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.