Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kenwood House

Located in London is Kenwood House, a stately house that has acted as an art museum since 1928 which was re-envisioned by Robert Adam in the 1770s for the Earl of Mansfield.
Recently the house has been in the news after both a massive restoration as well as having one of its' former occupants immortalized in film:  Dido Belle (Belle, 2013). Unfortunately I have yet to see the movie, portions of it filmed at Kenwood House (also portions of the film Notting Hill) .
The shallow Ionic entrance portico was added by Adam during his renovation of the house as well as the side wings.
 Adams' hand is evident throughout many of the public spaces.
None of the furniture was included with the house when Lord Iveagh donated the house and art to the nation in 1927. Since then all of the furniture seen has been donated and collected, some originally from Kenwood.
 Notice the fabric covered pelmet with these curtains.
 The most famous room of the house is no doubt Adam's library.
 I've read that the spines of many of these books are fake but they sure look real to me, don't you think?
 The ceilings are a neoclassical masterpiece.
 Gilded pelmets grace the windows of the library, notice how the motif echoes the ceiling decoration.
 Another graceful cantilevered stair graces the house.
 I wonder why no art is hung on the stair walls; it looks so naked.
 But there is no shortage of amazing art throughout the rest of the house.
The quality of the art is so good that you probably recognize much of it, including the Van Dyck above the fireplace below of Princess Henrietta of Lorraine.
Of course Lord Iveagh had help amassing his collection, he hailed from the Guinness family.
 I love the subtle reminder of the large thistles to not sit on the armchairs; much more elegant than rope.
The breakfast room seen above includes other notable paintings such as Lady Hamilton at the spinning wheel by George Romney.
The collection of Robert Adams upholstered furniture was designed for the house but was of course later donated and with impressive provenance.
During the Kennedy era renovation of the White House the sofa was expressly donated back to Kenwood House by Jackie Kennedy.
 Not sure I love the upholstery of the matching armchair above.
Lastly this collection of lovely desks caught both my eye as well as my penpals who provided me with these pictures.
In this age of email, the laptop, and tablet will desks go away? They really are one of my favorite pieces of furniture so that would be a shame -although admittedly I sold my own desk years ago.
 Kenwood House is conveniently located in London so be sure to include a visit to the house and its' art collection on your next visit!


Blue said...

Wonderful and so beautifully colorful! I have never seen this house but it is now on my list. By the way, the thistles are in fact teasels which long ago when dried and cut in half were nailed to a board and used for carding wool. They are still grown and I think they are a magnificent plant for a garden.

Mark Ruffner said...

It's hard to beat Robert Adam for a great ceiling. I've always wondered if there was a relationship between Adam and Wedgwood. They were certainly kindred spirits.

Row homes and Cobblestones said...


Not trying to gush ... But you always post the most informative tours! Such a proud regal home. I just watched the trailer for "Belle" before leaving my comment. I wonder how much and what was filmed in Kenwood.

Fake spines in the stately library - imagine that! The chair next to the Jackie Kennedy donated sofa, is it, could it be tufting of Pom-Poms? What is the fabric it looks polished? My, what an unusual fabric upholstery choice. Oh and I agree with you, the walls do look "naked" void of art.

Karena Albert said...

I am gushing at this glorious home! The blues the ceilings the entry, Adams Library! Smashing!

The Arts by Karena

Ann said...

The colors are so lovely, I particularly like all the blue-greens. We can get American cartoons on hulu and the fake spines remind me of a cartoon where the "library" had no books at all!

Anonymous said...

What a splendid place. I am getting a lot of value from seeing here the combination of the lighter colors with rich colors, so the room has lightness without feeling as though it could completely float away.