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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Charlecote_pietra dura_travertine
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

In the Library at Charlecote… Shakespeare’s Second Folio

We’ve been running some Book Talks in our Library recently and they’ve been very well received. So well received that we’ve decided to run more [we’ll share more information in on those dates in the new year]!

During these talks, visitors have had a chance to talk with our guides about the collection held here at Charlecote; what is in it, why it is so special and how it is cared for. It’s a very special collection with a number of particularly interesting volumes.

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Volunteer guide, Len, tells us more about one of these – the Shakespeare Second Folio (1632)…

Len in the library at Charlecote
What is a Folio?
It tells us how the printer folded his paper. The largest books were the folios made by printing on both sides of the paper and folding the paper just once to produce two leaves with four sides of text. The paper size will vary but be approximately 12” X 15”.

A quarto is where the paper is folded in half and then folded again. This will give four leaves and eight pages approximately 9.5” x 12”.

The next sizes down are octavo (paper-back size), 12mo, 16mo, and 32mo.

What is the importance of a folio?

For Shakespeare it provides not a definitive edition of the plays, which is no longer possible, but a scholarly production that is thought to be as close as possible to the manuscript copies of the plays.

Continue reading

Help us bring the outbuildings to life…

Are you interested in joining our volunteer team and giving our visitors a taste of what Charlecote was like back in the day? We’re looking for enthusiastic and personable individuals to bring our very special place to life showing what it was like for a Victorian servant ‘below stairs’!

Charlecote laundry

We need people to help us bring the Victorian kitchen, laundry and coach houses to life. These areas used to be a hive of activity with staff bustling to and fro. Washing the family linens, tending to the horses, working in the tack room, brewing the beer… it was all happening!

But it is a little quiet at the moment.

We’d like to change this. Continue reading

Hidden Charlecote… your chance to get behind the scenes!

During the winter months, when the house is on its reduced opening for its deep clean, we’re looking to run some special tours for our visitors. These tours will show the ‘hidden’ parts of our place. Rooms and areas not normally open through the year. We will be running these tours with members of our volunteer team, however we need more!

Have you a hankering to delve into the past? Does our special place fascinate and excite you? Do you enjoy talking to people? Would you like to lead a tour at Charlecote?

Visitors on a guided tour... Could you lead them? (©National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra)

Visitors on a guided tour… Could you lead them?
(©National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra)

We’re building up our team of guides and this is a great time to join us!

Don’t be put off!
Don’t be put off if you’re thinking ‘I don’t know enough about the house’ or ‘I haven’t volunteered here before’, that doesn’t matter as training will be provided. The key thing is that you enjoy communicating with people and sharing Charlecote with them. We’ve some training days scheduled for September and October with one of our regional managers. At these training sessions we will put the content of the tours together as a group, everyone will have a chance to influence what goes into the tours and how they are run, and we will also look at what makes a good guided tour.

Go behind the scenes as a tour guide and learn all about the 'Hidden Charlecote'...

Go behind the scenes as a tour guide and learn all about the ‘Hidden Charlecote’…

Get in touch today!
You can read more about this volunteer role by downloading our role profile and submit your volunteer application to us via our website. If you would like an informal chat about the role and what is involved, just get in touch and our volunteer coordinator will be happy to help answer any questions you have.


Tour Guide Role Profile by CharlecoteNT


One of our 'hidden' areas...

One of our ‘hidden’ areas…