Re-opening… with a rather special guest

The Drawing Room might be undercover but there is still plenty to keep our visitors interested!

The Drawing Room might be undercover but there is still plenty to keep our visitors interested!

This week we reopened the house again this week! It has been a rather busy time getting everything ready to re-open especially when we’ve been so affected by the extreme weather the past few months. We’ve been working hard behind the scenes with the help of our wonderful volunteers and reopened fully last Saturday.

We closed the doors on 23 December 2012 after our last Christmas event day. But did we put our feet up with a cuppa and enjoy the rest? Chance would be a fine thing. Our House Elves were kept very busy keeping an eye on our electricians who I think now can be termed honorary elves for the amount of time and dedication they gave to us.

It feels like it has been a long winter and the house, although now open once again, is still not quite as we remember it. Boxes with carefully packed up treasures are scattered around the house having been protected from the major works. The rewire is now complete and we have waved good bye to our electrical elves whilst we turn our attention to getting the house sorted. It will be a slow process as there is a lot to unpack!

The House elves have been rehanging the paintings in the Library prior to reopening

The House elves have been rehanging the paintings in the Library prior to reopening

The Library has around 3,500 volumes which have been wrapped up and packed away...

The Library has around 3,500 volumes which have been wrapped up and packed away…

Our Victorian Kitchen, Great Hall and Ebony bedroom are mostly back to normal but other rooms will take more work. Take the Library as an example. The 3,500 volumes took weeks and many hands to get packed up and will take just as long to get back on the shelves. If you visit us, you might well see our elves at work. During the week our house elves will be busy working in front of visitors and most happy to talk about their work.
You’ll find that we have a few of our star books on display in cases in the library. These include books personal to the Lucy family, a copy of the Merry Wives of Windsor and a Shakespeare folio. It is quite a treat to see these up close like this as they are usually on the shelves out of view! We’re also sharing the video of the House Elves rolling the carpet last summer to give visitors an insight into the work. You can watch the video here if you’ve not yet seen it…

It is lovely to have our volunteer teams back. Working in the office I hear laughing and joking from our kitchen as volunteers reunite after the winter break. And we’re enjoying catching up with them all too!

Don’t forget that we’re extending our house opening this year and will be open on Thursdays from now until the end of October! We’ve got some lovely new volunteers joining our team to help us do this and you’d be most welcome to join us. We’re still looking for a few more people to help in the house as Room Guides and in our Victorian kitchens. Please do get in touch and we’ll send you some information!

And you may be wondering who our special guest is…

Well after the news of Richard III dominated headlines earlier in the week, Sir Edmund Fairfax-Lucy (present Baronet living at Charlecote) suggested we display this…

RichardIII

This portrait dates from 1600. We are uncertain as to how or even when it came to Charlecote but we know that it is a copy of a master copy, which itself was taken from a long since lost original.

This version is slightly different to those in the Royal Collection and the National Portrait Gallery, which are of an earlier date. It was fashionable to have sets of royal portraits on display in your home, which perhaps is why it was here at Charlecote.

It is only on display for a short time so don’t miss your chance to come and see it!

Ruth, Administrator

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