Dec 8, 2014

The last few days of our Study Trip Abroad to England took us to The Cotswolds where we visited Sezincote, Asthall Manor (shown above), Quenington Old Rectory, and Kelmscott Manor.

Sezincote was designed by Samuel Pepys Cockrell in the early 19th century to be reminiscent of architecture in India; however, the interior is classic Greek Revival. Humphrey Repton was involved in the garden design that is a renaissance-style garden with elements of Hindu style. The Indian influences at Sezincote were a result of the family having been part of the East India Company.

Our journey through The Cotswolds then took us to Asthall Manor, a gabled Jacobean manor house that was built around 1620 and then enlarged in the early 20th century. Built of local Cotswold limestone, the house features both mullioned and mullioned-transomed windows and a stone-slated roof that is typical of the area. The house was originally built for Sir William Jones and then sold in 1688 to Sir Edmund Fettiplace. It didn’t change hands again until 1810 when it was sold to John Freeman-Mitford, the first Baron Redesdale. In 1899, the Freeman-Mitfords added electric power via a water turbine fed by the River Windrush. The Mitford sisters were known for entertaining at Asthall. Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love includes the fictional Alconleigh house which is largely based on the sisters’ home, and Jessica Mitford’s Hons and Rebels describes what life was like at Asthall. We enjoyed exploring the house and the six-acre garden where we saw some of the sculpture featured in the on form exhibition.

Next we ventured to Quenington Old Rectory where David and Lucy Abel Smith live and host the Fresh Air contemporary art and sculpture show in an effort to support and promote the visual arts with a focus on sculpture. The Old Rectory’s garden is completely organic and contributes to Lucy’s creations in the kitchen. Below are some of the works we saw while visiting the garden.

Our last visit in England was to Kelmscott Manor, a limestone manor house in the Costwold village of Kelmscott, Oxfordshire. The manor was built around 1570 with an addition in the late 17th century. The house was built by Thomas Turner and remained in the Turner family until 1870. Writer, designer, and socialist William Morris lived in the home from 1871 until he died in 1896. Morris featured Kelmscott Manor in his News from Nowhere. The house is also shown in Dante Gabriel Rosetti’s painting Water Willow of Jane Morris, William’s wife. Today the house is maintained by the Society of Antiquaries and features many of Morris’s textiles and furniture.

Thank you to all who joined us in England for a fabulous trip. We hope all participants enjoyed the tour, and we’d love for you to share your favorite sites or objects with us in the comments below.

We look forward to our next international trip which takes us to Germany next spring. The demand for the trip to Germany was so high that we are taking two groups. There are still a few spaces open, so please join us if you aren’t already signed up!

About The Decorative Arts Trust Bulletin

Formerly known as the "blog,” the Bulletin features new research and scholarship, travelogues, book reviews, and museum and gallery exhibitions. The Bulletin complements The Magazine of the Decorative Arts Trust, our biannual members publication.


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