Kedleston Hall – more photos from my ‘jolly.’ Part two: Peacock dresses, Eastern Museums and more…revisiting my blog post in lockdown
I know this is my Author Blog about my writing and with guest authors, but every now and again I think it is nice to share some of my little trips – what I call ‘Jollies,’ to some of the fabulous houses, gardens, countryside, villages, churches and cathedrals in England.
So here I am sharing a ‘Jolly’ with you all.
My visit to Kedleston Hall
last year was a wonderful experience and I wish I could have spent longer there.
The house is beautiful and so are the grounds, but there is also a fabulous collection of artefacts inside, some of which I managed to photograph as well.
Since I didn’t have room to post more photos on Part One of my ‘jolly’ to Kedleston, I’ve decided to continue with Part Two.
‘Grant me ye Gods, a pleasant seat,
In attick elegance made neat,
Fine lawns. much wood, and water plenty,
(Of deer and herds, and flocks not scanty)
Laid out in such an uncurb’d taste,
That nature mayn’t be lost but grac’d.’
In his youth the 1st Lord Scarsdale dreamt of creating such an idyllic landscape at Kedleston, and with Robert Adams help, he succeeded.
The park is man-made but looks completely natural.
It was created almost completely to Adam’s unique design at the same time he worked on the house.
Lord Curzon was fascinated by art and architecture, and accumulated his collection of Eastern artefacts during his tours of Asia in 1887,1890 and 1894 and whilst Viceroy of India, 1899-1905.
As per his Will, he divided his collection between the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the museum he created at Kedleston – The Eastern Museum.
Some of the items I saw on display reminded me of artefacts my own Grandfather brought back from India where he served with the British Indian Army from about 1927 until Partition in 1947.
When I was a little girl I was fascinated by some of his wonderful carved tables,
ornaments and rugs for the walls; too many amazing items to list here.
I can recall the smell of the wood (camphor, I think) that filled the rooms of his house.
I could smell the same smell in the Eastern Museum.
Centrepiece of the Eastern Museum is a dress worn by Mary, Lady Curzon in 1903.
It is famous and is known as The Peacock Dress.
She wore it to the evening ball which followed the Coronation of Durbar in Delhi 1903 – the high point of Curzon’s term as Viceroy.
The dress was embroidered by Indian craftsmen with metal thread and jewels on cloth of gold in the pattern of a peacock’s feathers, so that it would glisten in a room lit by electricity.
The dress was acquired by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax when her daughter died.
The Trophy Corridor was originally an arcade, glazed and made wider by Lord Curzon who hung his game trophies there and displayed his natural history specimens.
Lord Curzon also had a collection of taxidermy. Delightful!
Every room had something of interest but there wasn’t much information of the printed variety. Each room was occupied by a person knowledgeable enough to explain everything on view and to answer many questions. My companions were particularly interested in the way the doors were made, how the furnishing were crafted, and asked many questions to which they sometimes received very complex answers which thankfully made total sense to the gentleman asking. One question involved the door shown which does not have any visible hinges. I wish I could recall how it was done, but after about ten minutes of detailed discussion I am afraid my mind glazed over. It was fascinating but it got a bit too technical for me.