Here is the fifth installment in ‘Our favourite object‘ series. This post comes from our chief House Elf, Julie…
“As a House Elf I am incredibly lucky to work with all of the beautiful objects at Charlecote and trying to choose my favourite has been a real challenge. Maybe the authentic Ancient Greek vases that have survived thousands of years or what about the little locked box that we have convinced ourselves contains a treasure map? It wasn’t until I was working in the Library one day that I realised what my favourite object is. Ok, so it’s probably technically more of a fixture or fitting but the carved fireplace in this room is definitely something special.
Dating from the time the Library was built in the 1830s, to me the fireplace embodies everything that Charlecote is; the character of the house can be seen in this one object.
Charlecote Library (NTPL)
The fireplace is a strong, proud piece just like Charlecote itself sitting in the parkland overlooking the river. It also reminds me of the strength of the Lucy family who have managed to survive here throughout 800 years of history.
It is beautifully carved but not over the top or too showy which is just like Charlecote as a whole. Although it is a country house belonging for many years to Baronets and landed gentry, Charlecote still feels like a home. It is not palatial or ostentatious like Chatsworth or Blenheim Palace and doesn’t try to be either. Visitors often say to us that they don’t feel intimidated by the property but feel quite at home at Charlecote and could quite easily live here!
The Library has gone through quite a change with all the rewiring works!
The fireplace has family at its centre with the coats of arms of Mary Elizabeth and George. Family is a strong theme running throughout Charlecote and the presence of Lucy family members can be felt everywhere. Whether it is the wedding favours preserved in the Drawing Room, the countless family portraits, Granny’s summerhouse in the gardens or the heart breaking memories retold in ‘The Mistress of Charlecote’, family is an incredibly important part of Charlecote Park.
Then there is the motto “live to learn, learn to live”. Such a simple phrase but so effective. It’s a motto that seems to mean slightly different things to different people. It makes me feel humble knowing that there is a lot to learn in life but I also feel inspired to take this knowledge and go out and live!
‘Live to Learn – Learn to Live’
On top of all of this though perhaps the main reason why the Library fireplace is my favourite object is that of all the things I wish I could do at Charlecote, curling up in front of a roaring fire in the Library with a good book would definitely be number one.”
Julie, House Steward