Getting Plastered

Earlier this month I spent a few days gaining experience with a team of plasterers currently involved in the restoration of Lowther Castle near Penrith. Continue reading

Across the Border: Welsh Ruins

Yes, I have been broadening my horizons and while it might seem a slight digression from the geographical focus of this site, last week saw me exploring new ruin territory.

Since the beginning of my on-going artistic work with ruins, I have chosen to concentrate on those found in Scotland. I’m sometimes asked why I favour these buildings over those in other parts of Britain, the answer being that it is not really a conscious focus but simply the result of my deep love of the country. In fact my love of ruins and Scotland seem to go hand in hand. My early explorations of derelict mansions took me to the far reaches of the land I’d always called home without having experienced to any great extent. I discovered Scotland to be a truly beautiful place of diverse landscapes and captivating architecture, and this love only intensified after living in London where I often craved my homeland as the antidote to city life. Continue reading

Stately Hoards

All has been quiet here for the past week while I’ve been away on a trip which will get its own blog post very shortly. While on my return journey I took the opportunity to stop off in Gloucestershire and Derbyshire to visit two rather remarkable National Trust properties. Country Houses are of course generally admired for their collections of precious paintings and priceless pieces of furniture, but it was the jumble of the eccentric and ordinary which made Snowshill Manor and Calke Abbey particularly special for me. Both houses are home to extensive collections of miscellanea amassed by their previous owners, and perfectly embody my belief that a house should not simply be a building, but an experience to stir and entice.

Snowshill Manor plays host to an eclectic mix of objects accumulated by its most recent owner, Charles Paget Wade, who bought the 16th Century manor house in 1919 purely to house this vast collection. Behind the picturesque Cotswold stone façade the house is packed to the rafters with literally thousands of items of diverse origin. On the surface the collection seems completely random and resembles a slightly obsessive hoard, but the quality of all the pieces demonstrates that Wade simply had a love of all things beautiful, be they humble or highly decorative.

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