textiles at the Norfolk Museum Service. Norfolk Museums Service is raising funds for its full conservation and permanent display as part of a Nelson gallery and has set up an online fundraising campaign page at www.ctacostume.org.uk. The work is likely to cost in the region of £40,000. Clive Aslet www.countrylife.co.uk
Country Mouse Magpie magic
VERY day, on some rough ground beside our offices, you can, if you’re lucky—or perhaps unlucky, for nothing in the countryside is so full of myth and omen— see 40 to 50 magpies at a time. The sound of their chattering, like someone shaking a matchbox. The number of small songbirds is noticeably sparse, for the magpie is the arch nest-robber of eggs and hatchlings. For reasons I can’t sensibly explain, I always nod my head when I see one; others salute or raise their hat and some countrymen have whole rhymes that have to be declaimed. These rituals are in place to ward off evil, although, as everyone knows from the most famous piece of bird lore—‘one for sorrow, two for joy…’—the number spotted at any one time is critically important to your prospects. These days, there are many more magpies than a century ago, which certainly keeps the superstitious busy. In 1688, revolutionaries met at the Cock and Pynot pub (pynot was the Derbyshire name for the magpie) and agreed to offer the throne to William of Orange and overthrow James II. In time, William III was to meet his own end due to the actions of a mole. MH
Popping with colour, this year’s Pastel Society’s Annual Exhibition will showcase the abstract and experimental alongside more traditional works— mostly en plein air, such as Sarah Bee’s Samphire Island (above)—in pastel, pencil, chalk and charcoal. COUNTRY LIFE readers can enjoy free entry for two by simply mentioning the magazine on entry. The exhibition runs from February 21 to March 4, 10am to 5pm (closes 3pm on the final day) at the Mall Galleries, London SW1 (020–7930 6844; www.mallgalleries. org.uk; www.thepastelsociety.org.uk).
AS PART of its bicentenary celebrations, south London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery is to have its own pavilion, set to be a fixture of the summer season. When it opened in 1817, Dulwich Picture Gallery (020–8693 5254; www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk), designed by Sir John Soane, was the country’s first purpose-built public art gallery. Now, his elegant building is to be joined, temporarily, by a mirrored pavilion with a cantilevered mesh roof. Opening in June, during the London www.countrylife.co.uk
Festival of Architecture, the Dulwich Pavilion will stage screenings, dance performances and workshops, with a cocktail bar. The design, by architecture practice IF_DO, beat that of 75; judges included outgoing director, Ian Dejardin. ‘With its chain mail dangling down from the roof, the canopy has a sort of watercolour effect and the whole idea of mirrors is perfectly Soanian,’ says Mr Dejardin. Soane, he believes, would have approved. Flora Watkins
February blues Robert Morris/Niday Picture Library/Alamt; Nofolk Museums Service/David Kirkham; Forbeg Massie
The new Dulwich pavilion was designed by British architecture firm IF_DO
ITH its plot hinging on a leap-year birthday, there could surely be no more appropriate beginning to a February half-term than a performance of The Pirates of Penzance. The matinee at the Coliseum was filled with a quite improbable number of children, some of them even dressed as pirates. They laughed their way delightedly through the performance and its sparkling music, quite as witty and satirical as the lyrics. Outside, winter gripped London, although the occasional swirl of a snowflake caused an ecstasy of excitement in our family party. The stallholders of the local market, now returning to their pitches after taking a well-earned January break, were understandably less than enthusiastic. At the newly reopened fruit-and-vegetable stall, however, I spotted the first blood oranges of 2017. The children were bewildered by my delight and responded with a volley of questions. They treated with crushing disdain my—as I thought—brilliantly extemporised explanation for the form of the fruit as well as the timing and brevity of its season (the absorbed blood of haggises hunted in the orange groves of Spain for Burns Night). However, they did enjoy them and agreed that they surely were one of nature’s answers to the February blues. JG Country Life, February 15, 2017 27
Town & Country Notebook Quiz of the week 1) What is the fifth letter in the Greek alphabet? 2) Which dramatist and poet is the only person to be buried upright in Westminster Abbey? 3) What is the varicella virus more commonly known as? 4) Which is the longest above-ground mountain range? 5) Octavia Hill helped found which British organisation in 1895?
100 years ago in
COUNTRY LIFE February 17, 1917
HE enclosed photograph is of a 300-ton hay stack, believed to be the largest in England. This huge stack was built last year by Messrs. Warren and Son, Ipswich. Measurements are as follows: length, 31yd; width, 11yd; height from ground to eaves, 16ft; height from ground to top of thatch, 30ft. I had a great difficulty in getting the photograph and eventually managed it by climbing on the roof of some sheds. An elevator worked by a petrol engine was used for building it.—S. A. Brown
Very British Problems By Rob Temple
‘Anyway, I shan’t keep you’ Translation: ‘If you could leave my house now, that would be lovely’ 1) Epsilon 2) Ben Jonson 3) Chickenpox 4) Andes 5) The National Trust
30 Country Life, February 15, 2017
Edited by Victoria Marston
The nature of things Skate
ERMAID’S purse is the romantic name given to the puffed-out egg cases of skate that used to be stranded on the beach by the retreating tides. Decades ago, they were commonplace on the south coast—brittle, black pods with horns (top right). I can’t remember when I last saw one. Although there was a time when this remarkable, rhombic-shaped fish was abundant and chalked up on the slate of every fish shop’s daily catch, the ‘common’ skate is now anything but. Officially classified as Critically Endangered, it has a real risk of extinction. What happened? Massive overfishing occurred in the 20th century, for its flavourful ‘wings’, and many died as bycatch in trawled fishing for other species. Miles of their seabed habitats have been destroyed, increasing mortality in an animal that takes 11 years to mature. Sometimes called the ‘manta ray of the North’, an unhindered skate may achieve a wingspan of 9ft and can live for 50–100 years. Although its underside looks comically human, the ‘eyes’ above its luscious lips are nostrils, the actual eyes being on the top surface. Their last British
stronghold is off north-west Scotland, where remaining populations still suffer stress and damage from anglers. Present EU law makes it illegal to fish skate commercially or to keep it on board if landed accidentally. KBH Illustration by Bill Donohoe
Time to buy
Cork Globe, £34.95, Prezzybox (0844 249 5007; www.prezzy box.com)
Loden Piccadilly suede one-pocket buckle briefcase, £445, Pickett (020– 7493 9072; www.pickett. co.uk)
‘If you confront anyone who has lied with the truth, he will usually admit it–often out of sheer surprise. It is only necessary to guess right to produce your effect’ Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express
Relaxing Gift Box with candle, oil and pillow spray, £55, Long Barn Lavender Growers (01962 738684; www.longbarn.co.uk) www.countrylife.co.uk
What to drink this week
Exhibition Until March 25 ‘Looking Back with Anthony Green RA’, Chris Beetles Gallery, Ryder Street, London SW1. Major retrospective selling exhibition of more than 40 works, dating from the 1960s to today, by the Royal Academician. Prices range from £450 to £25,000 (020–7839 7551; www.chrisbeetles.com)
True dry amontillado
A bracing sherry is just the thing to warm the bones, advises Harry Eyres
Until April 2 ‘Brick Wonders’, The Harley Gallery, Welbeck, Worksop, Nottinghamshire. Re-creations of the Seven Wonders of the World form the centrepiece of this display of more than 70 fantastically detailed Lego models (01909 501700; www. harleygallery.co.uk)
Festival February 18–26 National Parks Dark Skies Festival (above), various locations. A host of events including stargazing, walking, cycling, running and caving at night, as well as daytime activities, will take place across the North York Moors, South Downs and Yorkshire Dales National Parks. Visit the website for more details (www.darkskiesnationalparks. org.uk) Theatre Until March 11 Beau Brummell— An Elegant Madness, Jermyn Street Theatre, London SW1. Black comedy about the patron saint of dandies by Ron Hutchinson, starring Sean Brosnan and Richard Latham. Tickets from £20 (020–7287 2875; www.jermynstreettheatre.co.uk)
Household hints from 90 years ago Cut flowers Roses live much longer if the ends of the stalks are well bruised before putting them into water; poppies if the ends are either dipped in boiling water or burnt in the flame of a candle. Tulips will live longer if a little table salt is added to the water. From ‘500 Household Hints by 500 Housewives’, published by COUNTRY LIFE in 1926. We cannot vouch for the accuracy of any advice given
Food February 28 Shrove Tuesday Afternoon Tea, Ston Easton Park, near Bath, Somerset. Enjoy madeto-order pancakes alongside dainty finger sandwiches and fresh scones. 3pm–5pm, £25pp (01761 241631; www.stoneaston.co.uk)
and a horn-blowing competition, is in aid of the Hunt Staff Benefit Society. Tickets £100 (01285 653001; www.hsbs.org.uk)
Book now April 22 Dubarry Horn & Hound Ball, Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire. This Champagne reception and three-course dinner, followed by dancing, an auction
Knight Time By Margaret Noble
Dreamstime; Margaret Noble; COUNTRY LIFE Picture Library; Mark Bulmer Ebor Images; Nataliya Hora/Dreamstime
Plant sale February 18 Special Hellebore Day, Bosvigo Gardens, Truro, Cornwall. Opened this year by Poldark actress Emma Spurgin Hussey, the plant sale will also offer refreshments and a raffle in aid of the charity Shelter Box. 9.30am–4pm (01872 275774; www.bosvigo.com)
The days are getting longer, but the thermometer refuses to budge. February’s only virtue, a drily humorous English teacher who inculcated the rules of grammar and the rudiments of a sense of style once told me, is its brevity. He also alerted us to its etymology as the month of fevers. At this difficult time of year, you need Dutch courage—a wine that’s not just fortified, but fortifying. Why you should be drinking it If sweet, dense Port is the perfect wine for those dark months from November to January, then dry but warming amontillado sherry is ideally suited to this lighter, yet still bonechilling, time. True amontillado, as readers of this column well know, is bracingly dry, not medium-sweet. Medium amontillado is a bastardisation—the real stuff is, in fact, dry fino sherry that has gained a certain weight and nuttiness through a decade or more’s ageing in cask. What to drink The relative unfashionability of sherry means you can get superb-quality, aged amontillado at a very reasonable price. Sainsbury’s 12 Year Old Amontillado Taste the Difference (£8 per 50cl; www.sainsburys.co.uk, below) from Lustau is brilliant stuff and astonishing value; pungent, nutty, quite rich-flavoured, but dry, it’s perfect with soups or cheeses. You get more length and intensity with Valdespino Amontillado Tio Diego (£16.83; www.cambridgewine.com). Longer-aged amontillados can be finer still: the Antique Amontillado from Fernando de Castilla (£22.95 per 50cl; www.slurp.co.uk) is a beautiful, coppery-gold colour, extremely tangy and long on the palate.
Country Life, February 15, 2017 31
Letters to the Editor Letter of the week
Campaigning for our cattle
It’s Cupid calling A
ANY redundant telephone boxes now house defibrillators, but this one in a neighbouring village (above) is currently deployed to address other matters of the heart. Alan Field, Nottinghamshire
The writer of the letter of the week will win a bottle of Pol Roger Brut Réserve Champagne
A holy mission
FTER reading your article regarding dairy cows being kept inside (Town & Country, January 25), I decided to telephone Morrisons HQ to see if its cows were indeed made victim to such conditions. The company has confirmed that, unless milk is branded organic, then it’s likely that the animals are kept inside. I will endeavour to buy organic milk from now on and I thank COUNTRY LIFE for informing me that this is happening. Carl Jones, by email
N your March 4, 2015 number, you printed my letter regarding a Bible I had purchased in a shop in Mold, Flintshire. It belonged to Walter Henry Simpson, who had been killed at the battle of Manipur, Upper Burma, on March 25, 1891, serving with the 43rd Gurkha Light Infantry. After making a few enquiries, I can happily say that it’s now back where it belongs—with the Simpson family. Helen Higginbottom, by email
The art of politics
RITISH dairy farmers take the health and welfare of their cows extremely seriously. Cows should be able to exhibit their natural behaviour, which is why Red Tractor has specific standards for dairy housing. Nearly all British dairy farms are Red Tractor assured, which means that they’re inspected against animal health and welfare, environmental and food-safety standards. Shoppers can be confident in products displaying the logo and we urge the public to continue to back and value British dairy farming. Michael Oakes, NFU dairy board chairman
Woodn’t you rather sell it to us?
OUR correspondent bemoaning the lack of larger logs (February 1) should contact the Forestry Commission, which runs schemes replacing old or diseased trees with coppices of saplings. The Arundel estate manager could no doubt advise. Council parks departments also employ contractors who specialise in removing large trees that are cut down, perhaps when only one branch has broken off, in case they become a public hazard. I’m sure the contractors would welcome the chance to sell the limbs and trunks, which are cut into 4ft–6ft lengths, without the effort of sawing and splitting to meet perceived popular requirements. Penelope de Earthe Bond, Gloucestershire
Contact us (photographs welcome) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Post: Letters to the Editor, COUNTRY LIFE Editorial, Pinehurst 2, Pinehurst Road, Farnborough Business Park, Hampshire GU14 7BF (with a daytime telephone number, please) Time Inc. (UK) Ltd reserves the right to edit and to reuse in any format or medium submissions to the letters page of COUNTRY LIFE N.B. If you wish to contact us about your subscription, including regarding changes of address, please ring Magazines Direct on 0330 333 4555
NLIKE Athena, I am very disturbed that Tristram Hunt (right) is taking over the V&A (January 25). Surely museums and galleries should remain politically neutral and their contents reflect all shades of taste and opinion? Anne Noble, Manchester
HE market cross in my village of Aldbourne, Wiltshire, has, for generations, been inclined at about 45˚ (right) and its long axis is orientated north/south. It’s cast from one block of stone, so is deliberately inclined rather than just laid over for health-and-safety reasons. No satisfactory explanation has ever been offered for this and no other similar cross has so far been identified. Do any readers know of another example or an explanation? Alan Heasman, Wiltshire
COUNTRY LIFE, ISSN 0045-8856, is published weekly by Time Inc. (UK) Ltd, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0SU, United Kingdom. Country Life Subscriptions: For enquiries and orders, please email: email@example.com, alternatively from the UK call: 0330 333 1113, overseas call: 00 44 330 333 1113 (Lines are open Monday–Friday GMT, 8:30am- 5:30pm ex. Bank Holidays). One year full subscription rates: 1 Year (51) issues. UK £170; Europe/Eire €350 (delivery 3–5 days); North America $425 (delivery 5–12 days); Rest of World £330 (delivery 5–7 days) Periodicals postage paid at Jamaica NY 11431. US Postmaster: Send address changes to COUNTRY LIFE, Airfreight and mailing in the USA by agent named Air Business, c/o Liberty Express Distributions USA LLC, Suite 201, 153–63 Rockaway Blvd, Jamaica, NY 11434, USA. Subscription records are maintained at Time Inc. (UK) Ltd, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0SU. Air Business Ltd is acting as our mailing agent. BACK NUMBERS Subject to availability, issues from the past three years are £6 a copy (£8 in the EU, £10 overseas): 01733 385170; www.mags-uk.com. Subscriptions queries: 0844 848 0848. If you have difficulty in obtaining COUNTRY LIFE from your newsagent, please contact us on: 020–3148 3300. We regret we cannot be liable for the safe custody or return of any solicited or unsolicited material, whether typescripts, photographs, transparencies, artwork or computer discs. Articles and images published in this and previous issues are available, subject to copyright, from the photographic library: 020–3148 4474. INDEX: Half-Yearly indices, listing all articles and authors, are available at £40 each, and the Cumulative Index, listing all articles on country houses and gardens since 1897, at £40 each (including postage and packing) from Paula Fahey, COUNTRY LIFE Picture Library, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London SE1 0SU. Cheques should be made payable to Time Inc. (UK) Ltd. If two Half-Yearly indices from a single year, and the Cumulative Index, are required, the total price will be £80. Editorial Complaints We work hard to achieve the highest standards of editorial content and we are committed to complying with the Editors’ Code of Practice (https://www.ipso.co.uk/IPSO/cop.html) as enforced by IPSO.If you have a complaint about our editorial content, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Complaints Manager, Time Inc. (UK) Ltd Legal Department, Blue Fin Building, 110, Southwark Street, London SE1 0SU. Please provide details of the material you are complaining about and explain your complaint by reference to the Editors’ Code. We will try to acknowledge your complaint within 5 working days and we aim to correct substantial errors as soon as possible.
32 Country Life, February 15, 2017
For whom the bell rings
EGARDING childhood sounds (Letters, December 28, 2016), COUNTRY LIFE readers may have fond memories of old-fashioned bicycle bells. All too often, today’s cyclists rush by on pavements, but rarely use a bell to warn of their approach. Although cyclists may feel safer than on the road, their silent, speedy approach from behind on pavements is highly dangerous, especially to the elderly. Sue Balsom, Aberystwyth
Securing a future for British beef
Sweet memories HE feature about c o n fe c t i o n e r y (February 1) transported me back to my early schooldays at a prep school called Crow Hall in Downham Market, Norfolk. Every Monday, my sister and I, along with about 12 other weekly boarders, had to tip a small bag of treasured sweets into a large jar for everyone to share. My sister always had chocolate eclairs and I had Merry Maids, but, sadly, we didn’t always manage to eat our own choice when they were shared round after supper. The jar was always empty on a Monday morning, so I can only think the headmaster and his wife consumed the balance when we’d all gone home for the weekend. Mary Rudd, by email
COUNTRY LIFE FEBRUARY 22
Great British watercolourists; the art of wood engraving; the master maze maker; the pursuit of the pigeon; and the opening of the Dee Make someone’s week, every week, with a COUNTRY LIFE subscription 0844 848 0848 www.countrylife.co.uk
Wenn Ltd/Guy Harrop/Alamy; Jon Helgason/Gors4730/Chris Brignell/Dreamstime
E British are wont to celebrate the ‘roast beef of old England’, but there’s no doubt that we’ve lost out to the Japanese whenever the seriously rich pick their steak. Kobe beef tops expensive menus the world over, yet few realise that it was first popularised by the English. When, in the middle of the 19th century, the young Emperor Meiji lifted the ban on meat eating, it was the British Consul who wrote home commending the wagyu beef from the region round Kobe, commenting in particular upon the way the cattle were bred and reared. What’s more, it was British storekeepers who provided the beef for the foreign ships that increasingly called into Japan. Until Japan opened up to the world, cattle had been prized as a beast of burden, pulling heavy wooden ploughs through the fields. For centuries, the Japanese were forbidden meat. Even during that time, Kobe was famous for its cattle and, once the market was opened up, it provided huge numbers of animals for the British victualling businesses. Today, the Japanese understand just how special is their inheritance. A good steak restaurant in Tokyo or Kyoto will present the diner with a document laying out a family tree—not of the owner, but of the pedigree of the meat you are about to eat. The farm, the animal, its parents and grandparents are carefully presented on a sheet given before you choose your cut. The restaurateurs know you’ve come for quality. You want to know where the beef comes from and that it is indeed what it claims to be. These are not the huge steaks that pass for quality in the USA, fattened you know not where and fed on you know not what. Instead, you get, at most, 5oz of utterly prime beef, from a known source and with a known history.
Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s all anyone could reasonably want. What a lot these Japanese producers have to teach us. We in Britain have too often sacrificed quality for quantity. By making beef a commodity, we have reduced its value and made it commonplace, not unique. As a result, it’s not seen as special and doesn’t command a special price, so farmers have to produce more and more simply to make a living. That’s led to over-stocking and the industrialised farming that revolts so many. It doesn’t have to be that way. Wagyu beef, naturally pastured and properly managed, commands five times the price of the average carcass. It can’t be called Kobe, which now has a status akin to a French appellation controlée, but, it can, under the more general name wagyu, be produced by specialist farmers outside Japan. Up to now, that’s meant Australia and the USA, but, at last, it’s come to Britain. Many years of patient husbandry have enabled Andrew Deacon’s business to reach full maturity. From his herd of 400 head in Suffolk, he supplies some of the best-known restaurants in the country and the Breeders Association, formed in 2014, is now seeking Defra approval for a breed society. In a post-Brexit world, this is the kind of husbandry we will need if British agriculture isn’t to be decimated. We’re going to have to concentrate on quality not quantity. It shouldn’t just be wagyu beef that commands a premium—the great British breeds should be receiving the same attention. Identifying the farm, the parentage and the feeding regime, asking for a price based on quality not size, reclaiming the world for the Aberdeen Angus and refusing to produce mere commodity meat: that’s the future for beef in Britain.
By making beef a commodity, we have reduced its value and made it commonplace
Follow @agromenes on Twitter
Country Life, February 15, 2017 33
Fred van Deelen; Bodleian Libraries/University of Oxford
Athena was, therefore, delighted to see last year’s Culture White Paper, in which the Government stated its ambition to improve or maintain the UK’s global soft power ranking in terms of culture. All is not well with this ambition, however.
Build our cultural not well bridges, don’t withAlltheis ambition burn them of the White Paper,
AGNIFICENT country houses, castles, docks and stations, cathedrals, churches and chapels, historic mills and homes, canals, archaeological remains, historic landscapes and gardens are just some of the highlights of Britain’s rich and diverse heritage. The nation also enjoys an internationally renowned, highly professional and dedicated movement that works hard to care for them and to bring them to life, not to mention a creative, courageous voluntary sector that is the envy of many other countries. These riches are essential to the tourism and creative industries, so much so that they were one of Britain’s 12 USPs in the Government’s gloriously successful international branding campaign, Britain is Great.
What to see this week: Volcanoes at the Bodleian’s Weston Library, Oxford, until May 21 (01865 277094; www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk) Encounters with volcanoes, from a medieval description of smoking Icelandic peaks, witnessed by St Brendan, to Isabella Bird’s Hawaiian observations in 1872. Ash samples, maps, livid paintings, a fragment of charred scroll from Herculaneum and much else besides: don’t miss this small, but fascinating, show curated by volcanologist Prof David Pyle. Volcanoes: Encounters through the Ages is published by Bodleian Library (£20) A Casket of Pearls: Celebrating Twenty Years of Collecting is at Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Morrab Road, Penzance, Cornwall, until June 3 (www.penleehouse.org.uk; 01736 363625) Best known for its paintings by the Newlyn School of painters, this significant regional museum/gallery also has good collections of 19th- and 34 Country Life, February 15, 2017
Indeed, worryingly, last year saw the USA replace the UK in the overall top spot in the Portland Soft Power 30 Index (although, in point of fact, it did maintain its second place after the USA in the cultural index). It seems that the UK’s international reputation is at risk just when it is needed most. Next year is the European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH). With culture, wisdom and so many creative skills under my patronage, what else can Athena do but encourage everyone to celebrate this. For Britain, however, the EYCH comes at a particularly important time. The UK will still be a full member of the EU in 2018 and an enthusiastic take-up will send the message that co-operation
and collaboration post-Brexit can be replenished by cultural ties. As yet, however, our own government seems unenthusiastic about the opportunity. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has been castigated by Parliament’s European Scrutiny Committee as ‘lukewarm’ in realising the potential of this event. Even worse, a National Co-ordinator for the Year has yet to be appointed and, with less than 12 months to go, this needs to change. By contrast, it’s encouraging to hear of plans afoot from learned societies, professional bodies and historic-buildings groups to celebrate the EYCH. Clearly, the heritage movement is already taking the initiative outside the political institutions. Hopefully, support for this event can go even deeper. Millions of people who profess to enjoy our European heritage, as residents or visitors, could each make a personal pledge in my name to do something extra in 2018: to start up cultural exchanges and collaborations that are professional, voluntary, student or school-based or perhaps revive the town-twinning initiative. The aim is to illuminate both differences and commonalities and, above all, to make new friends and colleagues. Whether or not we are given a National Co-ordinator, let’s make 2018 work by preparing for it this year.
20th-century British fine and decorative arts, photography and archaeological artefacts. The exhibition shows how the collection has developed over the two decades since Penlee House underwent its major refurbishment and extension. Transferences: Sidney Nolan in Britain is at Pallant House Gallery, 9, North Pallant, Chichester, West Sussex, from February 18 to June 4 (01243 774557; www.pallant.org.uk) The first major show in the UK’s programme to celebrate the centenary of the Australian Sidney Nolan (1917–92), a leading international figure in 20thcentury art (www.sidneynolantrust.org). Focusing on themes that preoccupied him while living and working in Britain (from 1953)—and showing how he incorporated European influences into his Australian subjects—the exhibition will include the famous images of Ned Kelly and a display of his set designs and costumes for the Royal Ballet. A gouache by Pietro Fabris of Vesuvius erupting (1779) www.countrylife.co.uk
My favourite painting Merryn Somerset Webb Six Butterflies and a Moth on a Rose Branch by William Gouw Ferguson
Six Butterflies and a Moth on a Rose Branch, about 1690, by William Gouw Ferguson (1632/33– after 1695), 8in by 10in, Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh
John McEwen comments on Six Butterflies and a Moth on a Rose Branch Merryn Somerset Webb is Editor in Chief of Moneyweek and a columnist for The Financial Times
Scottish National Gallery; Neil Spence/Alamy
When I had small children, we rarely left the ground floor of the National Gallery in Scotland. Instead, we did the same circuit every visit. In the main door. Check out an ancestor of my husband’s on the wall to the right. Find the animals in all the paintings in the “Painting as Spectacle” section. And then on to the little room to the back left, just before heading for Pizza Express. There, I found this precise little painting, which I have popped back to see regularly ever since (the children can barely be dragged to galleries anymore). My daughter loves it, too, and when she was tiny, we spent ages marvelling over the intricacy and brightness of the butterfly wings against the darkness. Years after those happy outings, it still represents for me the small moments of calm in an otherwise completely chaotic time
36 Country Life, February 15, 2017
erguson may have been born in scotland, but, like many of his countrymen during the Civil War and Commonwealth, he exiled himself to the Continent. His speciality—sporting trophy pictures of hung dead birds—was a Dutch genre. His mastery has subsequently led fraudsters to add false signatures of the best Dutch masters—even the supreme Jan Weenix— to his pictures to raise their price. He is accepted in Holland as a painter of the Dutch school and his work is in the rijksmuseum and other major foreign public collections. He was not the only scots painter of the period to find success abroad. James Hamilton (germany), Jan Collison (Poland) and John Cruden (silesia) are other notable examples. Ferguson was recorded in utrecht in 1648–51 and, in 1660, rented a house in The Hague. In 1681, he
was living in Amsterdam, where, on June 28, he married sara van someren of stockholm. He was 48. According to Horace Walpole, ‘he lived long in Italy and France’, which may explain some pictures of eerie landscapes with Classical ruins. Two are over-doors at Ham House, London (richmond), once home of the Duke of Lauderdale. Lauderdale had Ham redesigned by the scots architect William Bruce, thus making it the greatest scottish house south of the border. sales of Ferguson’s work in edinburgh in 1692–93 suggest the ‘salmon instinct’ may have taken him home in old age. This delightful picture of a live subject shows small heath, common blue, meadow brown, red admiral, small white and painted lady butterflies and a large yellow underwing moth.
- In association with -
Weston Park Foundation 30 years on: Rediscovering a Collection Tuesday 21st February 2017 10.30am - 3.30pm Modern Curation: Conservation, Lighting and Interior Design TM Lighting, in association with Country Life Magazine and the Weston Park Foundation, are delighted to invite you to join an enlightening day at Weston Park, exploring the revitalisation, restoration and presentation of their art collection. Hosted by John Goodall of Country Life Magazine, the day will include guest speakers Harry Triggs and Andrew Molyneux of TM Lighting and Janie Money of Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler who will discuss modern curating techniques used to enhance the visitor experience in historic homes, including conservation, lighting, and interior design. The day will round oﬀ with a curator-led tour by Gareth Williams, of the Weston Park Foundation. Tickets: £40 including refreshments and a two course luncheon, or £20 without lunch. Weston Park, Weston-under-Lizard, TF11 8LE
To book tickets visit www.tmlighting.eventbrite.co.uk
Ysenda Maxtone Graham
The perils of singing in the rain
ou know those moments when you think: ‘When I’m on my deathbed, I’ll be glad I did it?’ I’ve just had one of those—and the deathbed moment may well come sooner because of it, but who cares? It was nothing as glamorous as climbing Snowdon or swimming the Channel. It was Evensong in Christ Church Cathedral, oxford, sung by the girls’ choir Frideswide Voices, on a rainy, murky Monday evening when I was officially not well enough. I wrote an email to say ‘so sorry, can’t come’ and the very act of writing that changed my mind.
kindly: ‘I don’t care where people go to church, as long as they go.’
I remember John Sentamu ticking me off for being an Abbey-goer
Illustration: Clare Mackie
I got into the car, turned the heat up, drove down the M40, parked in the drive of a kind friend, unfolded the Brompton and cycled past the Radcliffe Camera and into Tom Quad in the picturesque drizzle. To be in that cathedral, listening to the sweet sound of the girls singing canticles, instead of being in bed in Fulham was joyous. Frideswide, which was founded in 2014, is a proper choir, with cassocks, surplices, probationers and theory lessons and it aims to be as good as the top boys’ choirs. And why shouldn’t it be? It made me long to be a girl growing up today, now that most cathedrals have girls’ choirs alongside the boys’ ones and even the most sceptical can’t deny that, if you close your eyes, you can’t tell which sex is singing. Pausing only to accompany my middle son, a junior organ scholar at New College, to a Robert Quinney recital of Bach organ music, I cycled back to the car 38 Country Life, February 15, 2017
and drove home sucking Strepsils. Then I was properly ill for a fortnight. I still think, however, that the foible of saying ‘no’ at the moment you decide you actually mean ‘yes’ is the most life-enhancing aspect of human cussedness, the initial negative giving extra piquancy to the eventual positive. When anyone in The Archers flatly refuses to take part in Lynda Snell’s pantomime, you know for sure that they will end up being in it and excelling. For me, it was writing the polite but firm rejection letter to my future husband that proved the catalyst for falling madly in love.
E all have a chief aesthetic pleasure, of which we genuinely enjoy every minute. Mine (as you might have guessed) is choral services in cathedrals or college chapels—ideally, with no sermon.
It seems a miracle that sublimely beautiful services still take place every day of the year all over the country. I marvel at the unarrogant professionalism of 10-year-old choristers, who come in from the games field at teatime with muddy knees and sing intoxicating psalms before prep. I feel slightly guilty about going to Westminster Abbey rather than my local parish church for my regular fix—I’m also a Brompton oratory-goer, as my youngest son sings in the London oratory Junior Choir. This ‘high-end’ churchgoing means I’m spared the coffee rota and can just think prayerful thoughts while drinking in blissful counterpoint and plainsong. I remember John Sentamu, when he was still a priest in south London, ticking me off terribly for being an Abbeygoer, but when I chatted to our local vicar this week, he said
T the risk of being ‘disgusting of Tunbridge Wells’ (as well as disgusted), may I bring up the subject of loo paper? I imagine many readers, like me, do subtle but important ‘class signalling’ over the matter. It’s the loo—never the toilet—we bring up our sons (and husbands) to put the seat down and our paper of choice is plain, white Andrex. Imagine my dismay on discovering that Andrex has stopped making Classic White and has changed it to Classic Clean, which is, horror of horrors, patterned (or, as they call it, ‘embossed’) with little concentric circles and the word ‘Andrex’ in jaunty writing on every single sheet. My guests will think I’m the kind of person who prefers patterned loo paper and I’m absolutely not. That would be as bad as choosing hanging baskets over flowerpots or Waverley Notelets over writing paper, but what choice do I have? I wrote to the manufacturer, Kimberly-Clark, and asked. The new embossed kind has been a hit, it said. Apparently, the only plain white you can buy now is called ‘skin-kind’. Too embarrassing. Ysenda Maxtone Graham is the author of Terms & Conditions: Life in Girls’ Boarding-Schools, 1939–1979 (Slightly Foxed). She lives in London Next week: Kit Hesketh-Harvey www.countrylife.co.uk
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One of a kind Hazles Cross Farm Hellebores, Kingsley, Staffordshire
Three decades of work have produced a remarkable collection of unique hellebores for one nurseryman, yet they would be too expensive to put into commercial production and could disappear, finds Jacky Hobbs
Rich plum double on red stem
Go green: Helleborus abruzzicus x abruzzicus
Photographs by Clive Nichols
eLLebores are enchantingly and naturally diverse, their promiscuity ensuring that numerous hybrids can occur, either by accident or design. scientist and nurseryman Mike byford has tried to harness the more desirable traits that may occur Helleborus atrorubens of eastern Slovenia Coppery peach with plum stripes among the resulting hybrids and, over the past 30 years, he has amassed more than 1,000 individual named or, more frequently, just numbered, hellebore plants, which comprise a unique collection within his staffordshire polytunnels. Mr byford also holds a National Collection of wild species hellebores, many of which hail from eastern europe and further east, whose genetic inheritance is incorporated into his breeding work. In addition, there are numerous named, intersectional crosses and cultivars, plants resulting from enthusiasts creating hybrids that would not naturally (geographically) occur in the wild. They are usually the results of years of dedicated work, but the offspring is generally sterile, so their individual qualities are more readily replicable by division or micro propagation. âž˘ Above: Gold semi-double. Facing page: Dark anemone-centred, pink
40 Country Life, February 15, 2017
Above: Helleborus orientalis ssp. guttatus, from Georgia. Facing page: Almost black, burgundy solid double
However, the hellebores that most people enjoy best of all in their gardens are found among the hundreds of very variable, often fancy, but not always officially named hybrids collectively gathered under the umbrella heading of Helleborus x hybridus. Across three decades, Mr Byford has raised numerous very desirable hellebores in shades of lemon, apricot, plum, raspberry, cream, blackberry and pistachio. Some are perfectly cupped singles, others have froufrou anemone centres with rosettes of nectaries or wear full skirts of striking, double-layered petals. Despite the readiness to hybridise among hellebores, there is a downside, says Mr Byford: ‘Their downfall is their extreme variability; they don’t come true from seed.’ Therefore, presently, there is only one of each plant. There could be more, but replicating single plants by division isn’t commercially viable and micro-propagation is beyond Mr Byford’s financial reach. Consequently, his remarkable collect-
42 Country Life, February 15, 2017
Their downfall is their extreme variability; they don’t come true from seed
ion is fragile and lies in peril, for he suffers from a debilitating autoimmune condition known as Sjogren’s syndrome and these plants may perish without his devoted attention. A less flamboyant part of the collection comprises 28 recognised wild species hellebores. These are undoubtedly less threatened, as most still thrive in their natural habitats, although some species are becoming increasingly rare due to habitat loss. The species plants have been invaluable in providing much of the parent material for Mr Byford’s specialised breeding programme. ➢ Ray of sunshine: unusual buttery-yellow single www.countrylife.co.uk
sterile. Mr Byford’s collection incorporates historic intersectional breeding work, particularly by the 1980s hellebore breeding doyennes Elizabeth Strangman and Helen Ballard. Adding his own panache to intersectional breeding, Mr Byford has succeeded in creating and introducing the very rare cross, H. niger x thibetanus Pink Marble, bearing an alluring, fresh-faced, veined-pink single flower. The depth and geographic mix of Mr Byford’s hellebores exceeds any expectation of a National Collection. Added to this, he has a significant historic collection of named heritage hellebore hybrids. However, surely even more remarkable and desirable are the hundreds of no-name, potentially ephemeral plants, parented by this outstanding collection. Hazles Cross Farm, Hollins Lane, Kingsley, Staffordshire ST10 2EP (www.hazlescrossfarmnursery. co.uk; 01538 752669; mobile 07550 012662). Open mid February to late March, 10am to 3.30pm (closed Sundays and Wednesdays). Please telephone before setting off to check opening time if travelling some distance Above: Cream semi-double with a raspberry picotee edge. Right: Mike Byford at work, cross-pollinating his hellebores
In colour alone (and this can vary within each species), tones range widely, from white Helleborus niger to white/green H. orientalis, green H. foetidus and H. hercegovinus to delicate-pink H. thibetanus and smokydark H. purpurascens. Further variations in hellebores occur in their form, foliage and fragrance. H. thibetanus produces broad, pointy petals, whereas H. hercegovinus has a wild hairdo of tousled foliage. H. boconei and the recently identified H. liguricus are often scented. Blooms can be painted with speckles, spots, stripes and picotee edgings, all of which can be utilised in breeding something really special. Mr Byford’s National Collection of wild species is unique in that it contains multiples of each species, to show first their inherent variability and, second, potential geographic differentials; the provenance of each plant is known. Mr Byford draws 44 Country Life, February 15, 2017
Blooms can be painted with speckles, spots, stripes and picotee edgings
upon these peculiarities in the course of his breeding work. An example can be seen in H. niger. For more than a decade, Mr Byford has been making multi-generational crosses of straight H.niger, the popular ‘Christmas rose’ which is typified by a large white flower. He has repeatedly inter-crossed to augment an apparent but recessive green gene and the result is his creation of two beautiful white-flowered nigers with star-shaped, green central markings: Jade Moon and Jade Star. These are technically species nigers, albeit selected ones; they come true from seed, thus their longevity is assured. It is also possible to cross different species to create ‘intersectional hybrids’, most of which are typically
Grow your own collection When buying hybrid hellebores, choose them when in flower, to be certain of their colour and form. Buy species or vegetatively raised plants (those propagated by division or micro-propagation) to achieve consistency Hellebore hybrids are tough and tolerate both drought and shade. They flower best in full winter sun, which enhances their colours. In drier areas, some dappled summer shade may be useful Hellebores grow well in most soils, but thrive in deep, humus-rich loams with moisture deep down, but they do badly in waterlogged soils and high humidity. In such cases, raised beds are best. Mulching with well-rotted manure and leaf mould produces bigger and more abundant flowers
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In the garden
Great British menus start with the seeds
Martin Hughes-Jones/Garden World Images; RomboStudio/Shutterstock
VERY patch of soil in our kitchen garden at Gravetye must be used productively so we can supply our à la carte menu and produce the best flavours possible. An important part of this is selection of the best varieties, chosen in consultation with Chef George. Every day, he comes to the garden to see the crops and give his feedback. Each winter, we meet to review the previous season and plan the next one, before we place our seed order. This year, we will grow more than 150 different vegetable varieties from seed, each being carefully selected for the best flavour. We always have our tried-andtested varieties that we know will perform and nothing is more reliable than the humble radish. We sow them as early as March, under a cloche and, because the radish is such a fast crop (ready at less than four weeks in peak season), it can be used as a ‘catch crop’, sown into temporarily vacant ground. We’ve tried many, but Apache remains the best, with a unique sweetness to balance its spiciness. This year, we’re going to try a new black-skinned one, Black Spanish Round. Also fast-maturing are the turnips, which can be produced through most of the season with successional sowings. We harvest them when they’re still small —about the size of a £2 coin— but, prior to that, the marblesized thinnings are especially
Along with your favourite varieties, why not try some new ones this year to add taste and colour to your plate?
prized by George. These have the sweetest flavour and are beautiful on the plate, served whole with the leaves on. Tokyo Cross is one of the best-flavoured turnips for this treatment, having good, clean white flesh. Carrots are traditionally a staple of most kitchen gardens and we tend to harvest ours as ‘babies’. We’ve tried many varieties over the years, but, through trial and error, have found just three to be the most successful: Amsterdam Forcing, Rainbow Mix and Purple Haze, the latter being undoubtedly the best purple available. Through using cloches and a poly-tunnel, we can produce our baby carrots nearly all year round in the same way that we
Horticultural aide memoire No. 7: Divide herbaceous perennials Things are moving on rapidly in the growth department now, but it’s by no means too late to make significant improvements in the border before the garden routine switches to maintenance. Certain herbaceous perennials respond well to being divided just now as the young shoots are beginning to rise from the soil. The hardy cranesbills, Geranium species of every kind, are a good example. With a knife, remove little groups of shoots from the edge of the clump, cutting cleanly through to include the roots. Spirit these clumpettes away to fresh ground and they will flourish without further attention. SCD 46 Country Life, February 15, 2017
If you get just one exciting discovery, the effort is all worth it
do bulb fennel, which is a favourite of mine. For both, we sow them into plugs and start them off in the cold frame, to be later planted out in the garden or poly-tunnel, depending on the season. Autumn fennel plantings can be harvested from the tunnel throughout the winter, giving us a steady supply; Zeta Fino is excellent both for early and late sowings, having tolerance of the cold. Rondo is the tastiest, but only good through the summer, grown as a main crop. Starting vegetables off in plugs can be a really good way of giving the plants a head start and controlling the quality of the crop. This works especially well for producing baby leeks. These can be sown a pinch in each cell, then planted out and harvested in bunches.
Zermatt is the variety to use for this, although it does seem to resent the cold, so, recently, we have been using Northern Lights for winter leek crops. As well as our tried-and-tested varieties, it’s important to allow space to experiment with new things. Last year, our great discovery was the New Zealand yam or oca. It’s available from Marshalls as tubers and is planted in the spring, then lifted throughout the winter. It has a really unusual, lemony flavour, which pairs beautifully with fish and white meats. Not all of our experiments are successes and, for every discovery, we have to spend time on a few disappointments. Yacon, a close relative of the dahlia, was one that I had high hopes for. It’s handsome, with lush, heartshaped leaves reaching above one’s head and really quite easy to grow. The tuber is the bit to be eaten and used in a similar way to a water chestnut. However, it had a rather bland flavour and has been dropped. This season, I’m especially excited about a trial in the glasshouse with mini cucumbers. They’re supposedly far sweeter than the larger, more common varieties and Chef is very interested in using them in his garden salad. Highly recommended are Green Fingers F1 and Mini Munch. It’s always good to try new things, even if they don’t work and, if you get just one exciting discovery, the effort is all worth it. Seeds are available from www. dtbrownseeds.co.uk, www.dobies. co.uk, www.kingsseeds.com, www.marshalls-seeds.co.uk and www.suttons.co.uk
Tom Coward is head gardener at Gravetye Manor, West Hoathly, West Sussex (www. gravetyemanor.co.uk)
Next week: New plants to try www.countrylife.co.uk
email: email@example.com www.winterbornezelstonfencing.co.uk
Fifty shades of the grey seal Known as ‘people of the sea’ and often described as sad-looking, due to their huge, doleful eyes, the gigantic–yet surprisingly agile–grey seal can hold its breath and slow its heartbeat to dive to depths of 200ft, reports David Profumo
rizzled, wide-eyed and deceptively benign-looking, grey seals can weigh half a ton and snack on porpoises. Sometimes known as ‘people of the sea’, they remain the most mythologised of all our marine creatures. A denizen of remote and turbulent seascapes, the grey, or Atlantic, seal is larger and more formidable than the puppyish common, or harbour, seal (Phoca vitulina), which is that paler, spotted species generally gawped at by tourists as it basks on seaweedy shores. Also known as the brunswine, selchie or powart, the grey’s latin name—Halichoerus grypus or ‘hook-nosed sea pig’—is somewhat unflattering, but in Gaelic culture, where it has long been revered, it is simply ron-Mor: the great seal. With his thick folds of blubber, an adult bull grey can measure 11ft, although cows are significantly smaller. The skin is actually a brownish-olive and the head sports 48 Country life, February 15, 2017
a distinctive ‘roman’ nose (as opposed to the more retroussé profile of the common’s). However, when it comes to anthropomorphic features, the eyes have it: apparently soulful and expressive, greys are even supposed to weep and some admirers claim they dance and kiss, to boot. ‘To see through eyes/That only see what’s real,’ warbled elton John in Grey Seal (although even Bernie Taupin could never explain his lyrics). Big ron’s yodelling hoots are sometimes perceived as humanoid and greys are actually believed to respond to music, including church bells. The grey is an amphibious pinniped or fin-footed mammal. it uses its fore-flippers to ‘haul out’ on land, adopting a galumphing gait, but, in water, it is superbly swift, propelled by sweeps of its hind flippers, and is capable of diving down 200ft, holding its breath and slowing its heartbeat from 150 per minute to just 10 when hunting.
its habit of inquisitive surface bobbing— or ‘bottling’—makes it one of those animals that seem to observe us. Seals require some 15lb of food each day—crustacea, herring, squid and conger all have their approval: greys have a particular predilection for salmon and can wreak havoc in river mouths. They even travel far upstream—one was recorded in the Thames at Teddington—and are historically unpopular with those who make a living from the sea, including fish farmers, whose cage nets they often destroy. At an estimated 112,000, the UK population is about half of the entire world’s and they take hundreds of tons of fish each year. Some believe this largely protected, burgeoning population now requires management, but there are precious few votes in promoting seal culls, so alternative methods such as darting with contraceptive implants have been considered. www.countrylife.co.uk
The breeding season lasts from August to December and greys come ashore to form colonies (‘rookeries’) on far-flung islands and skerries—Treshnish, Haskeir and Rona being among their main sites. These become pungent places as, during the rut, the bull exudes a potent, tarry scent. Rampantly polygamous, Ron possesses an impressive baculum (penis bone) and every cow on the breeding beach tends to become pregnant. Both sexes starve for weeks during this period. Fertilisation is followed by delayed implantation, active gestation recommencing with the February moult. Single pups appear in late autumn, covered with a creamy natal pelage (lanugo) and are suckled on maternal milk so rich— 10 times fattier than a domestic cow’s—that the calf puts on 4lb every day until weaned. On both sides of the Atlantic, seals have historically been hunted—the skin was www.countrylife.co.uk
With his thick folds of blubber, an adult bull grey can measure 11ft
valuable for clothing and, before paraffin, oil-fuelled lamps and has medicinal properties. The sea pig’s reddish flesh was formerly considered sufficiently fishlike to be eaten by Catholics during Lent. In Canada, the once annual, gory carnival of ‘going to the ice’ to club whelps (often baby harp seals) each February habitually enrages ‘eco warriors’, although peoples such as the Inuit still depend on seals for survival and these creatures remain defiantly integral to their culture—their pinniped deity Sedna even has an icebergwater vodka named in her honour.
In Britain, especially among the maritime Celtic and Gaelic communities, deepseated myths abound concerning selchies, which were regarded as uncanny and only to be harvested by designated killers (often a hereditary role). In Orkney and Shetland, they were held to harbour the souls of the drowned or be Fallen Angels. Numerous tales of enchantment involve shape shifting, wherein seals shed their ocean skins to venture ashore in human guise—often as comely women— and passionate miscegenation results in tragic consequences. These fables about forbidden fruit—part of the Fairy Bride genre—underpinned certain clan histories. The MacCodrums of Uist and the Irish Conellys were both believed to have selchie blood in their veins, which accounted for certain physical imperfections—such as webbed fingers—that made them truly people of the sea. Country Life, February 15, 2017 49
A Georgian renaissance Crichel, Dorset, part II The Home of Mr and Mrs Richard Chilton, Jr
In the second of two articles, John Martin Robinson looks at the recent restoration of this magnificent Georgian house and its dazzling series of re-created 1770s interiors by James Wyatt Photographs by Paul Highnam
Left: The south façade, framed by a great cedar on the edge of the lake. Above: The newly restored dining room. The doors in the north end have been reinstated after they were discovered in the basement of the house
richel is one of the finest Georgian houses in Dorset. As we discovered last week, its unusual, even unconventional, design is substantially the result of the input of its late-18th-century owner humphrey Sturt. in the past century, however, it has undergone three ambitious phases of neo-Georgian remodelling by his descendants, as well as a recent exemplary restoration by richard chilton. These last changes have preserved the integrity of the many-layered history of the house and also re-created a spectacular series of 1770s interiors by James Wyatt. The 1st lord Alington died in 1904 and was succeeded by his son, humphrey. With his wife, Feodorowna, a daughter of the 5th earl of hardwicke (‘champagne charlie’), he embarked on ambitious improvements to crichel in 1905, notably the laying out of a very elaborate italian garden on the south front (removed after the Second World War). it was designed by harold Peto, who had been in partnership with Sir ernest George before he focused on garden design after recuperating in italy from an illness. There is no evidence for the architect of the interiors at crichel of about 1908–14, but they could also have been by Peto as he designed many houses in chelsea and was responsible for the Georgian interiors of the cunard liner Mauretania (1906), with panelling by h. h. Martyn of cheltenham. This ‘Georgianising’ at crichel involved the complete remodelling of Burns’s entrance hall, billiard room and family dining room in a remarkably convincing Georgian manner.
it also included the formation of the long Drawing room from two pre-existing smaller spaces and the addition of pilasters to the Wyatt Drawing room. lady Alington seems to have been closely involved in the work and had an eye for Georgian things. She claimed to have rescued the remarkable series of gilt rococo looking glasses from storage in the stables (several are still in the house) and she was certainly responsible for retrieving heirlooms from her own family house at Wimpole when the earl of hardwicke went bankrupt. Many of the edwardian fittings at crichel—notably, the chimneypieces in the entrance hall and library—are remarkably convincing in the Flitcroft manner and it is possible that they are genuine 18th-century items rescued from redlynch in Somerset when that house was demolished by lord ilchester in 1913. Glazing bars were also reinstated in the windows. As recorded by Country Life in 1925, crichel shows the sumptuous results of the edwardian refurbishment. Further work was done by the 3rd and last lord Alington around about the time of his marriage to a neighbour, lady Mary Sibell Ashley-cooper of St Giles, in 1928. This included the installation of central heating and the redecoration of the Wyatt Drawing room with blue silk on the walls. This was deemed a suitable background for lord Alington’s italian picture collection (he was a member of the Magnasco Society, founded in 1924, and a friend of the Sitwells). Unfortunately, at the same time, he removed Wyatt’s splendid Siena scagliola ➢ country life, February 15, 2017 51
the Wyatt Drawing Room and the large carved mahogany side tables in the dining room. They have added substantially to these retained contents with their own collection (Mr Chilton was a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum and Mrs Chilton president of the New York Botanical Garden), as well as acquiring appropriate late-18th-century furniture specially for the house. Thomas Jayne of New York and his assistant Egan Seward have advised on the decoration and furnishing of the house. New acquisitions include the chandelier, table and chairs in the dining room, all of appropriate scale and character, and the neo-Classical seat furniture in the Wyatt manner in the Drawing Room.
The decision was made to reinstate fully the missing Wyatt elements
Above: The main staircase rises to a long corridor with plaster decoration. Right: James Wyatt’s 1770s Drawing Room has been returned to its former splendour. The great Venetian window has been restored and the ceiling has been cleaned and retouched where necessary
Corinthian columns from the huge Venetian window at the south end of the room, which he thought over-scaled. He also added appropriate painted Classical panels by Cipriani to the lower walls of the staircase hall, which came from Arlington Street. In 1938, the house and estate were requisitioned by the Air Ministry for war training and many of the contents were dispersed at that time. Lord Alington himself died in 1940 while serving in the Royal Air Force, leaving his 11-year-old daughter, Mary Anna, an heiress. In 1946, the empty house was let to Cranborne Chase School. After Oxford, Mary Anna married Toby Marten and, together, they embarked on reviving the estate. In 1954, they secured a famous victory, retrieving land on Crichel Down that had been compulsorily requisitioned for war-training purposes. They won the land back in the High Court against the Ministry of Defence, securing the resignation of the Minister responsible, Sir Thomas Dugdale, later 1st Lord Crathorne. In 1961, Mrs Marten ended the lease to the school (which moved to New Wardour Castle in Wiltshire) and announced her intention to move back in, a significant moment in the postwar history of the English country house, paralleling the move of the Devonshires back into Chatsworth and the Bedfords into Woburn. She immediately embarked on the reduction, repair and redecoration of the house. Her initial intention was to use John
52 Country Life, February 15, 2017
Fowler as her adviser, but, when she called at his Brook Street showroom, she found it closed for lunch, so she turned to Malletts instead. Francis Egerton, the senior partner there, advised her on interior decoration and the acquisition of furniture and objects. E. F. Tew of Bath was appointed architect. Under Tew’s direction, the Victorian north wings of the house were demolished and the site rearranged to create a balustraded, sunken courtyard. This reused architectural features from Peto’s Italian Garden, which was grassed over to restore the Georgian landscape setting. All the main rooms (apart from the Wyatt Drawing Room) were redecorated in the 1960s, making the work at Crichel one of the most comprehensive postwar schemes in any English country house. A further campaign was undertaken in 1979–80, when Wyatt’s gallery over the south portico was re-created from the guest bedrooms into which it had been subdivided in the Edwardian period. The top floor became the family apartment, with wonderful views over the park and lake, and was redecorated by John Stefanides. After Mrs Marten’s death, the Chiltons bought the house in 2013, with many of the contents, including the Hardwicke portraits, the library bookcase, the Classical medallions of Roman emperors in the lobby, the Cipriani panels and chandelier in the staircase hall, the gilt Rococo looking glasses in the Long Drawing Room, the chandelier in
An especially happy new introduction is the blue-background, 18th-century wallpaper in the Long Drawing Room, which has strengthened the character of this Edwardian neo-Georgian room and makes a good counterpoint to the Rococo character of the gilt pier glasses and stucco ceiling. Elsewhere, Mallets decoration and furnishings have been retained, especially in the west hall and library. Mr Chilton was keen to reinstate the character of the principal Wyatt state rooms on the east front where 1930s alterations in the Drawing Room had left it bereft of the scagliola columns and Lord Alington’s wall silk was worn out. More seriously, significant elements had been removed from the east hall and the dining room in the 1960s. In the latter, Wyatt’s splendid mahogany doors at the north end—which once led to the serving room and kitchen—had been removed and replaced with a looking glass and the walls had been painted in an unhistorical scheme. The most significant 1960s Mallets alterations had been made in the east hall, where Wyatt’s ceiling with painted panels and a small sunken central dome had been replaced with a plain flat ceiling and the frieze and stucco decorations on the upper walls removed—Mrs Marten and her advisors had wrongly thought they were Victorian. The decision was made to reinstate fully the missing Wyatt elements and colour schemes. Peregrine Bryant was appointed the architect, with Patrick Baty as the specialist paint analyst and Hesp, Jones & Co of Beningbrough as the executants. The work was completed in 2015. ➢ www.countrylife.co.uk
1960s ceiling was removed, the central sunken dome was revealed and provided clear evidence of the Wyatt decoration in green and cream, part trompe and part moulded, similar to his and Rebecca’s scheme in the Saloon at Heveningham. The painted surrounding panels, also in trompe-green, have been re-created from Country Life photographs also by Christian Corgier. An unexpected bonus is the discovery under paper and paint of Classical landscape panels set in the rectangular Palladian architraves round the lower walls. These paintings have been restored, by Jane Rutherfoord, and add liveliness to the architecture.
The fully restored room is a notable testament to Wyatt’s genius as a designer
The east hall stands between the dining room and Drawing Room. Its Classical landscapes in grisaille, probably covered over in the 1830s, and the ceiling have been revealed again and elements of missing plasterwork reinstated during the recent restoration work
In the dining room, it proved possible to reinstate Wyatt’s double doors at the north end. The Country Life photographs of 1925 provided useful evidence. A further stroke of luck was the discovery of the original mahogany doors stored in the basement. The missing tympanum painting Homage to Demeter has been copied in the Biagio Rebecca grisaille manner by Christian Corgier. All the trompe bas-relief wall paintings by Rebecca have been cleaned and restored and their Classical subjects of assorted gods and goddesses are now clearly visible. The colouring of the walls formed a significant part of Wyatt’s original scheme, predominantly in characteristic shades of pale green. Mr Baty’s paint analysis confirmed all the original colours, especially the compli54 Country Life, February 15, 2017
cated scheme on the coved ceiling with its Raphael corner fans and elaborate Joseph Rose stucco of dolphin pedestals supporting vases, medallions and urns, interlacing festoons and paterae. As repainted by Hesp, Jones & Co, it is a triumph and the fully restored room is a notable testament to Wyatt’s genius as a decorative designer using a more chaste and refined Raphaelesque vocabulary than that of Robert Adam, whom he sought to emulate and succeed as the most fashionable architect of the day. The transformation in the east hall is even more dramatic. There, Mr Bryant has re-created the missing frieze and stucco oval wreaths, their outline and scale being apparent under the 1960s decoration, and the Country Life photographs also provided valuable detail of the missing elements. When the inserted
The restoration of Wyatt’s splendid enfilade has been completed in the Drawing Room. There, the Edwardian pilasters have been removed and the frieze restored. The walls have been re-hung with silk, which was always the intention, but repeating the pattern and colour of the 3rd Lord Alington’s choice. This now forms the background to full-length portraits that were already in the house, as well as landscapes from the Chilton Collection. The barrel-vaulted ceiling, a masterwork by Wyatt, Rebecca and Rose has been cleaned and touched up with the original— mainly blue and pink—colours ascertained by Mr Baty. Most important of all, a large Venetian window with scagliola columns that formerly dominated the Drawing Room has been restored on the evidence of the 1925 photographs. The diameter of the columns was clarified by their stone bases, discovered when the floor was opened up, and the Corinthian capitals are Wyatt’s favourite Pantheon model as deployed, for instance, in the hall and library at Heveningham. Kevin Gannon has re-created the Siena scagliola of the columns and an early-19thcentury white-marble statue of Venus on a plinth before the central arch completes the monumental climax of one of the great suites of neo-Classical rooms of England. In recent years, Wyatt’s greatest buildings have been reinstated one by one: the Etruscan Temple at Fawley, the Darnley Mausoleum at Cobham, the Egyptian Dining Room at Goodwood and the sculpture galleries in the Gothic Cloisters at Wilton. The state rooms at Crichel are now a worthy addition to this remarkable constellation of scholarly restorations. www.countrylife.co.uk
Visual treasures A Skye terrier on Skye
Photograph by Sarah Farnsworth
The winsome expression and silken, flowing coat belie the rugged hinterland of the Skye terrier—formerly known as the terrier of the Western Isles where they were used to flush out otters. It’s thought to be the oldest Scottish breed—one was discovered sheltering within the skirts of the executed Mary, Queen of Scots—favoured by aristocrats (Queen Victoria and Robert Louis Stevenson kept them) and immortalised through the tragic legend of the faithful Greyfriars Bobby, yet it’s the rarest of all terrier breeds; only 28 puppies were registered with the Kennel Club in 2016. This stately example is named Thor—he was bred in Norway and is owned by long-time Skye terrier aficionado Sine Threlfall of Ardvasar. His favourite things include salmon, playing rugby with hedgehogs and wallowing in lochs. KG
Country Life, February 15, 2017 57
Hooked on classics
Welcome to COUNTRY LIFE’s guide to buying pieces that will give pleasure to future generations. Heirlooms come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, yet, whatever their value, they have a capacity to encapsulate personal histories. A piece of furniture inherited from a parent is more than just a physical object; its look, feel and smell can spark childhood memories far more effectively than any photograph. And in a world in which so much is mass manufactured, heirlooms have the advantage of being rare, if not unique. The fact that they have survived so long is a testament to the craftsmanship and materials required to make them. The following pages also celebrate offbeat heirlooms, many of which have little value to anyone but their owners, to whom they are priceless, with expert advice from Christie’s specialists Fritz von der Schulenberg/The Interior Archive/John Minshaw
COUNTRY LIFE ¨
Shining examples All that glitters makes for treasured heirlooms, believes Keith Penton, Christie’s Head of Jewellery in London
Compiled by Arabella Youens
Christie’s; Gary Doak/Alamy; Kamil Macniak/Dreamstime; Ed Shepherd
ROM earrings and necklaces to signet rings and tiaras, jewellery accrues personal histories as they are passed from one generation to the next. ‘These associations can sometimes lead to a jewel acquiring an almost talismanic significance within a family,’ believes Keith Penton, head of jewellery at Christie’s in London. ‘Over the years, many family heirlooms have been sold, but we’ve noticed that there’s currently more interest in starting a new tradition and making a collection for the next generation.’ When it comes to buying diamond jewellery, there are three elements to consider, says president of the De Beers Institute of Diamonds Andrew Coxon: ‘Beauty, wearability and peace of mind.’ The best diamonds, he adds, are the ones that sparkle the most—in any colour or quality. ‘The test comes when you try on a piece of diamond jewellery: if you fall in love with it immediately and never want
Who wouldn’t want to inherit this late-19thcentury sapphire-anddiamond brooch (right) or this De Beers Talisman ring (far right)
My treasured heirloom
beside her bed when she died. She adored him. She never married. At home, I took the photograph out of the silver frame to polish it and another smaller photo fell out, clearly hidden behind it. It was of two officers in British Army uniforms of the Second World War. There are no names on the back. We have not a clue who they are, only that it seems very likely that one of them was someone she had loved very much, a relationship she wished to keep private. There is a story here we shall never know—and that is as it should be. We now have the two officers in another frame, in pride of place on the top of the desk beside Aunt Joan’s photograph of Clare’s father.
Michael Morpurgo, writer My wife Clare’s Aunt Joan, who was also her godmother, passed away a few years ago. She was a good age. She left us a photo in a silver frame of Clare’s father, the late Sir Allen Lane, founder of Penguin Books in 1935. Allen was a much-beloved cousin of Aunt Joan. She had the photograph
60 Country Life, February 15, 2017
to take it off, the diamonds have, as it were, chosen you.’ Mr Penton believes that antique jewels with elaborate designs have fallen out of favour in the past decade, but because of their inherent charm, he predicts a revival. ‘Don’t dismiss brooches, either,’ he adds. ‘With small adaptations, they would also serve well as hair ornaments or, with the addition of a discreet suspension loop, could be worn around the neck on a ribbon or wire torque for a modern look.’
Steer clear of anything too ‘edgy’, warns Mr Coxon: ‘Too much design or an extra number of facets should be avoided. The round brilliant is still the most desired diamond shape, but fancy shapes such as the contemporary cushion cut or the classic emerald cut are becoming more popular.’
£5,000 at auction One would be able to choose from a wide range of antique and modern jewellery, from the quirky and collectable to highly wearable pieces. The gemstone content might be smaller in this bracket, but it would still be
possible, for example, to find larger peridots, aquamarines, garnets and amethysts as well as other very colourful semiprecious gems enhanced by smaller diamonds.
£5,000 to 20,000 One can expect to find diamonds, including individual stones weighing in excess of www.countrylife.co.uk
a carat as well as some attractive emeralds, sapphires and rubies. A wide selection of bracelets of all periods also falls into this bracket and there is more choice of gem-set earrings.
£20,000 to £50,000 In this range, you will find good coloured stones (sapphires, www.countrylife.co.uk
rubies and emeralds), normally accompanied by a laboratory report stating the country of origin of the gemstone and attesting to the natural colour and clarity. Larger diamonds are also available in this range (four carats and above depending on quality) as well as signed jewels of all types and periods.
Expect to find larger single white diamonds in the six-carat range and above 10 carats at more than £100,000. You’ll also see iconic jewels by famous makers, fine-quality coloured stones, including Colombian emeralds, Burma rubies and sapphires, and, above £100,000, rare Kashmir sapphires, as well as fancy coloured yellow diamonds of a strong pure hue and small pink and blue diamonds. There will be a larger choice of signed jewels, wearable stone-rich Art Deco pieces and modern jewels by makers such as JAR and Graff.
Think about the shape and whether you prefer round or straight edges. If going for round solitaires on the hand, choose either a flashy round brilliant or a quiet classic cushion cut, but for a pendant, opt for a perfect pear shape. For straight edges, only consider the classic emerald cut as a solitaire on a ring, either in a square or rectangle. Then, it’s time to look at the colour: remember, this is a degree of rarity not quality. Icewhite cold is the rarest. It will cost twice as much as warm white, which is half as rare, but might sparkle just as much. When it comes to quality, don’t limit yourself to flawless or near-flawless. Look at beauty above everything else—this is what everyone else will love when you come to sell, so keep an open mind. Examine the provenance— cheap is often an expensive mistake when buying precious stones and, finally, size does matter. Buy the largest diamond that can be worn forever: ladies grow out of little diamonds and eventually leave them in a drawer. Andrew Coxon, President of the De Beers Institute of Diamonds
My treasured heirloom
Jane Churchill, designer My aunt, Nancy Lancaster, gave me a red-lacquer pear— she always said one should have something red in a room. It’s so simple, but beautifully made. Nobody had a better eye than she did. ➢
Country Life, February 15, 2017 61
Christie’s; Country Life Picture Library; Alexandr Vlassyuk/Dreamstime
NYONE in the market for quality pieces of classic sculpture and furniture with a rich and vibrant history will be happy to know that they’re easy to find and relatively cheap to acquire. Made using extremely technical skills that aren’t practised today by artists who trained in rigorous workshop systems, they are works of art that have stood the test of time and been lovingly and purposefully passed down from generation to generation. The most important ingredient for every purchase is love: whether you really want to live with that object for the rest of your life. These are pieces with many stories to unravel, such as the 18th-century Prussian amber chessboard Christie’s sold from the baronial Scottish castle at Blair Atholl. I discovered that the chessboard arrived at Blair Castle in secrecy, sent by the Duke of Atholl’s son, Lord George Murray, from his hideout in the Netherlands, following his unsuccessful attempt to depose George I in the Jacobite uprising of 1719. Imagine playing chess with your children or parents, knowing that the pieces you held had a role in such a crucial moment in European history. In the European Courts of the 17th century, exotic and rare materials were highly desired and incorporated into luxurious works of art. Recently, we have
My treasured heirloom
Nicky Philipps, artist My grandfather (Richard) Hanning Philipps left me his French easel, a wooden paintbox that’s basically a box with a drawer and folding tripod legs. It’s in perfect working order and is so much better engineered than the ones 62 Country Life, February 15, 2017
Objects of desire
Classic furniture and sculpture are a testament to the enduring power of craftsmanship, believes sculpture specialist Milo Dickinson seen a renewed interest in such objects from the Age of Exploration as younger generations have come to admire the extraordinary ability these craftsman had in shaping natural materials, such as lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, crimson coral from the Mediterranean at Trapani or porphyry from the Egyptian mountains, into magnificent works. In sculpture, modern eyes appreciate an insight into an artist’s creative mind and so terracotta figures and groups, often working models for a larger project, have become more sought after. In these models, you can often get the sense of the sculp-
produced today. He was a keen amateur landscape artist who went on to establish the Graham Sutherland gallery for the artist, at his home at Picton Castle in South Wales. When he was serving in North Africa as ADC to Gen Alexander, he and the General would have regular lessons from a young officer called Edward Seago, who later became a world-famous artist. These sessions, held after lunch in the General’s hut, were disguised as essential briefings that were not to be disturbed. It always comes with me these days on landscaping excursions.
tor working with his hands, manipulating the clay into different forms, his fingers working in unison with his brain.
£5,000 at auction For this amount, you could buy a large, high-quality bronze by one of the pioneers of animal sculpture in 19th-century France. Sporting bronzes by artists such as Pierre-Jules Mêne, Rosa Bonheur and Christophe Fratin were highly sought after by the aristocracy of Victorian Britain, but, since the 1970s, have been out of fashion and now represent remarkably good value. Regency Blue John urns, made from a semi-precious mineral mined in Derbyshire, can be bought for as little as £5,000 , although a pair would cost more, to sit either side of your fire as they do in houses such as Chatsworth and Kedleston.
£5,000 to £20,000 At this level, it’s possible to find finely worked ormolu objets d’art, such as wall lights and candlesticks by artists working in the new Rococo style of Jacques Caffieri, who was designing for the King at Versailles and Fontainebleau.
£20,000 to £50,000 A quirky but wonderful heirloom is a 15th-century Nottingham
French ormolumounted bois satine and amaranth parquetry bureau plat in the Louis XVI style, after Jean-Henri Riesener
alabaster carving. I have delighted in these eccentric scenes of the lives of saints and sinners since my father came home with a depiction of a serenely ambivalent but decapitated John the Baptist during my childhood. These rare survivals from pre-Reformation England have gained in popularity in recent years, but can still be picked up for about £20,000.
£50,000 and above Renaissance and Baroque bronzes were made by the finest sculptors of the day for the private pleasure of royal and noble patrons. Artists such as Giambologna, Barthélemy Prieur and Massimo Soldani-Benzi cast small-scale bronzes, depicting subjects full of drama or of the beauty and grace of pagan goddesses. They were meant to be held in the hand and admired. The authorship of these unsigned masterpieces passed down by word of mouth. Many such works can be purchased for less than a Picasso ceramic or a drawing by Tracey Emin. Closer to £50,000, it is possible to buy a commode or writing table by the world-famous Martin Carlin (one of MarieAntoinette’s favourite cabinetmakers) or a glistening Limoges enamel made at the height www.countrylife.co.uk
A bust of Milo of Croton after the model by Puget was sold by Christie’s in 2016 for $40,000 (£32,000), $10,000 over estimate
of the High Renaissance by celebrated enamellists such as Pierre Reymond or Léonard Limosin. These are objects that could grace any museum in the world and not look out of place, but in today’s market cost less than a new BMW. I know which I’d prefer to have.
Another view A beautiful little ivory head of the Jesuit missionary Saint Francis Xavier was carved by an unknown Philippine artist in the 17th century. It’s a symbol of European culture and her appetite for discovery at the time it was created. The head was formerly part of a larger wooded sculp-
ture carved for a church in the Philippines by local artists working with or under the command of, in this case, Spanish missionaries. It’s one of the finest Hispano-Philippine ivory heads I have ever seen and, given its size (about 4in high), is something that I often hold in my hands, feel the weight of and reflect upon the environment it was created in. I would love to keep it in my family as an heirloom and as a constant reminder of the complexity of our society and of the often dark history that shaped the world we currently live in. Andreas Pampoulides, Lullo Pampoulides (020–7494 2551; http://lullopampoulides.com) My treasured heirloom Charles Edwards, designer I inherited an English Knole sofa, of about 1880, from my mother. An antique dealer by trade, she found this on her travels in the 1950s and it’s been in every family home we’ve had since. It’s still covered in its terribly worn original blue velvet. It gives me great comfort to sit enclosed in its great drop wings, which are held together with its period tassels, although I sometimes have to fight the dog for a seat. ➢
Christie’s; WENN Ltd/Alamy; Phartisan/Dreamstime
HEN buying fine art with a view to passing it down, the most important starting point is to buy something you like and want to spend time with. ‘If you enjoy living with a work of art, this will enhance its personal significance to you, which may well resonate with your relatives as well,’ believes my colleague at Christie’s, Modern British specialist Angus Granlund. There are a few key factors to think about when looking. In the case of Old Masters, you need to focus on the artists, the provenance, condition and rarity. And don’t forget to keep records of the paintings, as well as how and why you acquired them, so that this can be passed down with the picture. With Old Masters, it’s worth considering a good piece by a relatively minor artist rather than a mediocre example—something in a bad state, for example—by a more established name. Condition is particularly important when buying something to be enjoyed by future generations. Watch out for works that have been subjected to numerous restoration campaigns and don’t dismiss something that looks in bad state at first sight—it may be that the original surface is being obscured by superficial
Portraits, mythological scenes and landscapes are a pleasure to own, says Clementine Sinclair, Old Masters specialist at Christie’s
This elegant and rare William Larkin portrait of a lady sold at Christie’s in 2016 for £266,500
64 Country Life, February 15, 2017
£10,000 to £20,000 Twenty to 30 years ago, Italian 18th-century mythological scenes were in high demand, which drove up prices. However, these works are more accessible today: fine examples of idealised landscapes by artists such as Locatelli and L’Orizzonte come on the market relatively frequently. Wonderful Dutch and Flemish still-lifes can be purchased at all levels: although some can command very high prices, you can find really interesting fine 17th-century paintings by second- and third-tier Dutch and Flemish masters for less than £20,000, including intricate flower pieces and sumptuous table displays adorned with silver salt cellars and lobsters. You can also acquire less ambitious works by more established artists for about £15,000 to £20,000, including portraits by Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds. Prices can vary depending on the identity of the sitter, which is not always known.
£20,000 to £50,000
My treasured heirloom
Richard E. Grant, actor I have my grandfather’s 1927 wind-up gramophone and his collection of Al Jolson and Al Bowlly records as well as my father’s Elvis Presley records from the 1950s. It feels like the most direct link possible to both of them as I hear exactly what they did and their presence is powerfully conjured up.
portraits that can appeal to a modern aesthetic, the style being relatively flat and geometric, with pure blocks of colour.
varnish and dirt that can be treated relatively easily. You should also think about whether the painting is from a good or particularly pivotal moment in the artist’s career or artistic development, whether the attribution is given in full and whether it has been included in any recent seminal exhibitions on the artist. If the option of finding something very personal to the family, such as a portrait of an ancestor or painting of a family house is unlikely, my advice is to think about buying portraits
of royal sitters or important historical figures. Equally, topographical views of European cities, university towns or the local landscape may resonate with future generations.
£5,000 to £10,000 at auction At this price level, you can find decorative works catalogued as ‘Studio of’ or ‘Circle of’ established artists, as well as fully attributed paintings by lesserknown masters. If you’re interested in portraiture, there are 16th-century and early-17th-century Elizabethan and Jacobean
Portraits of royal sitters and topographical views of European cities, notably Venice and London, which have been in constant demand throughout the centuries due to the enduring appeal of these two cities, can be acquired in this range. Among the recent sale of portraits of royal sitters, an English School, mid-16th-century Portrait of King Henry VIII, sold for £36,000. A painting by Apollonio Domenichini of The Grand Canal sold for £19,700 and A View of the Thames with Saint Paul’s Cathedral from Blackfriars by Henry Pether realised £27,500.
£50,000 and above The advantage of buying in Old Masters is that good examples of portraits, topographical views, www.countrylife.co.uk
Jan Frans van Bloemen, known as l’Orizzonte, painted this charming Italianate landscape, depicting the tomb of Cecilia Metella
still-lifes and other genres can be found at varying price levels. At £50,000 and above, it’s possible to acquire higher-quality works by more established names. You’re also more likely to be able to buy a work that is rare and in an exceptional state— when these two factors come together, works can achieve remarkable prices and offer a unique opportunity to buy a work of significance and beauty that can be enjoyed for generations to follow. www.countrylife.co.uk
For example, when a rare and exquisitely rendered portrait of a lady by the Court painter William Larkin came up for sale at Christie’s in July last year, it made £266,500 against an estimate of £40,000 to £60,000 and when a luminous and beautifully preserved view on the Côte d’Opale, Picardy, by Bonington, executed shortly before his premature death in 1828, was offered last summer, it realised £1,370,500 against an estimate of £400,000 to £600,000.
My treasured heirloom
David Profumo, writer When my late uncle was Governor of West Africa, after the Second World War, he was obliged to shoot a rogue lion that had been marauding through certain
villages. On his return to England, he had Purdey make up several cartridge bags from the skin and one of these—unused and still resplendently golden— was hanging in his gun room when he died. It was passed to me and, instead of keeping it merely as an object of interest, I use it out on shoot days, on which it’s often met with incredulity. I expect it will be hanging in my own gunroom when I die, by which time, I imagine it may be unique. ➢ Country Life, February 15, 2017 65
The joy of collecting Orlando Rock, Chairman of Christie’s UK, describes the consuming nature of owning rare and beautiful things
Chris Allerton/Country Life Picture Library
y father was a passionate collector of architectural fragments and all things Kentian and I inherited the collecting bug from him. Perhaps inevitably for anyone working in the art world, the potential thrill of a discovery behind every door drives me and the motivation to hunt for overlooked objects, furniture and paintings that other people haven’t necessarily understood is almost insatiable. The first things I collected were Old Master drawings, principally because I couldn’t believe you could buy such beautifully observed, unique works of art at comparatively affordable levels. Although the greatest drawings fetch huge prices, you can still buy superb works on paper by well-known artists from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries for less than £1,000. These drawings are endlessly fascinating and provide a window into the artist’s mind—and once I started researching the attributions and artists’ biographies, as well as historic collectors’ marks, I was hooked. I’m very interested in the history of ownership and the romance of association that a work of art proudly encapsulates, whether it be Charles I, William Beckford or Jacques Doucet. Those visionaries who commissioned and collected works of art over the centuries—as well as their trophies’ subsequent journey through later collections—add real lustre to a work of art that, to me, is just as inspiring as the quality and condition.
66 Country Life, February 15, 2017
The most focused collectors tend to be single-minded and disciplined in their passion, choosing one category and concentrating on the very best. I wish I had their dedication and patience! I’m more eclectic in my taste, which has undoubtedly changed over time—I used to look at more traditional pictures, but I was immediately drawn to Abstract Expressionism and Modernism when I moved to New york. Suddenly, my eyes were opened to Rothko, Calder, Klein, Riley and Serra.
How I see an object changes as I put it beside something different
My taste has become even broader since, to the extent that I now don’t think I’m disciplined enough to call myself a collector—I fall in love with too many things. In my 25 years at Christie’s, I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with many collectors and, from them, I’ve learnt about discipline and focus as well as infectious enthusiasm, knowledge and passion for their subject. What could be more rewarding? Moreover, their shared passion opens up a whole world of restorers, collectors, auctioneers and academics who share a passion for their subject. One of the great delights of collecting—however specialised your field—is this sense of
community among like-minded souls (curators, academics, restorers, collectors and the all-important trade). Christie’s frequently organises visits and curatorial museum tours for collectors who have perhaps not met before and I love this part of the company’s life. Although many of us may have inherited the collecting bug, there is no reason why you should feel hidebound to collect in the same vein. I’ve seen great collectors whose children are equally passionate, yet rather than trying to keep up with their parents, they set off in their own direction to make their mark. Let yourself be inspired by visiting art fairs and exhibitions, museums and great houses— it’s a fulfilling journey that can start in childhood and never gets boring. If something appeals to you, ask questions, be inquisitive. Come and explore Christie’s, visit exhibitions and read up about the work you fell in love with. And when you do decide to buy, try to buy the best of its type that you can afford. That’s so important. Condition is fundamental: it’s much better to buy something untouched than something grander that’s been heavily restored. I love to live with objects, move pieces around and rehang paintings. If you inherit a painting or work of art, you can give it an entirely new context, so, for me, a large part of the fun of collecting is combining things: how I see an object changes as I put it beside something different. Only then do I see it anew.
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Future heirlooms £20,000 to £50,000
Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin all have representatives in this category, with the Nautilus, Royal Oak—chronographs and complicated pieces—and Overseas collections, considered among the most elegant sport watches ever designed.
Classic designs never go out of style, says Head of Christie’s Geneva Watch Department Thomas Perazzi
£50,000 and above In this price point, we enter the realms of renowned, highly complicated timepieces such as the perpetual-calendar chronographs with moon phases reference 5270 by Patek Philippe or the Patrimony Traditionelle reference 47292 by Vacheron Constantin.
ATCHES are typically given for a graduation, wedding or other significant milestone in life, so my suggestion would be for a buyer to veer towards something with a likely sentimental meaning or value to the owner. On the practical side, however, there are some important considerations to make when choosing a model. High-quality movements have proven more than capable of lasting for generations: we regularly sell timepieces in perfect working order dating back even to the 1700s. Next, opt for a simple and timeless design, which will be as appealing in 100 years as it is today. Finally, if one wants to keep an eye on collectability,
My treasured heirloom
Simon Phillips, owner, Ronald Phillips Antiques ‘My children are both young and haven’t shown a huge amount of interest in inheriting yet, but my son George, who’s 14, has many times expressed his wish to receive my Patek Philippe watch. The company’s saying ‘you never actually own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after it for the next generation’ is very true.’
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The sought-after Rindt Vintage Heuer Autavia of about 1968
look for a limited edition or a watch scarcely available even if not properly a limited edition. After a couple of decades of particularly bold stylistic trends —characterised by very elaborate dials and oversized cases —the market today seems to be moving toward a more restrained phase. Dials are getting simpler and cleaner and the average case diameter is moving down to 38mm–40mm from the previous 40mm–42mm. This is further confirmed by the resurgence in interest toward iconic, but very clean, historical models such as the original Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Recent results in Christie’s salerooms worldwide demonstrate that the brands currently most in demand are those names we know: Patek Philippe, Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin. All of these are historical brands with a particular focus on quality of their movements as well as elegant, timeless designs, from the Calatrava collection of Patek Philippe to
the more ‘sporty’, but equally iconic, Submariner and Daytona models by Rolex.
£5,000 at auction At this price, you’ll be able to find an Omega Speedmaster, an all-round, very versatile timepiece at an accessible price. Another great classic, actually created about 80 years ago and still considered a masterpiece of design, is the time-only Rolex Oyster.
£5,000 to £20,000 Among the most iconic timepieces ever designed, the Rolex Daytona sits right in the middle of this price bracket. The Calatrava collection by Patek Philippe is also available at this price point and is considered one of the most elegant and everlasting watch designs. Audemars Piguet also offers some examples of the Royal Oak Collection at this price and the historical name of Breguet proposes the modern version of its legendary Type XX wristwatch as well.
The vintage Heuer wristwatch, reference 2446-3rd Ex, is a striking piece, which Jack Heuer first brought out in 1966. Famously, the Formula 1 racing driver Jochen Rindt wore this iconic model in the late 1960s; as a result, ‘Heueristas’ now refer to this model as the Rindt. Perhaps only as few as 1,000 Rindts survive to this day; five years ago, they could have been bought for £5,000, but, today, good examples are being traded for as much as £30,000. Last year, Tag Heuer, which bought Heuer in 1985, launched an internet-watch-forum competition to help decide which vintage Heuer it should re-create as its next ‘heritage’ model. Some 20,000 collectors voted and the Rindt was the winner. Tag Heuer will launch this new version later this year at the Basel watch fair. Personally, I would recommend the vintage 1960s Rindt as a fantastic heirloom for the next generation. It has a timeless design, a wonderful racing pedigree and, by comparison to Rolex, was only made in tiny numbers. Get it while you can, because once the ‘heritage copy’ comes out, the vintage Rindt will be hot to trot! Ben Wright (07814 757742; w w w.be nw r i gh tvin ta ge watches.co.uk) www.countrylife.co.uk
A fine and extremely rare stainless-steel Patek Philippe with Breguet numerals, luminous accents and luminous hands, manufactured in 1945
Cork talk Port was once the choice to pass down, but there are many options, explains Christie’s International Head of Wine David Elswood
HEN looking to buy an heirloom in the field of wine, it’s best not to stray from the arena of classic regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne or vintage Port. The logic is sound: wines from these places not only have a long and fairly predictable future ahead of them in terms of drinking potential, but the best will also appreciate steadily in value should your offspring turn out to be teetotal and more likely to sell the stuff rather than pull the cork. Some might argue that the odd famous wine from Spain, Italy or Australia could also join the list, and that’s true, but these are likely to be more on the borderline of your personal preference as against a certain bet for a worthwhile heirloom. The wine market has been this way for the past 50 years and, for heirloom purposes at least, unlikely to change much in the next 50. Fine-wine drinkers are a pretty conservative and risk-averse bunch in the main.
£5,000 at auction There’s great choice at this level, including 12-bottle cases, ideally still packed in their original wooden case or carton. Younger vintages of most of the classic first-growth Left Bank wines of Bordeaux can be found around the £3,000 to £5,000 mark. Châteaux names such as 70 Country Life, February 15, 2017
Lafite-Rothschild, Latour, MoutonRothschild, Margaux and HautBrion will be familiar to many. To buy Château Haut-Brion 2007, £3,000; Château Latour 2008, £4,500; Château Margaux 2011, £3,500
£5,000 to £10,000 The next factor to consider is the all-important vintage or year of production—the better the year, the higher the price, of course. Modest vintages such as 2007 or 2011 could be a starting point or serious years such as 2005 and 2009, where the price for the same château could be doubled or perhaps more. Vintage Port was—and, in some cases, remains—the quintessential ‘heirloom’ purchase with a ‘pipe’—meaning about 733 bottles—being the standard measure to lay down for the lucky infant. When he reaches the age of majority, the newly mature owner could then elect to either consume or sell the 20-year-old Port, according to his situation and wishes. A wide range of superb young Ports trade from about £1,000 per dozen or much less, such as Taylor’s future classic 2011 at £650 to £700 for 12 bottles under bond. To buy Château Lafite-Rothschild 2000, £14,000; Château Mouton-Rothschild 2000, £15,000; Chambertin 2010 from Armand Rousseau, £18,000
£20,000 to £50,000 As you spend more, other evocative Bordeaux names such as Pétrus and Le Pin will enter the equation. In Burgundy, this fig-
ure will also get you into Grand Cru territory—famous singlevineyard wines from a wellrespected domaine. Both red and white are available, but if you want a Grand Cru from a toprated domaine in a superb year such as 2009 or 2015, the price will quickly accelerate into the stratosphere as Burgundy is made in tiny quantities compared to Bordeaux and all the world’s wine lovers are hoping to land a case or two. To buy Château Lafite-Rothschild 1982, £35,000; La Tache DRC 2005, £32,000; Château Pétrus 1998, £28,000
£50,000 plus At this level, the best advice is to collect wines you know or know about and buy from someone you trust and who most likely will still be around in 20 years should your offspring want to sell rather than consume. The lifespan of different wines can vary enormously—even the most modest
My treasured heirloom
Tim Gosling, designer My father, Prof Raymond Gosling [who, in 1952, took the first picture of the double helix of DNA] rowed at Henley in the 1940s and, following in his footsteps, my nephew has rowed over the past two years. I inherited all my father’s regatta badges—which, for years, remained squirreled
vintage of a first-growth Bordeaux or Grand Cru Burgundy deserves 15 to 20 years of maturity and a great Vintage Port can still be evolving after 50-plus years. For Champagne, I would venture that a 20-year-old vintage would be considered by many as ideal—currently a 1995 or 1996. To buy Château Pétrus 1982, £50,000; Romanée-Conti 2013, £120,000; Le Pin 1982, £100,000
Another view If this purchase is to eventually to be enjoyed, it’s worth thinking about buying something that isn’t too prohibitively expensive to actually drink, says wine merchant Alistair Viner of Mayfair’s finewine and spirits boutique Hedonism. ‘Some Californian wines—those from the 1980s or 1990s—are both drinking nicely and are very affordable, as are some interesting South African wines from the same period. Alternatively, go for smaller or newer producers in places such as Spain or Portugal.’ He adds: ‘Overall, remember wine that’s bottled is meant to be drunk and take advice on what’s going to last the distance and be enjoyed in 30 years’ time.’ http://hedonism.co.uk; 020– 7290 7870
away in his sock drawer—and am now endeavouring to fill some of the rogue gaps. Some blazers clearly returned home without the enamel badge— were they a victim of drunk-anddisorderly behaviour or perhaps it was just outrage from my mother, Mary? She tolerated the Henley behaviour until the 1990s, when she put her foot down and refused to go along anymore. The collection is now almost the full set from the regatta in 1924 to the current day, with only nine to find. The badges from the 1920s and 1930s have become collector’s items and sell for more than £1,000 on eBay. www.countrylife.co.uk
The perfect shot Buy the right name and avoid anything off-the-shelf, advises Head of Antique Arms, Armour and Sporting Guns Howard Dixon
Y best advice, to anyone looking to purchase something that will last the generations, would be to buy a premium gun and to look after it well. Built to last, there is still value and use in the best guns made in the late-Victorian and Edwardian period as, in essence, the designs haven’t changed very much in 140 years. The only aspect that has changed is that people are increasingly choosing over-andunder in favour of side-by-side
Ashley Hicks, designer From my father [the decorator David Hicks], I inherited a group of portraits he completed in 1967, in a rather Andy Warhol moment, of a diverse group, including pop star Sandie Shaw, the King of Tonga and little me, aged four. I’ve hung them in my wife’s dressing room in the Albany on silver-foil geometric wallpaper of his design, where they give a hint of 1960s cool.
Christie’s; Richard Young/Rex/Shutterstock
My treasured heirloom
72 Country Life, February 15, 2017
shotguns. Yes, the debate about barrel configuration goes on and the quip that you hit twice as much with an over-andunder, ‘but you get half as many invites’ still holds on some shoots, but there are exceptions. If you turn up at any shoot with a bespoke over-and-under Purdey, Woodward, Boss or Holland & Holland, the chances are you’ll get away with it. There’s a long tradition of gun-making in London and buying a bespoke gun from any of the triumvirate of Purdey (which bought Woodward in 1949), Holland & Holland and Boss will be the finest heirloom to pass on. And, when you match a premium brand with bespoke craftsmanship, that’s what really sets the gun apart. With beautifully carved woodand metalwork, scenes engraved by a master craftsman and the entire gun created by hand, these are truly works of art. But although a bespoke gun won’t be within everyone’s price range, in the past 10 or so years, an alternative has emerged that is a hybrid between off-the-shelf and something that’s entirely bespoke. These guns, which are delivered ‘in the white’ (mechanically complete, but requiring decorative work) and then finished by the gunmakers,
One of a pair of new and unused Purdey 12-bore ‘large scroll’ single-trigger sidelock ejectors sold for £74,500 at Christie’s
would make perfectly good heirlooms. Investment-wise, they will always be second tier, but they boast both the longevity and the right brand name.
£5,000 at auction If you come across any of the top names at auction in this price range, a word of warning: approach with caution. Nevertheless, there are some very good vintage and classic guns by the likes of Stephen Grant, Joseph Lang or John Dickson & Sons and, if you look after it, it’ll be perfectly good to hand down.
£5,000 to £20,000 For about £10,000, you’ll get a really good, classic, single, premium-brand gun. Heading towards £20,000, and you’re beginning to look at good pairs of classic, premium guns. When looking at pairs, it’s worth noting that it’s not uncommon to find one gun showing more signs of use than the other due to the fact that the original owner may have favoured one over the other.
£20,000 to £50,000 Within this bracket, you’ll find nice, recently built premium guns as well as the very best pairs of classic premium guns. Alternatively, perhaps, look to
the top gunmakers of northern Italy, such as Luciano Bosis or Ivo Fabbri, who are at the top of their game. The numbers of their bespoke guns in circulation are limited creating an aura about them that will last. At £50,000 and above, this is very special territory inhabited by the very best pairs of guns with bespoke, signed engraving by master craftsmen, such as the Hunt family, Kelly, Coggan, Carlsbad, Brown and Grifnee.
Another view During the zenith of the gun trade in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Scottish gun trade was inspired to produce some of the best-quality shotguns and rifles of its time. Edinburgh was once home to the likes of John Dickson & Son, MacNaughton, Daniel Fraser and Joseph Harkom, who were comparable with the London trade and arguably produced even slightly more elaborate pieces. Sadly, the only surviving firm is John Dickson & Son. For someone looking specifically for a Scottish gun to buy as an heirloom, I would suggest a 16g or a 20g round action by John Dickson & Son, the most elegant of guns and extremely rare. Graham Mackinlay (01389 751122; www.gmackinlay.com) www.countrylife.co.uk
From the fields
John Lewis-Stempel, BSME Columnist of the Year
Streams of consciousness
‘February fill-dyke’ is a more than fitting epithet for a month that sees the sodden countryside fringed with patches of frost and ice, reflects John Lewis-Stempel, before spotting a kingfisher, a native crayfish and an otter while in search of spawning trout
T was around 10am and the sun was nuclear white, obliterating the familiar upturned hull of the Black Mountains in the windscreen, but the frost hated the blaring sun and, on the hillsides, hid beneath the hedges. Driving up the Dulas valley, I had a sudden urge to see if the trout were spawning yet, so swung the Land Rover round and lurched up in the gateway of The Parks, a 40-acre traditional hay meadow owned by Herefordshire Wildlife Trust. The Dulas brook runs through the flat belly of the field, although in an untidy line, like a long abdominal scar left by a drunk surgeon. Streams pattern this hillocky west edge of Herefordshire. Imagine a leaf, with small ancillary veins running into a central stem, 74 Country Life, February 15, 2017
Illustrations by Philip Bannister and you have it. The streams are always working, saving us from drowning in winter or dying of thirst in summer. From the edge of The Parks, the mauve-hazed alder along the Dulas seemed an impenetrable honour guard; it was only when I was a yard or so away that the trees stood apart and let me, and the light, in. On that February day, the edges of the brook were still, in places, hemmed with ice. Rains of winter had scourged the brook clean, so the water ran pure and clear over the green-and-pink pebbles. Nowhere was the brook more than 6in deep, except on the bends, where it formed bathtub pools. In the branches of bankside, trees were trapped in the invariable cacophony of the
rainy season—sticks, boughs and plastic feed sacks. On one corner, where the floodwater had backed up the week before, the flotsam was dense enough to form a wooden wall. Fill-dyke, the old country epithet for February, is perfectly true. I could see no sign of trout spawning, but from somewhere down the silvered stream came the zeep of a kingfisher, so I stood still, hunch-shouldered in imitation of a tired heron. The kingfisher flashed past, leaving an atomic particle of cobalt to die in the air behind it. As I turned to go, a dipper landed on a mid-stream boulder, curtsied politely (hence the name) in the manner of an aproned French waitress, before peering at her reflection in the water. www.countrylife.co.uk
I could see no reason for the otter’s subaquatic gymnastics other than sheer joie de vivre
I had reflections of my own. People talk about the isolation of rural life, but, in touching the water of the Dulas, I was connected by a countless chain of molecules to people halfway round the world—the surfer at Brisbane, the fisherman on the Yangtse—by the World Watery Web. A river enhances a landscape with visual glamour, but a brook is more lovely, more human-scaled. A brook is Pooh-sticks and fishing for Jurassic sticklebacks with DIY nets made from bamboo canes and your mother’s out-of-fashion tan tights. In a brook, you can, even as a toddler, plash around with a fishing net and catch fantastic creatures—water shrimps, bullheads and caddis worms in their delicate stick houses. Say ‘river’, and a grey shadow springs in the mind of an adult. Their next thought is ‘danger’ and, after that, ‘supervision’. The poet W. H. Auden, not for the first time and not for the last time, got it right when he wrote these lines: ‘Dear water, clear water, playful in all your streams, As you dash or loiter through life who does not love/To sit beside you?’ Or stand. Due to the narrowness of a stream—the Dulas is not much more than 8ft across—Nature is forced close to you, as you can stand patient, like a heron or a bankside alder. On that day, I must have imitated a heron sufficiently to become the bird and enjoy its acuity of vision, as I suddenly noticed a tiny claw wave from under a stone. Plunging in, I lifted the rock. A mist of sediment arose and, as it dispersed, I snatched the stubby brown water scorpion by its midriff. Held gingerly between thumb and forefinger, the crayfish, which was about 2in long, tried in vain to nip my hand. And I was 10 again. www.countrylife.co.uk
In Britain, white-clawed crayfish have become rare, courtesy of pollution and competition from immigrant, signal crayfish. One can no longer catch and eat the snacksome native crustacean as I did as child in the 1970s, so I placed it back beneath its stone home. (Our method of trapping the miniature lobsters was death-camp efficient: a stainless-steel bucket sunk in the streambed, with a bait of rotting meat. In fell the crayfish, never to climb the slippery sides.) The Dulas brook never ceases running and farming never stops. I had heavily pregnant ewes to check over at Abbey Dore, but some caution in the ether told me to wait a minute more. The otter came lolloping along the opposite bank, dived into a slow pool and executed a trio of perfect barrel rolls. Then, it scrabbled out onto the shingle and shook itself dog-style. I suppose some scent of me, some sight of me fritted it and it disappeared behind the spray-screen of droplets.I could see no reason for the otter’s sub-aquatic gymnastics other than sheer joie de vivre and pleasure in his own skill. All this took only a minute, if that. I was left listening to the music of the brook and the view of the water rushing prettily past. John Lewis-Stempel is the 2016 British Society of Magazine Editors Columnist of the Year (Specialist Interest & Business Brand). He is also the author of the ‘Sunday Times’ bestseller ‘The Running Hare’ and ‘Meadowland: The Private Life of an English Field’, which won the 2015 Thwaites Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing
Kitchen garden cook Kohlrabi More ways with kohlrabi Kohlrabi slaw Peel 2 kohlrabis and cut into fine, shredded slices—ideally, using a processor—then drain off any excess liquid using a colander. Grate 2 apples into a bowl with the seeds from a pomegranate, 75g of walnuts and the kohlrabi and stir well. To make the dressing, add 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise to a jam jar with a tablespoon of creamed horseradish, 30ml of apple-cider vinegar and seasoning and shake together. Pour the dressing over the salad and top with 2 chopped spring onions and a few more pomegranate seeds before serving.
Kohlrabi-and-carrot fritters with sumac crème fraîche (below) Grate 1 peeled kohlrabi and 2 medium-sized carrots into a bowl. Add 2 beaten eggs, 2 finely chopped spring onions, 1 small, finely chopped red chilli, 50g of plain flour, 50g of fresh breadcrumbs and seasoning. Heat olive oil in a pan and drop spoonfuls of the mixture in, frying until golden on both sides. Serve with a few dollops of crème fraîche that have sumac and lemon zest stirred through and a scattering of rocket.
Kohlrabi is a large, bulbous vegetable that doesn’t get much attention on our shores, but I think it deserves some time in the limelight. It isn’t the prettiest of things, but it really does taste quite delicious, as I hope you’ll agree
Makes 2 large pizzas 650g 00 flour 7g dried yeast Good pinch of sea salt 40ml olive oil 300ml water (you may need to add a little more)
10 garlic cloves 2 kohlrabi 12 thyme sprigs 8 rosemary sprigs 400g mozzarella, whole and then sliced 150g grated Parmesan
76 Country Life, February 15, 2017
Kohlrabi pizza Ingredients
Kohlrabi on the side Peel 2 kohlrabis and cut into cubes. Stir in some olive oil so that the pieces are evenly coated, arrange on a tray and bake in a hot oven for about 25–30 minutes or until tender. Season well, stir in a squeeze of lemon juice and a generous scattering of grated Parmesan, then serve with a succulent steak.
by Melanie Johnson
75g pea shoots Juice of 1 lemon
Method To make the pizza base, combine the flour, yeast and salt. Stir in the olive oil, then gradually add the water to form a dough. Place it on a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave somewhere warm for about an hour, until doubled in size. Knock it back and then leave to rise again for half an hour. Preheat your oven to 200˚C/400˚F/gas mark 6. Divide the dough in two and roll out into large circles. Place them on pizza stones (if you have them) or lightly greased baking sheets. Crush the garlic into a good splash of olive oil and mix well, then brush the mixture over the pizza bases and add seasoning. Peel and remove the leaves from the kohlrabis, then cut them into thin slices using a mandolin and arrange these on the bases. Scatter over the thyme and rosemary and dot around slices of mozzarella. Top with the grated Parmesan and a final drizzle of olive oil, then bake in a hot oven for 10–12 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly dress the pea shoots with olive oil and lemon juice. When it’s ready, top the pizza with scattered pea shoots and serve immediately.
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In the driving seat Isuzu D-Max Arctic Trucks AT35
My kind of pick-up line We might not need an extreme off-roader, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want one. Charles Rangeley-Wilson is first in line for the latest incarnation of Isuzu’s D-Max
Nce a year, I yearn for one of those double-cab pickups with tyres like monstrous doughnuts and a snorkel. The kind you see in Iceland, which is where I am when I yearn for one. I’m usually driving some Daewoo or SsangYong hire car, gingering my way along a pot-holed track looking for a fishing hut in the twilit wilderness. Headlamps, sometimes two, but often eight, appear in the rear-view mirror. Within seconds, they’re on my tail, filling the reflection. I’ve hardly time to avoid the next sump-trashing bump before the beast flashes past and is off into the distance, bathing me in a cloud of volcanic dust. You’d think it was the military or some snow-crazed troll-hunter, but no, it’s just Mrs Olafsdóttir, who’s forgotten the milk. You see, no Icelander drives a Daewoo: these are reserved for the use of tourists. Icelanders all drive doughnut-tyred pick-ups, tricked up to the max on rock-hopping suspension—and they use them to nip to the shops. How the Icelanders must love to watch us nannying along the marblerun roads, wishing we’d signed our collision-damage waiver forms. How easy would my tours around
78 country Life, February 15, 2017
Icelanders all drive doughnuttyred pick-ups
Iceland’s rivers be in one of those, I think, as Mrs Olafsdóttir blitzes over the lava field. It was, therefore, with curiosity and longing that I accepted an invitation from Isuzu to join the company for a day’s off-roading in the latest version of its venerable D-Max, fettled into full-fat glaciermunching form by Arctic Trucks (AT), the most respected trickerouter of off-road vehicles in Iceland, where tricking out is an artform. You see, the puzzlingly overengineered nature of these vehicles when ranked outside the supermarket in downtown Akureyri in midsummer is explained by an Icelandic winter. Not only is there nothing else to do when the night closes in, but that’s when the endless, eerie and empty landscape becomes the biggest off-road track in the world. Once the snow falls, Icelanders have a right to roam— the more extreme, the better. Isuzu showed us a picture of this new truck halfway up a wall of
snow, almost vertical and dwarfed by a wave of white. In the following shot, the truck was at the top. It’s an article of faith with AT that every vehicle its team breathes on should be able to head anywhere off-road, without winches or any other form of external assistance. For these hardy islanders, it’s all about the tyre choice, tyre pressure and ground clearance. I’m no expert, but there was nothing at the Millbrook proving ground that this AT35 couldn’t handle—and that was with me at the wheel. Despite their Icelandic ubiquity, this is the first time an AT pickup has been available for UK customers. AT and Isuzu are banking on a niche market among farmers and country sportsmen—or perhaps just mad green-laners—for this kind of hardcore off-roader, even in our temperate landscape. I doubt they’re wrong. AT has 25 years of experience adapting vehicles for extreme off-road use. Isuzu’s D-Max, the best-selling pick-up in Scandinavia, is a favourite. AT has taken this already capable vehicle and propped it up on Fox dampers, whopping great wheels and Nokian Rotiiva tyres. From a practical point of view, this means it grips like
On the road Isuzu D-Max Arctic Trucks AT35 Priced from £31,499 Annual Road Fund Licence £295 (for vehicles registered after April 1, 2017: £1,200) Combined fuel consumption 33mpg Power 163bhp 0–60mph 15sec Top speed 112mph a spider, but, with the air let out, these same tyres will float over deep snow with the lightest of footprints (the truck has an on-board re-inflation pump). All this extra hardware improves ground clearance, approach and departure angles, too, which means it will go anywhere: up and down slithery canyons of sand and mud, through puddles you could bury a hippo in, over ruts like felled trees all in a row, we did it all. I’m not wholly convinced of the need for such an extreme off-roader in our green-and-pleasant land, but I’m sure that there’s a bunch of (probably) men who’ll develop a reason to buy it. Me? I’ve taken note of the AT address in Reykjavik. An extended salmon-chasing test drive is called for. www.countrylife.co.uk
Interior design The designer’s room
Plain English’s design for this Dorset farmhouse is inspired by the simplicity of Georgian joinery
here’s something unashamedly wholesome and reassuringly solid about the work that goes into a Plain english kitchen. Words such as ‘honed’, ‘jointed’, ‘waxed’ and ‘hammered’ are used to describe the labouring that takes place by hand at the company’s home at stowupland hall, a Grade IIlisted Georgian house set deep in the suffolk countryside. The company was established in 1992 by Katie Fontana when she couldn’t find a plain enough cupboard finish for her own kitchen. With an eye on the simplicity of early-Georgian joinery, she and her business partner, Tony Niblock, produced their first design, ‘the long-house kitchen’. Twentyfive years later, the founding tenets remain strong: nothing produced is off-the-shelf and every piece is custom made with the promise that all the cabinetry will fit the space perfectly. This kitchen is in a Dorset farmhouse that dates back to the 18th century. The owners have chosen the spitalfields design with Folgate doors—evocative names from an area of London close to Katie’s heart. Centre stage is the Georgian precursor to the kitchen island: a preparation table topped with wide-plank Pippy Oak and painted in Little Greene’s French Grey Pale 161. Fundamental to this traditional design, with its contemporary and uncluttered finish, is the wall of full-height numbered cupboards that disguise all manner of goods, machinery and essential storage, painted in Paint and Paper Library’s Blue Blood, which contrasts strongly with the rest of the cabinetry, which is in Little Greene’s French Grey 113. One of the company’s signature additions is the painted ladder set on a runner—critical for reaching the top row of storage cupboards. Arabella Youens (www.plainenglishdesign.co.uk; 01449 774028)
80 Country Life, February 15, 2017
Interior design Event
Lessons from the masters
Join COUNTRY LIFE at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, London SW10, on Sunday, March 12 for an inspirational ‘Conversations in Design’ session in which leading figures in the interiors world will discuss what they’ve learned from their aesthetic heroes
VERYONE seeks inspiration from iconic figures, both past and present—sometimes for creative guidance or in the way they run their businesses and build their careers. In this hourlong panel discussion, Henriette von Stockhausen, Bunny Turner and Stephen Lewis will discuss how a wide range of influential figures have determined their approach, from David Hicks and Robert Kime to George Oakes and Jean Muir. The event will be hosted by COUNTRY LIFE’s Interiors Editor Giles Kime and takes place on the first day of London Design Week 2017, at which 120 leading names in fabric, wallpapers, furniture, lighting and accessories, including Colefax and Fowler, G. P. & J. Baker, Designers Guild and Osborne & Little, will unveil their new collections.
When Sunday, March 12 at 3:00pm Where Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 0XE Tickets £7.50 in advance (£10 on the door).
Christopher Simon Sykes/The Interior Archive
Book online at http://dcch.co.uk, telephone 020–7225 9166 or email email@example.com and quote ‘Life’. Tickets are limited, so advance booking is recommended
London Design Week 2017 From March 12 to 17, at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour With 120 exhibitors and more than 100 events, London Design Week 2017 is the place to discover the best in design, offering a unique opportunity to see pioneering experts, methods, makers and materials, attend workshops and gain rare insights from the ‘Conversations in Design’ sessions. There are bespoke installations alongside experimental pop-ups and dining experiences.
82 Country Life, February 15, 2017
Henriette von Stockhausen studied at City & Guilds, Sotheby’s and the Inchbald School of Design and worked in stage and theatre design before establishing VSP Interiors with her business partner Jane Petti
Stephen Lewis of Lewis & Wood has pioneered the art of creative collaborations with a wide range of highly successful wallpaper collections designed by Adam Calkin, Melissa White and Flora Roberts
Bunny Turner and business partner Emma Pocock create distinctive interiors in a variety of commercial and residential properties, from a Victorian villa in Holland Park to a private members’ club on the shores of Lake Geneva
Giles Kime is Interiors Editor of COUNTRY LIFE. He was previously Executive Editor of Homes & Gardens and is writing a book on the interior designer Nina Campbell, which will be published by Rizzoli in autumn 2018
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T’S that time of year when snuggling up indoors and thinking about gardening is, for most of us, far more appealing than actually doing it—time for winter’s dormancy to make the garden of your imagination come to life. Before you reach for another seed catalogue, there are other, more celebrated, ways to inspire your mental green thumb. So prepare a cuppa and cozy up with these classic literary reads that have kept generations of gardeners’ hearts warm and fertile in the frosty weeks.
A good read for the green-fingered An avid reader of all things literary and horticultural, Bryan Kozlowski chooses his classic book list for enjoyable armchair gardening
Old Herbaceous (1950) Reginald Arkell A tender, reminiscing chronicle of the gardening life of Mr Pinnegar (aka ‘Old Herbaceous’)—literature’s quintessential country-house gardener. Crotchety, gentle and grizzled with unintended humour, Mr Pinnegar’s natural knowledge and earthy reflections have charmed countless readers into agreeing with Old Herbaceous himself that a welltended garden ‘brings out all that is best in a man’. Down the Garden Path (1932) Beverley Nichols (below) If you’ve ever wanted to spend a year fixing up a dilapidated cottage garden, Nichols did it nearly a century ago with unmatched style, describing it all in some of the most delightful gardening language ever penned. It’s giggle-out-loud comical and charmingly smart—the perfect bedtime read, sending you off with sweet
dreams of creating a cozy cottage garden of your own. Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden (1981) Eleanor Perenyi Reading Perenyi’s classic collection of gardening essays feels a bit like getting horticultural advice from your (slightly spiky) neighbour over the garden hedge. Readers either love or hate her ‘opinionated’ style; those who appreciate it find her love for the garden, its lore and literary connections, unique and utterly enchanting. Elizabeth and Her German Garden (1898) Elizabeth Von Arnim (right) From the author of the flower-filled novel The Enchanted April comes this delightfully disjointed diary of one aristocratic woman’s ‘horticultural indulgences’. Reading like a 19thcentury blog, Elizabeth shares simple, semi-autobiographical stories of one year on a country estate in northern Germany—a place in which the demands of a Gilded Age wife, mother and hostess are supported by frequent escapes into her soul-refreshing garden, her ‘world of dandelions and delights’.
The Gardener’s Year (1929) Karel Capek apek may be better known as a science-fiction writer, but his lovable account of gardening his native Czechoslovakian soil is a must-read masterpiece. Slim, yet chock full of witty, monthly reflections on the gardener’s glories and sorrows, Capek’s catching enthusiasm for gardening is frequently distilled in insightful aphorisms worthy of pinning up in your potting shed: ‘A real gardener is not a man who cultivates flowers; he is a man who cultivates the soil.’ ➢
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An Episode of Sparrows (1955) Rumer Godden If you’ve read (or cried over) this novel as a teenager, it’s time for another look. Often described as The Secret Garden’s urban cousin, An Episode of Sparrows follows two troubled children in post-Blitz London as they attempt to make beauty (literally) grow from the ashes. Originally published for adults, the tale has an ageless appeal and poignancy for anyone in similar search of ‘good garden earth’ just below the ruins of life. The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady (1906) Edith Holden A beautiful book to take in slowly, as Edith Holden took in the natural world of her native Warwickshire. A humble art teacher, Holden exquisitely captured the essence of British country beauty, peppering her diary with nature-inspired poetry and homey watercolours. Unknown until the
The Secret Garden (1910) (below) Frances Hodgson Burnett We end, of course, with the one book that began so many of us on the garden path—Mary Lennox’s magical search for a little ‘bit of earth’. What she finds behind that famous ivy-covered door has inspired generations of readers to discover the mysteries and enchantment of these earthly escapes where ‘everything is made out of magic’—the sort of magic that leaves us all wondering ‘do I tend the garden or does the garden tend me’?
1970s, The Country Diary has all the charm of a secret, personal treasure never meant to be published, although we’re certainly glad it was. We Made a Garden (1956) (top right) Margery Fish Is it possible to create a harmonious garden by two people with vastly different tastes? Margery Fish wryly finds out in her classic memoir about maintaining a marriage on rocky garden ground. In one corner, Walter (her bossy-boots husband) insists on primand-trim neatness for their manorhouse garden in Somerset. Margery contrarily longs for an informal, cottagey style of mixed borders
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and dense flowerbeds. Who wins? (Spoiler alert) Margery does, making gardening history in the process.
An Island Garden (1894) (above) Celia Thaxter It’s difficult to find a gardening journal more full of love and longing than Celia Thaxter’s. Her endearing account of tending a ‘little flower patch’ off the coast of New England remains unsurpassed in its heartfelt simplicity. Follow Celia as she rises early, pulls weeds with poetic flair and gathers armfuls of blooms for her seaside cottage, all self-descriptively summed-up ‘with one word “Love”’.
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Luggala: a magical place apart Will the ‘most decorative honeypot in Ireland’ work its spell on you?
HE launch onto the market of the hauntingly beautiful Luggala estate near Roundwood, in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains, 28 miles south-west of Dublin, at a guide price of €28 million through joint selling agents Crawfords (00 353 87 240 6477) and Ireland Sotheby’s International Realty (00 353 87 251 2909), heralds the end of 80 wild and wonderful years of Guinness-family ownership. The first known account of the lodge at Luggala, whose Irish name means ‘hollow in the ridge’, comes in 1796, when the historian John Ferrar wrote about a ‘modern built house at Luggala agreeably situated between two mountains and extremely romantic. Fronting the house is a good piece of water, called Lough Tay… Nature has been bountiful to this spot, which is diversified with rocks curiously shaped, wood and waterfalls. The mountains abound with grouse, and the lough with fish, which brings many visitors to the place’. One of those was the wealthy Irish banker Peter La Touche, whose passion for fieldsports led him to buy the lands ‘replete with game’ at Luggala in the late 1700s, before going on to
build himself ‘a handsome lodge in the early English style’, later described by the late Desmond FitzGerald, Knight of Glin, as ‘that special brand of eighteenth-century gothick that rejoices in little battlements, crochets, trefoil and quatrefoil windows and ogee mantelpieces: in fact the gothick of pastrycooks and Rockingham china’. ‘Somehow,’ he adds, ‘this whitewashed toy pavilion fits into its greengrey setting of old twisted oak-trees, beeches, mossy rocks and mountains in the most unnaturally natural way. Its very unlikelihood carries it off with a vivid panache.’ Panache came as standard during the Guinness era at Luggala, which began in 1912, when the Hon Arthur Ernest Guinness, having taken over the family’s Dublin brewery, rented the lodge and shoot at Luggala from Viscount Powerscourt, its then owner. The second son of Edward Guinness, created 1st Earl of Iveagh in 1919, Ernest, as he was always known, was a keen shot who invented his own short-barrelled shotgun for grouse, which were downed in their hundreds on regular shoots at the estate. Having rented Luggala for 25 years, Ernest bought the 5,000-acre estate
The serene ‘whitewashed toy pavilion’ at the Luggala estate exhibits ‘vivid panache’, yet is only 28 miles from Dublin. €28m
The house’s interiors, including the drawing room (below left) and dining room (below right) were redecorated in the 1990s with the brief to look ‘the same only different’ as before
An estate of a size rarely found in Ireland
in 1937 as a wedding present for his youngest daughter, Oonagh, on her second marriage, to Dominick, 4th Baron Oranmore and Browne. Their marriage was dissolved in 1950. According to film producer and screenwriter Michael Luke, who penned her obituary in The Independent in 1995, it was only after the Second World War and Oonagh’s second divorce that Luggala came into its own as ‘the most decorative honeypot in Ireland’. She made it the centre of a dazzling social world, and nobody, it seems, could keep away: ‘Dublin intelligentsia, literati, painters, actors, scholars, hangers-on, toffs, punters, poets, social hang-gliders were attracted to Luggala as to nowhere else in Ireland… And the still centre of this exultant, exuberant chaos was Oonagh.’ In 1970, Lady Oranmore transferred responsibility for the estate to her son, Dr The Hon Garech Browne, the founder with others of Claddagh
Find the best properties at countrylife.co.uk the guest lodge and a further 16 bedrooms within seven cottages and lodges scattered throughout the estate. For David Ashmore of Sotheby’s Realty, ‘Luggala is quite simply magnificent—a house that captures perfectly the picturesque in architecture, within an estate of a size rarely found in Ireland’.
Nature has been bountiful to this spot
Niall Carroll Landscape Photography
Records, and the present custodian of Luggala. He not only maintained, but surpassed his mother’s tradition of lavish hospitality, while hosting and promoting Irish composers, poets and traditional musicians. As Robert O’Byrne reveals in his supremely entertaining book Luggala Days: The Story of a Guinness House: ‘Guests were invited for drinks or dinner, only to emerge several days later blinking at the harsh light of the ordinary world, aware that during that lost period of time they had enjoyed themselves immensely without necessarily being clear about the details of how or why, or even with whom.’ Following a fire in 1956, the main block of Luggala was effectively left a ruin. However, it was swiftly restored in a joint effort by the architect Alan Hope, with interior decoration by John Hill of the Mayfair firm of Green & Abbott. In 1996, a year after his mother’s death, Dr Browne embarked on a major, four-year-long refurbishment of the entire house, at an estimated cost of €4m–€5m. Dublin architect Sheehan & Barry oversaw the re-creation of the original arched windows, the reinstatement of chimneys and battlements to their correct height and scale and the re-creation of a long-lost wing on the north side of the courtyard. Further largely invisible work included the installation of new electrical and plumbing systems. In addition, a new staircase—salvaged from an 18th-century house in Dublin—was installed to replace the unremarkable one fitted during the 1956 restoration. Similarly, the uninspiring drawingroom and dining-room chimneypieces were replaced with substitutes www.countrylife.co.uk
The 5,000-acre estate is in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains and was famous for its game. Its unspoilt beauty has made it attractive to many film and TV productions over the years
based on the pre-1956 originals, specially commissioned from Dick Reid of York. Interior designers David Mlinaric and Amanda Douglas undertook the redecoration of the interior, their brief being to make the house look much as it had before: ‘the same, only different’. They sourced replicas of much of the original materials, such as the Gothic Lily wallpaper in the drawing room, originally designed by Pugin for the House of Lords. Other papers were printed by Irish specialist David Skinner. Despite its relatively modest footprint, Luggala Lodge manages to contain three substantial reception rooms, plus a wealth of smaller rooms on both the ground and first floors. There are seven bedrooms within the main house, four within
The landscape at Luggala boasts one of the few remaining 18th-century landscaped gardens and includes two native Irish oak woods. No trees have been planted to interfere with the original La Touche landscape, apart from some conifers by the 7th Lord Powerscourt. Dr Browne learnt everything he knew about plants and trees from Alfred Williams, head gardener at the Browne family home, Castle MacGarrett, who came to Luggala with his mother, and from the 19th-century Irish gardener William Robinson’s seminal work The English Flower Garden. This rustic stretch of the Garden of Ireland has long been the first port of call for advertising executives and TV location scouts when a scenic backdrop of rolling green hills and verdant valleys is required. The spectacular demesne has been the setting for numerous films including John Boorman’s Zardoz (1974) and Excalibur (1981), The Nephew (1998), King Arthur (2004), Astérix et Obélix (2012) and the popular TV series Ballykissangel and Vikings. Summing up its impact on all those who spent time there over the years, the late actor Sir John Hurt, who starred in John Huston’s Sinful Davey (1967), also filmed at the estate, said: ‘I’m not important to Luggala, but Luggala’s important to me.’
Edited by Annunciata Walton
The ultimate heirloom
COUNTRY L IFE Picture Library; Mark Titterton/Alamuy
Never mind armorial silver, an ancestral house is one of the most meaningful (and challenging) of inheritances. Annunciata Walton looks at six that have been in the same family for generations
Renishaw Hall, Derbyshire Alnwick Castle, Northumberland Accio broomstick! Famous as more than just the spot where Harry Potter learnt to fly—Alnwick Castle (COUNTRY L IFE, March 4, 2009) has also featured in Downton Abbey, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Blackadder, to name a few screen appearances—this Percy stronghold (which the family purchased in 1309) is one of the largest inhabited castles in the UK and among the most visited. The Alnwick Garden, with one of the world’s largest wooden treehouses and adjoining poison garden, both overseen by the Duchess of Northumberland, is even more renowned, attracting more than 600,000 visitors per year (www.alnwickcastle.com).
Is there a modern-day Mellors in the village of Eckington? Be still our beating hearts; D. H. Lawrence is said to have used Renishaw Hall (COUNTRY LIFE, June 5, 2003) and its locality as inspiration for Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Home to the Sitwell family for nearly 400 years, the hall’s current chatelaine Alexandra Hayward (née Sitwell) oversees the estate, including planting in the award-winning Italianate gardens, laid out in the 19th century by her great-grandfather. The estate vineyard was, until 1986, the northernmost vineyard in the world and the Jacobean/Georgian/Regency pile was home to the angular-featured literary Sitwell sibling trio (Osbert, Sacheverell and Edith), rivals to the Bloomsbury Set (www.renishaw-hall.co.uk).
Hovingham Hall, North Yorkshire Descended from Elias, a giant who died fighting in the Crusades, the Worsley family bought the Manor of Hovingham in 1563. Upon inheriting in 1751, the horse-obsessed Thomas Worsley set about building the grandest Palladian stables he could imagine. Into these, he incorporated a handsome country house almost as an afterthought—the ballroom was above the stables and, after Horace Walpole commented on the singular aroma, the horses were, sensibly, moved elsewhere—and it remained unfinished when he died in 1778. Hovingham Hall (COUNTRY LIFE, September 15 and 22, 1994) is the childhood home of The Duchess of Kent and its private cricket ground is said to be the country’s oldest in continuous use (www.hovingham.co.uk). 92 Country Life, February 15, 2017
In 1725, a tumble from the Great Hall’s minstrels’ gallery resulted in the death of England’s last Court jester
Broughton Hall, North Yorkshire
Home to the original Dicky and Daffy (Country Life’s Annie Tempest grew up at Broughton), the Tempest family has been here since 1097, although the current hall was built in 1597. Today, Broughton (Country Life, July 22 and 29, 2015) presides over perhaps the world’s most beautiful business park; the family still lives in the hall, but the 3,000-acre estate houses more than 50 companies, employing some 600 people, in a variety of converted coach houses, stables, barns and other buildings. There are also conferences, weddings and other events, plus holiday cottages and the Avalon spa is set to open this year (www.broughtonhall.co.uk).
Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire Built in the 11th century, Berkeley Castle (Country L ife, December 2 and 9, 2004) has been in the same family for some 850 years, whose tenure has witnessed all manner of diversions: it’s suggested that Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was first performed at a Berkeley family wedding, Edward II was murdered here in 1327 and, in 1725, a tumble from the Great Hall’s minstrels’ gallery resulted in the death of England’s last Court jester—‘Here lies the Earl of Suffolk’s fool’ reads his epitaph at the local village church (www.berkeleycastle.com).
Elmore Court, Gloucestershire ‘One clove of Gillyflower’ was the rent for land at Elmore in 1274, when the Guise family first came to own the estate. Pretty Elmore Court (Country L ife, April 22, 2015), still very much a family home, was built in about 1540. The current owner, Anselm Guise, spent several years turning the place into a top-notch venue for weddings and other events. The most exciting addition has been The Gillyflower, a beautiful, sustainable building that serves as a kind of permanent marquee, for dinner and dancing (www.elmorecourt.com).
Country Life, February 15, 2017 93
Edited by Jane Watkins
Going too far? Michael Billington wonders if the directors are more interested in gimmicks than the plays’ texts
The staging of An Inspector Calls enhances the drama and supernatural elements of the story without overwhelming them
Mark Douet; Johan Persson; Tristram Kenton; Jan Versweyveld
ecently, Sir David Hare raised a theatrical storm, bitterly attacking the cult of concept-driven directors whose cavalier treatment of classic texts is ‘beginning to infect British theatre’. Instantly, this produced a set of polarised reactions. On the one hand, a lot of people, many of them young, praised the rise of creative directors; others sighed wistfully for an age in which actors and writers called the shots. Personally, I think the whole issue needs a more nuanced response. I have some sympathy with Sir David’s argument. I have also noticed how many young British directors seek to imitate their continental counterparts by treating texts as a springboard for their own fevered imagination. At the same time, the British theatre in my lifetime has benefited hugely from the vision of pioneering directors such as Joan littlewood, Peter Brook and tyrone Guthrie. Between them, they 94 country life, February 15, 2017
changed our notion of what a play could be, revitalised classic texts and even reconfigured our stages: the crucible in Sheffield and the chichester Festival theatre both owe a big debt to Guthrie’s tireless campaign against the proscenium arch. Where does that leave us today? My own view is that you have to view each production on its merits rather than taking a hard dogmatic line. take the work of the Belgian director Ivo van Hove, who is a god to some and a devil to others. I know that his production of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler—running at the national until March 21—has almost given some people a seizure, yet I thought his modern-dress production, with Ruth Wilson’s Hedda roaming the stage clad in what I dubbed a Freudian slip, caught perfectly the heroine’s demonism, despair and helpless entrapment in a loveless marriage. I was less thrilled, however, by Mr van Hove’s award-winning
2014 production of A View From the Bridge at the young Vic. It certainly captured the resemblance of Arthur Miller’s play to Greek tragedy. What it signally failed to do, unlike a brilliant revival by Alan Ayckbourn at the national theatre, was to show that Miller’s play is also a social drama: a study of a Brooklyn longshoreman who fatally betrays the laws of his Italianate tribe. In the end, it comes down to
whether you believe the director’s vision corresponds with the author’s intentions or betrays them. It’s all highly subjective and leads to endless contradictions. Some work of Mr van Hove I admire; some I don’t. Similarly, I find myself in two minds about the new, ubiquitous generation of Australian directors who take an irreverent approach to the classics. Simon Stone’s radical new version of lorca’s Yerma at
Escaped Alone’s simple set allowed the performances to shine www.countrylife.co.uk
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the Young Vic last year packed the theatre and brought a host of awards for its star, Billie Piper. I just didn’t believe in the transformation of a rural tragedy about infertility into a modern drama about a privileged woman who had access to every modern aid, including IVF treatment. However, I loved Benedict Andrews’s 2012 production of Three Sisters at the same address. With its bare-boards stage and Kurt Cobain songs, this certainly wasn’t Chekhov as we know it, but watching Vanessa Kirby, Mariah Gale and Gala Gordon as the three siblings, I got an overwhelming sense of the need for endurance in the face of heartbreaking disappointment —exactly as the author wished. Even if there are no fixed rules in theatre, I think Sir David had a point in attacking the increasing power of the director. When I first started going to theatre in the 1950s, it was dominated by great actors: Olivier, Gielgud, Redgrave, Evans and Ashcroft. Then came the Royal Court revolution, spearheaded by the writers, which gave us Osborne, Pinter, Wesker, Edward Bond, Sir David and the still-active Caryl Churchill. Now, just as football managers are often starrier than their players, so we seem to be living in a culture dominated by the interpreters: the National Theatre under Rufus Norris, the Young Vic under David Lan and the Almeida under Rupert Goold are all, in different ways, directors’ theatres. There are, of course, exceptions. The Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh is run by Scotland’s leading dramatist, David Greig. I can also think of a number of directors who regard their prime duty as that of serving the author’s text. One of the finest, Howard Davies, sadly died last year, but, when one recalls his work, what one remembers is his ability to achieve a perfect balance between text, acting and design. Was there ever a more exquisite production than that of Les Liaisons Dangereuses in which www.countrylife.co.uk
Christopher Hampton’s portrait of a decadent French aristocracy was matched by Bob Crowley’s design and the performances of Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan? Rickman and Miss Duncan were reunited in Davies’s sensational West End revival of Private Lives, which highlighted the play’s sleazy eroticism without destroying the fabric of Coward’s text. The best directors are, in fact, those who interpret a play afresh without stamping their signature all over it and I can think of two fine living examples. John Tiffany’s revival of The Glass Menagerie is currently lighting up the London stage at the Duke of York’s. It captures to perfection Tennessee Williams’s balance of the real and the symbolic. It also boasts a matchless performance from Cherry Jones as Amanda Wingfield, a woman who has come down in the world, but who clings to the memory of her aristocratic past. This is, you might say, a flawless piece of Tiffany glass. I also doff my cap to James Macdonald, who directed two of the best productions of 2016, both at the Royal Court. One was of Caryl Churchill’s Escaped Alone, which brought pitchperfect performances from a group of senior players, all women, sitting in a sunlit garden meditating on life’s ups and downs. Equally remarkable was
The Glass Menagerie perfectly mixes text and interpretation
Mr Macdonald’s production of Lucy Kirkwood’s The Children. The play itself was a dystopian fable about the poisoned legacy we are passing on, environmentally, to the next generation, but what I recall is the molten harmony between the three actors—Deborah Findlay, Francesca Annis and Ron Cook—and the sense, as we listened to the distant surge
The Globe’s radical Imogen was an update too far for audiences
of the sea and viewed Miriam Buether’s off-centre living room, that this was a world that was out of joint. Sometimes, directors seize and haunt the imagination. At other times, their work is so sublimely good, it is barely visible. On balance, I’m with Sir David in wishing there were more examples of the latter in today’s theatre.
Freudian slip: Hedda Gabler
Country Life, February 15, 2017 95
Pick up the pieces Pottery shards shed new light on the history of American ceramics and the Antique Dealers’ Fair promises something to suit every taste
hree weeks ago, at the annual New York ceramics and glass fair, archaeologists and scientists unveiled the reassembled fragments of an ordinary-looking but actually very remarkable white bowl (Fig 2). ‘One of the most intriguing stories in the world of ceramic history is the search for the secrets of making hard-paste porcelain,’ said robert hunter, editor of Ceramics in America and an author and archaeologist. ‘The search, however, for physical evidence of making true porcelain in 18th-century America has been frustratingly unsuccessful—until now. The discovery of this bowl is like finding the holy grail of American ceramics and is a thrilling addition to the history of the American effort to produce this coveted material.’ The shards were not found among nearly 85,000 artifacts on the site of the new Museum of the American revolution and were initially thought to be stoneware. however, subsequent material analysis by Dr J. Victor Owen, an expert on the geochemistry of archaeological ceramics and glass, and his colleagues revealed that the 18th-century bowl is true porcelain and had most likely been manufactured in Philadelphia in 1771 or 1772. The finds were uncovered on the site of the city’s short-lived first pottery, Bonnin and Morris, where soft-paste porcelain was known to have been made, but one that had been occupied from the settlement’s founding and most were in brick-lined lavatory and well shafts. Bonnin and Morris’s site in what is now Navy Yard, a little to the south, could also tell a confused archaeological story, as the pottery was succeeded by a brass-cannon foundry and then, according
96 Country Life, February 15, 2017
Fig 1: Lidded lekanis from the 4th century bc. With Odyssey of Southport
to a local history: ‘This long row of wooden houses afterwards became famous as a sailor’s brothel and riot house on a large scale.’
While the Western search for the recipe of true porcelain was under way, many european factories produced soft paste, a substitute generally made from white
Pick of the week Megan Piper, one of London’s young gallerists to watch, concentrates on overlooked artists of the 1960s. Her current show, ‘Staircases and Figures’, is of large paintings by Neil Stokoe (born 1935), an RCA contemporary of Caulfield, Hockney, and Kitaj. Running to February 24, it will be her last at Harris Lindsay in Jermyn Street, SW1, before moving to a nearby space in Bury Street. Mr Stokoe is currently fascinated by stairs, saying: ‘Their great variety of shapes and forms almost makes them the architectural equivalent of trees.’ The most recent work, however, is a double-portrait on a sofa, in memory of his friendship with Francis Bacon.
clay and ground glass fired at a much lower temperature than required for the real thing. This hard paste was made from kaolin and a feldspathic rock called chinastone. Whether or not Böttger was the first european to discover it—in 1708 for Meissen —the first commercially produced in england was at Cookworthy’s Plymouth Porcelain Factory in 1768. Prior to that, Bow in east London and others had been making soft-paste, especially after 1748, when Thomas Frye of Bow patented a mixture of china clay imported from Virginia and Carolina and bone ash, which gave much needed strength. The material was not the only link between Frye, Bow and Bonnin and Morris. Frye (about 1710–62) was an Irish painter and mezzotinter, whose two series of life-sized heads are greatly prized by print collectors and who ran the Bow factory from the early 1740s to 1759. he decorated some of the products himself, as did his daughters, one of whom later worked for Wedgwood. White and coloured wares were produced, including bowls, ink wells
Fig 2: True-porcelain bowl made in 1771 in Philadelphia
Fig 4: Gold golf-bag brooch. With Anderson Jones of London ing of the Antique Dealers’ Fair at The Mere Golf Resort, Knutsford, on February 24. Last year, the fair did not take place because the location was otherwise occupied, but in previous visits, it had proved a popular event. In the past, pictures offered at provincial fairs have mostly been by traditional 19th- and 20th-century artists, but now increasing numbers of exhibitors are showing work by important British artists from the 1960s and later. Among them at Mere will be Richwood from Lancashire with Bridget Riley and Patrick Caulfield and Holland Murray from London with a striking John Hoyland, Hope Morning,
a 20in by 24in acrylic abstract priced at £24,000 (Fig 3). In other fields, Odyssey of Southport has a most elegant lekanis (Fig 1), a 4th-century bc lidded red-figure make-up bowl from Campania at £895 and Anderson Jones of London comes with a perfect gold brooch for a golf widow at £1,000 (Fig 4). The fair offers a platform for three scholars of the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, one being Jenny Pickford, an artist-blacksmith, whose garden piece Unfurl in forged steel and blown glass is at £3,200 (Fig 5). The fair runs to February 26. Next week TEFAF and BADA
Fig 3: John Hoyland’s Hope Morning. With Holland Murray
and figures. After his retirement and death, Bow continued, although less successfully, until 1775, when it was bought by the owner of the Derby factory. In December 1769, Gousse Bonnin, a recent English immigrant, and his local partner George Anthony Morris, a Philadelphia Quaker, announced their project to make first indigenous porcelain. The demand was there because the much-resented Townshend Acts taxing tea and other imports had provoked a boycott of British goods, and it is possible that there was an understanding between the factories in order to avoid the imposts. It is also possible that the English potters hired by Bonnin and Morris were brought over from Bow. Unfortunately for them, the Acts were repealed before production began in 1771, but for a while they did well among the city’s rich ‘Patriots’, including www.countrylife.co.uk
Mrs Benjamin Franklin. It did not last; by 1774, Bonnin was bankrupt and Morris dead. The fragility of the wares ensured that very few examples survive. A further link between Bonnin and Bow is a notice in the Pennsylvania Journal of October 10, 1771, seeking the apprehension of a runaway apprentice, ‘about sixteen years of age… five feet five inches high, [with] short light brown hair, [and] of a fair complexion’. This was Thomas Frye’s nephew and namesake. The ceramics and glass fair seems to have gone quite well, despite having to contend with opening on the evening of what was said to be a record-breaking blizzard for New York. It is to be hoped that the long-promised but elusive hard winter does not arrive in England for the openFig 5: Unfurl by artist-blacksmith Jenny Pickford at £3,200 Country Life, February 15, 2017 97
Exhibition Vanessa Bell (1879–1961) at Dulwich Picture Gallery
New woman Bloomsbury’s leading female artist is revealed as a bold innovator and, at the outset of her career, a determined Modernist, says Matthew Dennison
Estate of Vanessa Bell/Courtesy of Henrietta Garnett/Matthew Hollow
n 1923, Vanessa Bell described to a former lover the excitement she had found as an artist in her efforts to ‘turn everything into colour’. A new show at Dulwich Picture Gallery—surprisingly, the first fullscale exhibition with catalogue devoted exclusively to Bell— electrifies on account of its bravura use of colour and what Virginia Woolf described as her ‘rough eloquence and vigour of style’. Woolf, of course, was Bell’s sister. A century ago, these beautiful, intelligent, dauntless daughters of Victorian literary giant Sir Leslie Stephen jointly and separately rejected key conventions and assumptions of the comfortable, distinguished world of their parents. Bell’s focus was art, Woolf’s literature. In both cases, their absorption was whole-hearted and lifechanging: Bell referred to ‘this painter’s world of form and colour’ as if everything she glimpsed provided raw material for her work. In Edwardian London, the sisters’ rebellion placed them at the centre of Modernist expression. Each was a key player in the Bloomsbury Group of avant-garde artists and thinkers, which Ian Dejardin, co-curator with Sarah Milroy and outgoing Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery, describes as ‘the Mar98 Country Life, February 15, 2017
mite of British art’ on account of its continuing ability to polarise responses. The exhibition reminds us of the boldness of Bloomsbury experimentation as embodied by Bell. Works from the 1910s also show us an optimism about the possibilities of Modernism that for Bell and other Bloomsburies burned less brightly in the aftermath of the First World War. As a child, Bell read Ruskin’s The Elements of Drawing and absorbed its careful orthodoxies. The Stephen home in Hyde Park Gate was a late-Victorian amalgam of ‘red plush and black paint’, portraits by G. F. Watts and ‘Sir Joshua [Reynolds] engravings’. From the age of 16, she visited Arthur Cope’s art school in South Kensington.
The Other Room (above, late 1930s) and Landscape with Haystack (below, 1912) assimilate with confidence the influences of post-Impressionism
Estate of Vanessa Bell/Courtesy of Henrietta Garnett/Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
Afterwards, she studied at the Royal Academy Schools under teachers who included John Singer Sargent. The work she undertook after leaving, and following her father’s death in 1904 and landmark exhibitions of post-Impressionism in 1910 and 1912, reveals the extent of her autodidacticism and an assured ability to embrace diverse influences without succumbing to simple imitation or pastiche. ‘I believe all painting is worthwhile so long as one honestly expresses one’s own ideas,’ she wrote in January 1905. ‘The moment one imitates other people, one’s done for.’ Undoubtedly, Bell’s art was shaped by her relationships with Roger Fry and Duncan Grant. The exhibition illustrates the strength of her independent vision. The curators have assembled more than 100 works from public and private collections. Viewed as a group, Bell’s early portraits,
Nude with Poppies (1916) rejects traditional notions of the nude with rough brushstrokes and vibrant colour
including a self-portrait of 1915, have a muscular simplicity that demonstrates simultaneously her indebtedness to artists including Gauguin, van Gogh, Matisse and Cézanne and the confidence of her assimilation of these influences. Over and again, these paintings deny the traditional primacy in
portraiture of the face. In images of Lytton Strachey, Woolf and the compelling Duncan Grant in front of a Mirror, Bell deliberately obscures facial features so that posture and setting reveal every bit as much as the tilt of an eyebrow or a limpid gaze. In a later portrait
of Lady Strachey, from 1923, her brushstrokes do the work: bold slashes of paint that reduce the sitter’s hands to a blur, but perfectly express determination in the jutting chin and fixed expression. The exhibition includes landscape and still-life paintings ➢
Exhibition Vanessa Bell (1879–1961) at Dulwich Picture Gallery Bell’s innovative portraits, such as Selfportrait (right, about 1915) and one of several 1912 studies of her sister Virginia Woolf (far right), reduce detail to enhance the design of the composition while conveying an intimate, if slightly withdrawn, presence
and a focus on the artist’s ‘female’ experience, from a wonderfully tender portrait of Julian Bell as a baby, to three women talking in the striking A Conversation (1913–16) and the stylised domesticity of Tea Things (1919). Later, Bell’s still-lifes and interior views, such as Pinks in an Oriental Jar (1954), acquire a sfumato prettiness akin to similar paintings by Grant—a tendency she dismissed as ‘that usual English sweetness’.
In more experimental earlier essays, including Still Life (Triple Alliance) (1914), which uses newspaper collage and fragments of maps, the absence of anything approaching ‘sweetness’ is marked. In Bell’s abstract paintings and the designs she produced for screens and textiles for the Omega Workshop is a consistent focus on newness. It’s testament to the bold pull so
many of her paintings exercise on 21st-century viewers that works such as 8 Fitzroy Street, Interior with the Artist’s Daughter and the wonderful The Other Room, painted in the late 1930s, are both timeless and arresting. Bell may not emerge as a giant figure in British art through this show, but she more than
merits such a handsome, largescale survey. ‘Vanessa Bell (1879–1961)’ is at Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, London SE21, until June 4 (www.dulwichpicturegallery. org.uk; 020–8693 5254) Next week: Russian Art 1917–32 at the Royal Academy
and Child in a Landscape to the brooding shadows of Burra’s enigmatic The Churchyard, Rye and the secondary role allotted to the featureless coastline in Wadsworth’s disarming wartime study Bronze Ballet. Although the threads that connect these works are sometimes
slender, many share thoughtprovoking qualities. The inevitability of war overshadows pieces from the 1920s and 1930s; later images suggest a world of uncertainties. For visitors able to watch it in its entirety, MoholyNagy’s 1936 film Lobsters includes subversive twists.
Sussex Modernism: Retreat and Rebellion
Estate of Vanessa Bell/Courtesy of Henrietta Garnett; National Portrait Gallery; Tate, London 2015
ELL is among artists included in this attractive, smaller exhibition at 2, Temple Place, London WC2, until April 23 (www.twotempleplace.org). Her well-known, but oddly stiff, late self-portrait from the collection at Charleston, painted when she was 79, hangs between two magnificent paintings by Grant, the Seurat-influenced Bathers by the Pond and the Tate’s gorgeous Venus and Adonis (right, 1919). In this instance, Bell does not benefit from the comparison. A pair of the artist’s religious sketches hangs elsewhere in the show. Despite its title, the exhibition does not suggest that the
artists on display—including John Piper, Edward Wadsworth, Eric Gill, Edward Burra, Salvador Dalí, Peggy Angus and Hans Feibusch—discovered a shared catalyst for creativity in the county (or indeed country) of Sussex. Since time immemorial, artists have retreated from the ordinary hurlyburly of life, particularly as lived in busy urban centres, in order to prioritise creative endeavour, sometimes in enclaves of the like-minded, in other instances choosing isolation. The landscape paintings on show here reveal diverse responses to Sussex, from the hilly background to David Jones’s Madonna
100 Country Life, February 15, 2017
Dedicated places The Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth An occasional series on small, local museums dedicated to one artist, group or subject. By Huon Mallalieu
Hufton and Crow
he Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth historic Dockyard reopened in July 2016 after a three-year makeover. Anyone who visited it in its previous incarnation, admirable though that was, should return, prepared to be both moved and impressed. There is a particular power to wrecks that rise again. Those of an age to have been among the 60 million people who, on October 11, 1982, watched what was then the longest-ever television outside broadcast are unlikely to have forgotten the emotion of the moment when henry VIII’s flagship, Mary Rose, broke surface after 437 years on the Solent bottom. Swedes similarly remember where they were in 1961 when Vasa was raised. For 12 years, the timbers had to be constantly sprayed with water, later with a solution of polyethelene glycol, and could only be viewed through mist and glass. Now, one can share the air with the stabil-
After 12 years, Mary Rose can now be viewed at close quarters by members of the public
ised timbers and seemingly walk the length of the ship’s spine on the levels of three decks. This is an illusion, of course, as only the major part of the starboard side survived underwater. To one side as one walks is the ship, onto which are projected animations of the crew working at their stations and, on one’s other hand, is a virtual port side furnished with actual salvaged objects positioned as they would have been on the day she capsized— July 19, 1545. Rather touchingly, the animations were acted by members of the museum staff.
The new museum has been conceived as an oyster, with the ship as pearl, but, from the outside, it more resembles an elliptical mussel shell and its timber-clad lower parts reference traditional english boat sheds. The handsome building is by Wilkinson eyre Architects; the interiors, the work of Pringle Brandon Perkins + Will, are low lit to create a dark, claustrophobic below-decks atmosphere. There were only 35 survivors among the 500 men aboard and the remains of 179 individuals and the ship’s dog were found among the thousands of artefacts in the
Solent silt. Ninety-two have been partially reconstructed and one has been buried in Portsmouth Cathedral. Together with their accoutrements and equipment, they provide us with a new understanding of Tudor life and death. Facial reconstructions have been created from skulls, using the forensic techniques of crime investigators to bring the story of Mary Rose and her crew to life. The many thousands of artefacts on display, some of which can be handled, along with reconstructions, include personal belongings such as wooden bowls, leather shoes and many of the ship’s weapons, from longbows to two-ton brass guns. Great changes had occurred during the 35-year career of Mary Rose—in warfare and gunnery as in Church and State—and these are recorded in the hull itself, as well as in the dry documents of Tudor bureaucracy. (www.maryrose.org; 023–9281 2931)
Stand up and be counted Ysenda Maxtone Graham is riveted by the facts and figures revealed in this engaging history of the Census
Felix Man/Stringer/Hultan Deutsch/Getty; Richard Thomas/Christopher Elwell/Emilia Stasiak/Duncan Noakes/RedDaxLuma/DeyanGeorgiev/Dreamstime
Social history The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick-Maker Roger Hutchinson (Little, Brown; £20)
ith his eye for telling detail and his palpable fascination for the social history of the British isles, Roger hutchinson has made this history of the Census a highly readable delight. it’s the kind of general-knowledge-broadening book that will make you (if you read it) both more amusing at dinner parties and better on University Challenge. Did you know, for example, that the Census was begun by a clergyman’s son called John Rickman, whose 1800 article for The Commercial, Agricultural and Manufacturer’s Magazine entitled ‘thoughts on the Utility and Facility of ascertaining the Population of England’, started the whole thing off? the first British census was in 1801 (unless you count the Domesday Book, which excluded most of Wales, all of Scotland and the tax-exempt cities of london and Winchester) and, since that date, all censuses have been in the year something-one, 1941 being the sole gap in the chain. Rickman decided to go against Caesar augustus’s ‘each to his own city’ census method (the decree that caused Jesus to be born in a manger) and suggested counting citizens where they lived. no one had any idea how large or small the population was. the napoleonic Wars made it a matter of urgency to know how many people needed to be fed and how many could be raised to arms if necessary. the fear in 1801 was that the population was diminishing (imagine that). the first census was filled in by schoolmasters and overseers of the poor in every parish. many didn’t complete it, so it’s ‘a hazy
‘Rank, profession or occupation’ is one of the questions asked by the Census, which has been recording the population since 1841
snapshot’, but the estimated population turned out to be 11 million—far higher than the four million some had feared. and so the census went on, once every 10 years, each one asking for slightly more details, ranging from occupation to ethnicity. mr hutchinson takes us on a journey through the undulating populations of Scotland and ireland during the years of emigration and Clearances. We see the astonishing trends of burgeoning cities during the industrial Revolution. Sometimes, he homes in on a single human story to bring something into focus: through census details, he tells the story of a Victorian couple called the Chapmans, who moved into the same street, met, entered into a bigamous marriage, emigrated to the USa and then came home again a year or so later. (i hadn’t realised how many returning immigrants there were: a fifth of them came back.) he also evokes a lost patchwork of British towns and villages—‘the wapentake of morley’, ‘the hundred of Blackheath’, the ‘lathe of Sutton-at-hone’ and ‘the Rape of Chichester’, ‘rape’ deriving from ‘rope’ to divide land. i loved the names of occupations—the cap-makers, bonnet-
102 Country life, February 22, 2017
makers, parasol-makers, staymakers, washerwomen, bladeforgers, sword-cutters, scissormakers, French-polishers and glovers—and i relished the ones whose meaning i didn’t know— the blabbers, crutters, flukers, learnmen, spraggers and whitsters. (What do we have these days? ‘nanotechnologist’ and ‘wind-turbine technician’.) i was horrified to read that, when Charlotte Brontë filled in her census return in 1851, even though she had been revealed as the author of Jane Eyre, she gave her ‘Rank, Profession or Occupation’ as ‘none’. i didn’t know that ‘seamstress’ was often used as a euphemism for ‘prostitute’, or that, in 1911, at the height of Suffragette campaigning, a few hundred women gave their profession as ‘domestic slave’. Reading this book felt like flying above your own country when returning from a holiday abroad and looking down at the intricate patchwork of fields, farms, villages and towns, which you suddenly feel a great love for. long live the Census, recorder of essential details of who we have been and are! and there will definitely be another one in 2021.
Biography Take Courage Samantha Ellis (Chatto & Windus; £16.99)
Samantha ElliS readily admits that, like all too many of us, she used to be guilty of dismissing anne Brontë as ‘boring. Gentle. Pious. meek. the “less talented Brontë” or “the third Beatle”’. her first book, How to be a Heroine, was sparked by an argument over whether Jane Eyre or Cathy Earnshaw is a better role model; anne Brontë’s heroines agnes Grey and helen Graham don’t get so much as a mention. her attitude changed, however, when she was shown anne’s last letter, written shortly before her death at the age of 29: ‘i get a shock… it’s like meeting a completely different woman… courageous… tough, and she wanted more life.’ intrigued, she decided to investigate. the result is a compelling study in which we encounter anne through the different people in her life, an approach that allows the author to focus on a variety of themes: from motherhood via maria, anne’s mother, to the moors—with their pleasures, dangers and folklore—via tabby, the housekeeper. that agnes and helen each get a chapter indicates miss Ellis’s delight in the power of literature and perhaps also shows how the endless mythologising of the Brontë sisters has made the real people seem almost as fictional as their creations. the title comes from anne’s last words: ‘take courage, Charlotte, take courage.’ miss Ellis shows that anne’s relationship with her sisters was ‘bruising and complicated’, but points out that she has since ‘been rescued by a different sisterhood’—feminism, thanks to the radical power of her writing. She reveals anne’s extraordinary courage in many aspects of her short life and, by embracing the necessary subjectivity that a biographer brings to her work, miss Ellis lets us accompany her on her own personal journey of discovery. Between the two of them, we readers can’t help but be inspired to ‘take courage’ ourselves. Emily Rhodes www.countrylife.co.uk
History Who Lost Russia?: How the World Entered a New Cold War Peter Conradi (Oneworld; £18.99) By the end of 1991, three totally unexpected and very dramatic events had occurred in eastern europe. the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain had collapsed and the more than 40-year-long Cold War had effectively been won by the West. the Soviet Union had ceased to be a Communist country and reverted to being Russia. Its extended empire had retracted within its frontiers with the breakaway independence of many of the peripheral regions of Central Asia, Ukraine and the Baltic States. the question that Peter Conradi addresses in this book has dominated the past 25 years: how is it that, with the dismantling of a hostile super-power and all the defence-budget sav-
ings that this provided for the West, we still feel threatened and the world does not seem a safer place? What went wrong? the author is well qualified to answer these questions as he spent seven years as a foreign correspondent in Moscow over the key period. Who Lost Russia? is also a very timely book. With the election of a new president in the USA, who professes a respect verging at times on admiration for Vladimir Putin, the strong man in the Kremlin, it’s a moment for reassessment of east-West relations and a chance to correct some of the mistakes of the past. And what a lot of mistakes there were! they started with the failure to realise the need for a Marshall Plan-scale package of practical help for the emerging Russian Republic, which might have prevented its lapse into Mafia-like practices (which are, incidentally, brilliantly analysed here).
At first, the good relations between Bill Clinton and Boris yeltsin promised well, but the West failed to realise early enough that any expansion of NAtO eastwards was seen as a threat by Russia. When east Germany, Poland, hungary and the Czech Republic (all formerly members of the Warsaw Pact) and then the three Baltic States (all formerly part of the Soviet Union itself) joined the Western alliance, it was understandably seen in Moscow as ‘tickling the Russian bear’s nose’. the West also failed to appreciate that the Crimea had been part of Russia since the time of Catherine the Great (until it was moved to Ukraine as an internal administrative measure in 1954) and was the home port of the Russian Black Sea fleet. Once Ukraine started to look westwards, Russia felt bound and determined to reoccupy its former province.
As one crisis succeeded another—Chechnya, Georgia, the Crimea, Ukraine, Syria— and the friendly, alcoholic yeltsin was replaced by the stern, sober Putin, it became clear that Russia was not prepared to see itself as a junior partner in the war on terror, or in anything else. Respect and international status became increasingly important to Mr Putin as the Russian economy, beset by falling oil prices and sanctions, faltered. By continually flexing his muscles, Mr Putin also made himself responsible for the continued eastWest confrontation. the last word of wisdom in this exhaustingly detailed, but profoundly important survey is with henry Kissinger: the disputed areas must become a bridge not a battlefield. Let us hope his extremely sensible advice prevails. John Ure
Bridge Andrew Robson
A prize of £15 in book tokens will be awarded for the first correct solution opened. Solutions must reach Crossword No 4467, Country Life, Pinehurst II, Pinehurst Road, Farnborough Business Park, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 7BF, by Tuesday, February 21. UK entrants only.
ACROSS 1. Adult males agree intellectually (8) 5. Large toupée for a VIP? (6) 9. Delivering poetry, and quoting again (8) 10. Italian painter—one protected by giant (6) 12. Girls attending grand spectacles (7) 13. A more satisfactory partner in crime (7) 14. Varying in substance, little sibling admitted (12) 17. At beach, we get involved with big butterfly (7, 5) 22. Some November mud affecting West Indian islands (7) 23. Libertine leaving to get dubious profit? (4-3) 24. Vinegary champion with nervous twitch (6) 25. Austrians compete with Pole seen around (8) 26. European king entertaining key ballerina, say? (6) 27. Thrive endlessly at Court? That’s the expectation (8)
DOWN 1. Aggression on motorway? An illusory thing (6) 2. Sugary fluid producing trance, perhaps? (6) 3. Skilled worker taking sides? Not at first (7) 4. Tall equestrian raising son to be docker (12) 6. Frigidity of old chemical-company head (7) 7. American painter showing happiness at work? (8) 8. Produce information with energy and speed (8) 11. Bird in Planet Earth at last— one causing hassle? (5, 7) 15. Set up dull method of payment for sheath (8) 16. Working near Bede’s place in Scotland (8) 18. Insulting sailor, this compiler’s taken round America (7) 19. Thanks Cambridge college for income (7) 20. Woman’s in business, initially eager to stick together (6) 21. Impression produced by most of one’s belongings? (6) casina
HE 53rd European Championships were nearing the end. The England Open Team had largely disappointed. The hopes of a medal gone, we were now struggling to finish in the top seven (out of the 37 competing countries) and a place in the World Championships. This wellbid grand slam by Denmark dented our chances. How would you play Seven Spades (a) on a passive Spade lead and (b) on a Heart lead?
Dealer north East-West vulnerable Q 10 4 aQ43 8 aQ732 76 52 N K98652 7 62 Q 9 7 5 4 3 W✢E S 965 K J 10 4
10 11 13
14 15 17
NAME (pLease print in CapitaLs) ADDRESS Tel No Country Life,
published by Time Inc. (UK) Ltd will collect your personal information to process your entry. Would you like to receive emails from Country Life and Time Inc. (UK) Ltd containing news, special offers and product and service information anda take part in our magazine research via email? If yes, please tick here. ❑ Country Life and Time Inc. (UK) Ltd would like to contact you by post or telephone to promote and ask your opinion on our magazines and services. Please tick here if you prefer not to hear from us. ❑ Time Inc. (UK) Ltd may occasionally pass your details to carefully selected organisations so they can contact you by telephone or post with regards to promoting and researching their products and services. Please tick here if you prefer not to be contacted. ❑
SOLUTION TO 4466 (Winner will be announced in two weeks’ time) ACROSS: 7, Dragonfly; 8, Quack; 10, Baritone; 11, Opiate; 12, Teen; 13, Retainer; 15, Time lag; 17, Frances; 20, Shipmate; 22, Side; 25, Swerve; 26, Scrabble; 27, Snout; 28, Reinstate. DOWN: 1, Broad; 2, Ignite; 3, Insomnia; 4, Allegro; 5, Audition; 6, Scattered; 9, Port; 14, Right wing; 16, Emporium; 18, Restring; 19, Welshed; 21, Apes; 23, Debate; 24, Flats. Winner of 4464 is Paul Wavrell, Iffley, Oxfordshire.
104 Country Life, February 15, 2017
Dealer south East-West vulnerable a 10 3 Q 10 5 2 J986 85 752 QJ9864 974 aK863 N K 10 5 — W✢E J732 a 10 S
aKJ983 J 10 a K J 10 8 south
4nT(2) Pass 5nT(4) Pass
a Diamond and ruffed a fourth Club. He now drew trumps, cashed his King of Diamonds and crossed to the Ace of Hearts to cash the long Club (the Queen), discarding his second Heart. Grand slam made. If West had kicked off with his singleton Heart, declarer’s late entry to the fifth Club is gone. There is now just one winning line. Win the Ace of Hearts, cross to a Spade and lead a Club to the Queen, a necessary risk. When it wins (phew), cash the Ace of Clubs, discarding your second Heart, and ruff your two Diamonds in dummy. My partner Tony Forrester tackled this Five Diamonds nicely in that same Denmark match.
East Pass Pass
K J aQ7432 KQ964
(1) More helpful than Two Hearts. after all, there is no chance partner has four cards in Hearts unless he has five cards in spades (he’d respond the cheaper One Heart with four-four in the majors). (2) Roman Keycard Blackwood agreeing spades. (3) Two of ‘five aces’ (including the King of spades) plus the Queen of spades. (4) confirming all the keycards and inviting a grand slam (partner can show how many Kings he holds, if he’s unsure). (5) Maximum shapely hand for his simple raise to Two spades. One of his two Queens should prove useful.
The English West was understandably loath to lead his singleton Heart. Partner was not going to hold the Ace and might hold a finesseable Queen or similar. He led a Spade. Declarer now demonstrated how to make Seven Spades without taking any finesses. He won the Ace of Spades, then, at trick two, crossed to the Ace of Clubs and ruffed a Club. He cashed the Ace of Diamonds and ruffed a Diamond. He ruffed a third Club and was very pleased to see both opponents follow (low) to reveal the four-three split. He ruffed
(1) The Michaels convention, showing five-five(+) in the majors.
West kicked off with the Ace of Hearts and switched at trick two to the nine of Spades, declarer winning the King. At trick two, declarer led the Queen of Clubs, West winning the Ace and returning the ten to declarer’s King. Declarer knew 12 of West’s cards—five cards in each major plus two Clubs. Reasoning that if West held just five Spades, East would have four and might have ventured a Three Spade bid, declarer played West for his actual 6-5-0-2 shape. He ruffed a third Club (as West discarded). He then led the Knave of Diamonds, intending to run it. In fact, East covered with the King, declarer winning the Ace. All over bar the shouting, declarer ruffed a fourth Club, ran the nine of Diamonds, cashed the Ace of Spades, ruffed himself back to hand, cashed the Queen of Diamonds felling East’s ten and claimed his game. www.countrylife.co.uk
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www.originaloakflooring.com CHARLECOTES INTERIORS LTD The Mill . The Old Hambledon Racecourse . Sheardley Lane . Wallops Wood Droxford . Hampshire . SO32 3QY . E: email@example.com Enquiries Please Call: www.countrylife.co.uk
T: 01489 878841 . M: 07799 707040 Country Life, February 15 2017 109
“Is where the heart is”
A Wheathills Memory Box is a beautiful piece of art where precious personal family memories will always be safe.
More than this each individual hand crafted Box is a true token of love, celebrating a deﬁning moment in life.
“Living a passionate life”
Truly a wonderful gift to be cherished, admired and remembered by.
“50 and fabulous”
“A moment of elation”
Genuine British Craftsmanship
For further information or to request a free Little Book of Memories, please call +44(0) 1332 824819 or visit www.exquisitememorybox.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org 110 Country Life, February 15 2017
Motoring 01582 967777
NAMES AND WORDS
MCL 4IR FEN 50M COO 7E LEN I MOS 70N BAB 3R HOW 4T P3 GGY NAN 5 COU 9E FUR 5E LAK 3R
PFH I I EYC LHM 7 70 FJ GY I 88 JTF WJE I 6 PST
ABII ETT AAD 3L FAD I4N AII4 WAD ALB 32T ALD 32R ALE 78 ANN I84L A26 HER AR63 NEL A54 NTE A578 URY ATK IIIN AVE 2IIL BAK 333S BAII DRY BAI2 RRY BAI2 TLE BAR 7I3Y BAR 724M BAS 5IL BAY IIIS BEA 2R B345 LEY BEE 3S B36 LEY BEL 50N B3I TON
BES 70N BLA IID BOA 900 I3 ONE BO55 WEL BOX 4IL 82 ADY B23 WER BRI4 ANS B200 KER BI20 OME B2 USH 82 YN B27 ONY BUL I3R BUS 53Y CAII LAN CAII LOW CAII DLE CAR 3E CAR I35S C42 LEY CAR 2R C422 OLL C4I2 TON C47 HAL CHA 93L CLII NCH
ABF 3 30 CAG II CBR I ABF CCF I I AFP CE 8 9 AHH ALG 34 99 CEA CFT 7 I6 ARJ ARW I CGC 4I I6 ASD 8 CHB I CJV 78 ATB 8 CPR 9II BD 78 BE 2I CVB 77 BGC I CWM 80 CY II BJH 92 D 94 BL D5 BMF I II DBT BN 84 650 BP I DCE 9 BPM 450 DG II BPM 6 DGR
COA 7S COII DON CI0 RKE COT 74M CRA IIIK CRII TEN CRU IIIP D42 LEY DAR 23IL D425 HAN D4 SEY D33 GAN DEN I55E DES I2E DOI2 CAS D2 OWN DUK 6S EAR 2P EDII UND EGO 5S FEII DER ENN IIS EII9 ENE EUS 746E EVE 237T EXA IIIS F4 BRE FAR 976
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GI20 GAN GII ARD H46 KER HAL I37T H4I2 PER HAR 220D HAR 20W HAY 47T I RO HEA 27S H347 HER HEM 6L H32 RON HOG I33N HOL 7T II00 PS HOR II8Y HOW I37T HU66 HES HYW 33L KHA 4I3D L3II NON MAG 90T JAN II6E MAH 6R LEO IIA KII2 KUP JAY 7IIE KII2 TON L309 ARD M4I2 EAD JEL II3Y LAR 2K M4II ETT L3 VER JUN 6G LAS IIE LOU I56E MAII SER JUS 7I6E LAW 4L MAP I09 LUV I3Y KEI7 HSK LAW 73Y LOV I3S MAR I33E LAY 606K KEN 4 LOX I3Y MAR 277N L424 RUS MAC I34N MAS IIIH KEN IIT LEN IE MAW I M46 RAE KET I3Y
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MEE II4N MEE 2A MEII LON MEII DES MER 6Y ME5I BOB ME5I COW MII6 UEL MOA 7T MOII ONY
MOR 2I5S MOS I3Y MOW I4M MOX IIE MUL 623W MUII ERY MUII ETT MUS 73R MUT 7I3Y MYR 7IE NAD 33N NEW II4N NI88 LER NOR 233N NUR 70N NUT 5IE OGL IE OLW 6N OMA 22R ORI2 ELL MR05 HEA OUT I OYS 70N P444 GAN PAG 37T P4I NEY PAII TON P4I2 KES
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TER 335A THO 2IIE TI32 NAN TRE I3IE 72 UDY UUN I7E VAL IIIE VEII OUR VOII UME W4I DEN WAL I70N WAN 7T WAS 5S W44 TCH W3 ALE W38 LTH W33 DON WEL II4M WES I3Y W357 LEY WET 770N WOO 770N WOI2 GAN WOR 7I3Y WYM 3R 74 TES YOU II4S YOII SEF
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Country Life, February 15 2017 111
A history of our family in 1,000 objects
ERE’S a tip. If you’re starting a collection, already have one or have just acquired one, whether it’s Dinky toys, narcissus bulbs or Picasso etchings, start a catalogue, too. You’ll find it great fun and, in the distant future, full of interest. My father, a doctor, started collecting in middle age and catalogued everything he bought. His collecting involved an eternal hunt for more, be it English porcelain figures, Georgian silver or 20th-century British art. This was the first bit of enjoyment. Then, he would bring his buy home and start to research it for his catalogue (no internet then). This was also terrific fun. I think it was the best bit. Nothing was too insignificant to be written up, first on sheets of paper and then, when he thought the info adequate, on stiff cards. A lot of these descended to me and were transcribed from his impossible writing by a friendly secretary. To say she had difficulty puts it mildly. To prove nothing was too insignificant, here is an example:
‘Worcester blue and white moulded, painted pickle tray. Elaborate leaf moulding outside, blue decoration (floral) inside… c1755, complete longitudinal crack.’ He records that he bought it in June 1951 from a York dealer for 5d or, in decimal terms, 2p. He adds more details of the maker’s mark: ‘V&A Collection3252.’ I still have the little chap. Later, I started my own catalogue, first with Victorian glass, which I now loathe. Looking at it, I see my entry about a 1860s military chest bought from an officers’ mess in Hampshire (what could be more appropriate?). I was under 20. Weirdly, I detailed each piece with a code for price and that one cost me £2.50. Seven years later, I found a mahogany country Chippendale table, about 1750, for £3.50 in Pickering, North Yorkshire. I still have both and remember clearly how I came to acquire them. Hew and I still catalogue things. I know I recently spent £25 for a modern necklace and who made it. I know that my amber necklace was bought by my maternal
Member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation
By Annie Tempest
grandfather when on a trip to the Baltic. He was a poor boy who grew up to become a rich ship owner and, as a consequence, never bought anything but the best. And there’s a watercolour of Gozo, near Malta, by Edward Lear (bought in a lot for £2 by my father in 1967). In his catalogue, my father noted that Lear has written that the scenery ‘may truly be called pomskizillious and gromophiberous’.
They’ll help children learn what their packrat parents did in their free time
Our catalogues have taught us a bit about our family history, Lear, Gozo geography, where the best amber is found and how it was possible to buy a military chest directly from the military. Every time I read them, they bring back memories of dread-
ful old junk shops with dusty treasures or snooty dealers who took one look at us and directed us to the ‘cheap room’. I remember stopping at one such and spotting a small Chinese figure of a Court lady. Casually, I asked: ‘How much is that rough figure over there?’ ‘Ah,’ said the dealer, smirking, ‘you mean the T’ang.’ He had known all along and waited, like a spider, for me to get caught in his web. You’ll never complete your catalogue if, like us, you’re always buying things, whether at auction, in shops or on eBay and if, also like us, you move pieces from room to room. Or if the task of describing every book (barring crime paperbacks) is too daunting. That’s a pleasure for the current long winter evenings. Start now, while dusk still falls in the afternoon and when you can sit over a glowing (or as they usually say, roaring) log fire and remember coups gone past. They’ll give you memories decades later and help your children learn what their pack-rat parents did with their free time.
Visit Tottering-By-Gently on our website: www.countrylife.co.uk/tottering
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112 Country Life, February 15, 2017