Restoration

Restoration 2

Welcome inside Seaton Delaval Hall

Welcome inside Seaton Delaval Hall

Early this year I first shared Northumberland’s Seaton Delaval Hall with you.  At that time it was wholely encased in scaffolding and a woeful sight.  I breathed a huge sigh of delighted relief to find it standing proud and unencumbered on my return this Summer.

Last week we had a wander in the beautiful gardens and I promised a look inside.  I didn’t know then the theme of this week’s Thursday’s Special.  My sun beaming in is as close as I get to the ‘gold inside’, but I hope you will join me anyway.

Let’s take a look.  So much has been accomplished!

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And then we step inside.  The height of the hall is no longer a surprise to me but, looking up, I’m happy to see the Muses restored to their lofty niches.  Sunlight illuminates the silent figures.

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Solemn

Solemn, and missing a limb or two

The conservation team have done an amazing job.  The 30 foot high Central Hall was gutted by fire and left open to the elements for many years.  Even in its fragile state there was a grace and a majesty to the building.  The team have lifted and relaid the tiled marble floor, and the stucco statues have been strengthened, repaired and returned to their original niches.

The six statues represent the muses of sculpture, painting, architecture, astronomy, geography and music.  Apparently they were made in situ, from an iron framework covered in tile, brick and plaster to produce a mannequin.  Muslin beneath layers of stucco plaster created a very realistic appearance.  Conservation enthusiasts might enjoy the Hall’s blog.

Mounting the West Staircase, I look out at the gardens

Mounting the West Staircase, I look out at the gardens

And down the stairwell

And down the elliptical stairwell

Up close and personal with the muses

Finding myself up close and personal with the muses

It seems that the Hall was always graceful and beautiful

It seems that the Hall was always graceful and beautiful

Beautiful again!

As it is again, today!

It was a glorious day and I strolled the gardens, and then was about to head for the tea rooms when I spied an open door, off the courtyard.  I hadn’t noticed it before and curiosity impelled me inside.  Be prepared for some serious treasure.  I wasn’t!

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Click on a photo to view in more detail

The Fairfax Jewel

The Fairfax Jewel

The treasures never end!

The treasures never end!

The Delavals were great collectors and the evidence is everywhere.  A complete treasure trove! Much of the history of the Hall is on my previous post, and you will find additional details (including how to get there) on this National Trust link to Seaton Delaval Hall.

I thoroughly enjoyed my return visit and hope that you did too.  If you ask nicely you can have oozy cream on your hot chocolate fudge cake in the tea rooms.  Very nice!  Now I need to take you to Paula’s place for her interpretation of the gold inside.  It’s beautiful- of course!

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Seaton Delaval Hall gardens

On Monday many of you joined me for a walk at Seaton Sluice, on the Northumberland coast. There I discovered a wonderful piece of shoreline, but my real purpose that day was to make a return visit to Seaton Delaval Hall.

It was August last year, on a cool, turning to dampish day, that I first saw these gardens.  I knew then that I’d be back.  As luck would have it, I was just in time to rescue the water lilies from the mischievous fingers of a small boy.  Caught in the act!

The frog needed to take a tougher stance

The frog needed to take a tougher stance

Water and small boys.  Inevitable temptation!  But let’s wander elsewhere.  There are plenty of temptations in this garden, and even a small nursery where you might find a little something to add to your collection.  The house and gardens are owned by the National Trust, and the bank of volunteer gardeners are highly enthusiastic about their subject.  Gardener Chris Brock keeps a blog which enthusiasts among you might like.

The Hall is a lovely backdrop to the Rose Garden

The Hall is a lovely backdrop to the Rose Garden

The roses date back to the 1950s

With roses dating back to the 1950s

There are roses a-plenty!

This is my ‘best in show’

The borders thickly weave their spell, in subtle but beautiful swathes of colour.  Here and there, an unapologetic ‘show off’ plant.  If you’ve got it…

Much more than a flounce!

Flaunt it!

You might remember that the ‘Gay Delavals’ liked a little flaunting.  They were fond of masquerade balls and staged their own theatrical productions.  An invitation to one of their parties might have included anything from rope dancers to a sack race in these beautiful gardens. I browsed a little…  sniffing here, sniffing there.

Here's another Bobby Dazzler, as my Mam would say

Here’s another Bobby Dazzler, as my Mam would say

The gardens were designed by Sir John Vanbrugh and include everything from French formal design to the landscape style of Capability Brown.  The National Trust is working hard to make these gardens a success, and throughout the summer there are 15- minute Table Top talks from the gardeners and guided walks through the grounds.  You can even join a Teddy Bears Picnic, if you’ve a mind.  Full details of events are on the website.

A rose bower, anyone?

A rose bower, anyone?

The house is ever present

And the ever present house

I hope you’ve enjoyed my garden tour, and if you’re ever in the area you make an effort to see Seaton Delaval Hall for yourself.  Next Thursday I will be taking you inside the house on a follow up to Restoration.  I’ll say goodbye for now with a nod from the poppies.

Just a little more flamboyance

Just a little more flamboyance