Friday, September 28, 2007

Burghley House

Peterborough Cathedral was a magical start to Saturday - and just up the road is one of the great Tudor treasure houses - Burghley. Built by Elizabeth I's chief minister, it is an enormous and splendid house. Altho the exterior is v. much the same as when Mr. Cecil built it, the interior has gone thru many renovations and changes by later generations. One sees high baroque painted rooms (LaGuerre), some 18th C. decor, a lot of Regency which is v. charming, and some heavy-handed 19th C. decor - all of which, more or less, lives together fairly well. Burghley is remarkable for the fact that the collection is mostly complete - the family hasn't had to sell off objets to keep the house from falling down.

A v. relaxing lunch in the Orangerie garden next to the fountain was a charming end to the visit.

Burghley House

Monday, September 24, 2007

Peterborough Cathedral

On Saturday morning, Randy Manges and I drove up to Peterborough to see the fascinating Cathedral - a Norman building, added to in the Gothic style right up through English Perpendicular, later additions to the decor in the 19th C., and following a recent fire a complete restoration of the beautiful painted wooden ceiling.

The Cathedral is often overlooked on the Big Cathedral Tour and shouldn't be - it's quite beautiful, has striking juxtapositions such as Norman arches next to fan vaulting, a gothic porch added to the Norman front, an elaborate 19th altar in the severe Norman choir, and is the burial place of Katherine of Aragon (Henry VIII's first wife - divorced) and the original burial place of Mary Queen of Scots. The central tower has absolutely exquisite painted vaulting.

And, we got to hear the organ - a v. nervous and harried guest organist practicing the weekend's repertoire!

Peterborough Cathedral


After leaving Burghley, I whizzed down the road to Wimpole Hall just outside Cambridge - and of course had to have a moment of car drama - I hit a BIG rabbit and he broke part of the underside of the car. So the nice repairman came, fixed it, and I got into Wimpole Hall for the last 50 minutes of the day!

A beautiful house, 18th C., added to and refurbished during the 19th and 20th Centuries. Some amazing architects including our man Kent and John Soane did some amazing things. The last owner did a very good restoration, making it a v. livable house in the process.

Wimpole Hall