Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Boughton

After leaving Knebworth, I whizzed up the A1 to Kettering - actually figuring out the back roads way to get to a Very Big House which has intrigued me for a long time. Boughton is called the Versailles of England - The house built by Ralph, 1st Duke of Montagu, Ambassador to the court of Louis XIV, who became very fond of all things French while living there, and bringing French style back to England at a time when France was not particularly popular! He was fortunate to do this after Louis had expelled the Huguenots from France and so was able to employ the many fine craftsmen among that number.

Boughton is an exquisite and mysterious place - a Tudor house fronted by the massive and elegant French-style state rooms added by Ralph. In appearance it is severe, elegant, beautiful and hides a rambling and charming collection of Tudor buildings, wings, courtyards and nooks. Outside, symmetrical French - inside, elegant English Baroque! The Duke collected French furniture, decorative arts, French/Italian/Dutch paintings, Chinese porcelain - the collection is stupendous! I have to say that it was beyond all expectation and I'm still finding it the most intriguing of the many Big Houses I saw on this trip - and as you're yet to read, I saw some amazingly thrilling houses!

Below are some pictures of the exterior: a view from the drive, two views of the front, the stables, and a view of some thatched cottages in a little village down the road.





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