After my post about putting Basildon Park back together again after the filming, I thought you might like to see the Dining Room looking it's normal self again.
This is the Dining Room "as it normally is", and not when it has been cleared for filming. Still no idea what the filming was I am afraid, but as soon as I find out and am allowed to tell, I will - it was probably some boring advert!!
The china that you can see on the table was once owned by Sir Frances Sykes, the first owner of the house in the 18th Century. The china was found for sale in auction in Scandinavia by Lady Illiffe (the last owner of the house) and bought back to the house only a few decades ago. It is the only thing in the house that was owned by Sir Frances Sykes (well, apart from the actual house of course!!).
We know that it belonged to Sir Frances because it has his crest on the china. It is famille rose Chinese porcelain, and obtaining it would have been quite an exercise in patience. You ordered it, then you had to wait for the order to get out to China, for what you wanted to be made (and that could take a long time if you ordered a large service). Then you had to wait for it to be shipped back round the world to England. No popping out and getting another one if you had an accident! You might think that the knives have been laid round the wrong way. This is actually deliberate as Lady Illiffe liked them this way round so that the makers name was not shown.
This is a small selection of Lady Illiffe's china. Until the start of this year we told visitors that the china was Worcester Grainger. However, some of our volunteers did some research on the china and found that it caused some controversy when they started to try and track down the exact maker. We now believe that it is by Ridgeway. Whoever made the china, it is very beautiful and it looks lovely when the dining table is set with this service.
Here you can see the special drugget that I mentioned in my previous post, this is the special carpet that goes down to protect any surface underneath - in this case the antique dining room carpet.
Here is the carpet on the other side of the room where we don't walk. You can see how well the drugget matches the carpet. Most of our visitors never even notice that they are not walking on the carpet. Even when you point it out some of them don't believe you until they bend down and feel it!
You might have noticed the columns at the end of the room. They are actually wooden, and painted to look like marble, as in times gone by it was actually more fashionable to have the painted effect rather than the real thing. This showed that you could afford to pay the artist to come and do the painting for you. Here is a close up of one of the capitals at the top of the columns - they are Corinthian columns (gosh I know too much about this place, no wonder my brain is too full to remember my shopping list!).
A little view of the ceiling - yes, I admit, I am obsessed by ceilings, but you would be too if you had these to look at all day.
And finally... some views of the gardens from the Dining Room windows. It was such a lovely day when I was taking these pictures I just couldn't resist! I never can resist a flower or two...
Hope you had a good visit!
Basildon Park know that I exist because I volunteer with them, but that is all. I am just sharing this with you because Basildon Park is part of what I do and love.