The Stones in Charlecote’s Pietra Dura table

Our House elves have almost completed their winter clean and we’re almost ready to reopen the doors and welcome visitors to our House once again. To whet your appetite, we thought we’d share some information about one of our top objects – the pietra dura table in the Great Hall.

Detail of the Lucy table from the Library at Charlecote with carved oak base and pietra dura top, purchased in 1824 from Thomas Emmerson.

Detail of the Lucy table from the Library at Charlecote with carved oak base and pietra dura top, purchased in 1824 from Thomas Emmerson.

It is an item of the collection that really does make you stop and look a little. Many of our visitors ask the guides about this table so in this post Frank, one of our Tuesday guides, will tell you more…

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Travertine:

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The large central stone is travertine, also called alabaster, comprises mainly of the mineral calcite (3 on the Mohs scale) and therefore fairly soft and easily worked. It is formed by the calcite deposits of hot springs and colouring is caused by the inclusion of iron oxides and other impurities.

This one is known in Italian as alabastro a tartaruga from its resemblance to a
tortoise shell (tartaruga is Italian for tortoise). It is found in the hot spring deposits of Iona in Tuscany. Travertines are also known in the stone trade as oriental onyx or onyx marble but in geological terms they are neither onyx nor marble. Continue reading

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Celebrating Chinese New Year through our collections

Today marks Chinese New Year and we’re marking this occassion by highlighting some special items from our collections – both inside and out…

Our House Elves care for such a wide variety of items. The collections includes things such as copper pots, taxidermy, framed portraits, tiny miniatures, carved stonework, family books, as well as a fleet of carriages and an historic harp! But we asked them to pick just a few items to share today – each of them with a Chinese connection.

Here’s just a few of the items they chose;

20160131 CNY_house_fish bowls Continue reading

The Governess Cart

Here’s a view you don’t normally get to see.

 

Standing in the carriage house looking out to the courtyard

Standing in the carriage house looking out to the courtyard

Last week our House Elves opened the carriage house doors in preparation for a very special delivery. These doors are normally kept closed in order to help conserve our carriages which would be covered in dust, dirt and grit with them open. Whilst they were open we took the chance to take a few photos in the beautiful sunshine!

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But what was this special delivery I hear you cry…

It was a ‘new’ cart for our collection!

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A local family kindly donated this Governess cart to us! Several years ago they drove it around the grounds and it will now make a wonderful addition to our visitor offer. It is surprisingly maneuverable as it is designed to be a light cart that could be pulled by a gentle natured pony and handled by the Governess on her own. There are four seats enabling the Governess to take her child charges with her in the cart.

These photographs show it being moved into it’s new home.

Julie (House & Visitor Services Manager) and Paul (Acting Park and Garden Manager) had the important job of moving it into position!

Julie (House & Visitor Services Manager) and Paul (Acting Park and Garden Manager) had the important job of moving it into position!

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Thanks to Jana for taking these photos

 

Over the summer we will be working on installing this cart in the outbuildings courtyard so that you climb inside and imagine yourself riding around the Warwickshire countryside. At the moment we are storing it temporarily, but we will be keeping you up to date with progress.

 

Find out more about our house and collections on the webpages. We’ve quite a lot to see and do if you wanted to visit!

 

 

House Elves and the Winter Clean

Sorry for not updating you about our progress with the winter ‘deep’ clean sooner, but as you can imagine we have been very very busy Elves! A lot has happened since Christmas, too much to mention here, so we thought we’d compile a few highlights showing what we’ve been doing into a short video to share with you.

As you can see, a huge amount of care and attention has gone into successfully completing the clean in such a short space of time. We’re now downing brushes and dustsheets in preparation for the house reopening February 14th; but an Elf’s work is never done as we’ll continue to clean and monitor the collection during the open season.

Stay tuned for more updates!