Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Basildon Park

Lets leave the continent and travel to Basildon Park in England, outside of London, courtesy of my Australian penpal yet again.
You may recognize the Palladian house as it has been featured in many recent movies and tv shows: Downton Abbey, Marie Antoinette, Dorian Gray, and Pride & Prejudice to name a few.
The couple who donated the house and collection to the National Trust in 1978 after restoring it, Lord and Lady Iliffe, retired to the wing seen above to the left. Not a bad retirement, no?
One of my favorite parts of any English Country house are the staircases: here you can see the stone delicately cantilevering out of the walls.
The house is actually a rather recent building as it was basically a shell when the Iliffes acquired it.
The couple spent decades collecting pieces of 18th century houses which were being demolished at an astonishing rate to restore the houses' neoclassical interiors.
 Much like other country houses decoration from many centuries are shown side by side.
 I love this pair of knife boxes in the shape of urns shown flanking the fireplace in the dining room above.
The decoration encompasses all manner of furnishings and art that one expects to see in a house which has been constantly occupied for centuries: all gathered in the span of 3 decades.
 This Adamesque painted ceiling is stunning.
 And I know many of you will love these formal pelmets.
 Recognize any of the interiors yet from your favorite tv shows or movies?
 I especially love the library, particularly the mid century fabric on the couch and easy chairs.
 Many great mirrors are to be found in all of the rooms.
 The plasterwork in the hall above is stunning.
While none of the artwork is particularly important it is highly decorative.  Each piece was chosen for its scale and to add to each room's ambiance.
 Although with ceilings like this do you even need artwork on the walls?
 And of course it wouldn't be an English country house without beautiful bedrooms.
I'll leave you with this image of Lady Illife's very 1950s bathtub (I hear the kitchens also were the height of 50s high style!) - don't miss those fabulous faucets!


Toby Worthington said...

It may interest your readers to know that Basildon Park was "one of the houses where the owners took advantage of sales at other houses" (John Cornforth, The Inspiration of the Past). The gothick chairs in the saloon came from Eaton Hall, the curtains from Blenheim, the red bed from Ashburnam Place. In the saloon are hung Italian pictures by Pittoni and Batoni of religious subjects rarely displayed in drawing rooms. The decoration was carried out by John Fowler and as far as your photographs indicate it has held up surprisingly well over the decades.

Karena Albert said...

Stefan, I love the many unique and majestic mirrors as well as the works of art, and that ceiling, ahh!

The Arts by Karena

John J. Tackett said...

Who could forget that stairhall as a potential new home from "Downton Abbey"?

Also, it is comforting to know that the classic decorating by John Fowler has endured.

Stephilius said...

Wonderful building - especially the exterior; just my style - which I wasn't really familiar with. Thanks for the introduction!

Wikipedia has a very detailed entry - better than usual - on the place:


deana sidney said...

Well, you know I love this post! Basildon is one of those places on my list to visit. Your post makes me feel like I stopped in already. They did scoop up lots of great bits from other places but that has always been the way, hasn't it? Even in the 19th c there were sales of famous elements from soon to be lost houses.
I think it's good they went somewhere instead of a dump.
We really need to meet up in England one day and tour... it would be a blast!!

Mark Ruffner said...

How could one not fall in love with an Adams chartreusse dining room? That's where I want to do my photoshoot!

Windlost said...

An interesting and beautiful collection of images. I have a list of country homes we want to visit in England and honestly don't know where to begin. Haha. We actually watched an interiors and cooking series about Queen Victorias travels during and before her reign and that revealed dozens of amazing estates. I can't wait to walk through some of those spaces myself.
Xo Terri