Monday, August 20, 2007

We arrived at Heathrow on Friday, the 3rd - The Choir boarded busses to head up to Cambridge, I boarded the Hertz bus, picked up a cute little Ford Focus and drove up to Knebworth House just north of London. I wanted to see this place because Sir Edwin Lutyens (architect, fabulous designer, renovator of Lindisfarne Castle (Durham Trip), Castle Drogo (Worcester trip)) was the brother-in-law of one of the previous (or so) generation of owners and had a great deal of influence in the renovation of the house and gardens. It's a grand Tudor house that's been reduced, added to, redesigned in various periods both good and not so good, and has a very romantic aura, as well as a very tangible romantic aura in that Rudyard Kipling was the father of one of the wives. There's an excellent exhibition of his works and memorabilia, including a re-creation of his study at Knebworth: same table, books, a wax dummy of him wearing his famous dressing gown! He's a little dusty. Lutyen's renovations turned out to be more in the variety of paint choices, placements des objets, general re-organisation - and it is, of course, brilliant. The garden is especially beautiful - quite formal and in parterres, with various rooms and arcades. In the Libary there is a very charming self-portrait by Lutyens with a clever nod to his government buildings in Dehli.




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