|Edition One Hundred and Eleven|
Diamond Jubilee 2012
An attractive Chamberlain Worcester shanked oval sucrier and cover, dating from c1795. The body is decorated with 'cornflower' type of floral sprigs.
The body of the sucrier has a beautiful oval and waisted shape. The body is moulded with spiral lines that are known as a shanked moulded body. Each of the spiral lines has a double line to it, referred to as 'tram line' and is a feature of the Chamberlain's Worcester manufacture.
More details of this item and other tea related antiques can be found by visiting my web site at www.TeaAntiques.com.
In recent years, the National Trust has been trying to shrug off its image of being rather a stuffy and staid institution; there just to preserve houses and land for the nation - almost in a cocoon. As such, many of their properties lacked a soul and that feeling of being a home that was lived in. To dispel that image, a transformation has been going on to try to make their house more of a home, with lots more interest, not only for adults, but for children. There are now often themed openings, including Christmas. At Hinton Ampner this June, the house was decorated as if there was a Coronation weekend party from the date of the Queen's actual Coronation in 1953 and the house guests had just left the room as you walk in.
I visited Hinton Ampner driving my classic 1961 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II. As I was about to park in the car park, the Head Gardener, John, came over to admire the car and suggested that if I like I could drive the car up to the front of the house and park it by the front door - it being a fitting car for their Jubilee weekend (despite it being built some 8 years after the Queen's Coronation). The car is the same colour as the Queen's own cars, a rich burgundy with ivory upholstery. It certainly looked the part parked outside the house and created a point of interest for many of the visitors that afternoon.
Inside the house, there was lots to see that had been especially assembled for what was meant to be the Coronation weekend party. Entering the Hall, with its marble floor and columns, the first Coronation decorations were to be seen. Hanging in front of me were two large Royal Standard flags either side of a doorway. Also, in the red marble fireplace a beautiful floral display themed in red white and blue flowers and ribbons.
To the left of the Hall is one of the most most elegant drawing Rooms to be encountered, decorated in soft yellow and pale blue tones. This room is divided in two parts by a white decorative columned division. In the first smaller end of the room is the evidence that a party was taking place. A handsome wine cooler was placed between two gilded silk covered chairs, in which were bottles of Champagne on ice. red, white and blue steamers were draped over and around ornaments. A lady's period wrap and handbag were on the seat of one chair as if the lady had just left.
In the main part of the Drawing Room, there were more period items draped around the furniture, including handbags, fur stoles and gloves. Champagne glasses were dotted around on a table together with plates of Coronation iced fancy cakes. On the large stool table between the comfortable settees were paper and magazine reports about the Queen and her accession to the throne.
Moving through into the Library, again there were floral displays in patriotic colours. By the settee was a table, whose circular top was made up of all sorts of coloured marbles in a geometric pattern. Upon the table a period style radio which was playing various historic broadcasts of the time, including the death of her father King George VI and the succession of Elizabeth II to the throne. A copy of the Radio Times from that period is placed by the radio and more Champagne as if someone had been there listening to the news and celebrating the new Queen ascending the throne.
Celebrations were shown to be continuing in the beautifully appointed Dining Room. The dining table had been set out for the Coronation dinner party and how beautiful it looked. A white table cloth bedecked the large rectangular dining table upon which was a most regal dinner setting. Along the centre of the table was another lovely floral display, this time enhanced by small Union and Royal Standard flags. The table had been set as if the guests had been enjoying their desert of fruit tarts strawberries and cream when they left.
To the left of each place setting was a glass dish of red, white and blue sweets of liquorish allsorts and mint imperials. Sparkly blue, red and silver decorations were scattered over the table surface, adding a touch of fun to the table setting.
The upstair's bedrooms had also been included in the Jubilee weekend decorations as each had been prepared as if the guests had just arrived and were unpacking. Lots of period suit cases, clothes, accessories and magazines had been used to adorn every room. In one of the bathrooms some ladies undergarments were on the floor as if the lady had taken to her bath to freshen up before the evening.
In all, the house had been wonderfully themed and was a credit to the National Trust, its staff and volunteers.
The gardens of Hinton Ampner, although not too large, are very well maintained. They are mainly formal with a good use of topiary-clipped Yew and Box.
At this time of year, as if on request, there are red, white and blue flowers to be enjoyed on this very special Jubilee weekend.
On the south side of the house, the formal gardens, which are terraced down away from the house, give way to an open sweeping landscape - with pastures, fields, trees and hills. Ralph Dutton created a garden of vistas and focal points - be it obelisks, statues or temples. Each turn in the garden reveals a new view and focal point, drawing you and your eye through the garden and beyond.
I will be returning to Hinton Ampner this year for their Christmas themed celebrations. In the meantime I hope that you have enjoyed the little tour through Hinton Ampner's rooms as part of the magical Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
There was even a special afternoon sponge cake in the tea room, a red, white and blue Diamond Jubilee sponge cake. Rather sadly the cake colourings had turned the blue to more of a green, but it did not stop me enjoying a slice of it!
Hinton Ampner house and gardens can provide a good afternoon of entertainment and interest to many people. I hope that you enjoyed this brief tour.
near New Alresford
Telephone: 01962 771305
Local map: www.streetmap.co.uk
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