Monday, 18 February 2013

Snowdrop Sunday at Newark Park

Newark Park, a Grade 1 listed country house with Tudor origins, sits at the southern end of the Cotswold escarpment enjoying views down the Severn Valley.
A Tudor hunting lodge built between 1544 and 1556 for Sir Nicholas Poyntz, a Groom of the Privy Chamber to Henry VIII. 
Remodelled in 1790 into a house by James Wyatt, a rival architect of Robert Adam. Amongst many of his commissions Wyatt was also responsible for carrying out alterations to Windsor Castle.
The Estate was given to the National Trust in 1949. The Trust let it out to tenants who ran it as a nursing home. By 1970 the house was in a state of disrepair and the gardens overgrown. An American, from Texas, architect Robert Parsons took on the tenancy of the house and began a painstaking programme of renovation, and conservation to both the house and the grounds. He died in 2000 but the house still retains his eclectic collection of furniture and artefacts.
Robert seems to have had a passion for pottery swans, they are all over the house.
This swan from his collection is similar to one we have. Ours came from H's grandmother's parents farm so must date to around 1850. I know nothing at all about these pottery swans, I don't like ours, so have hidden it away.
17th century Old leather jug, tankard, and water container
Robert's bedroom - the bed resembles the work of William Burgess.
Another corner of his bedroom where he has had fun painting the wood panelling.
Guest room
A painting of Robert

68 comments:

  1. Beautiful and Amazing! Very interesting.

    Marina

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    1. Hello Marina - yesterday was the perfect day to see the snowdrops in flower - they were at their best.

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  2. Hello Rosemary:
    What a delightful tour of Newark Park you give us here. We cannot remember visiting this house ever but it is, as you say, full of interest and situated in such beautiful countryside.

    We used to have a china swan but, alas,it is now no longer. We loved it, a piece of Victoriana into which ferns would be placed as we felt them to be in keeping.

    The carpets of snowdrops are pure delight!

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    1. Dear Jane and Lance - I feel quite guilty that my old swan is unappreciated. May be I will follow in your footsteps, retrieve it from languishing in a cupboard, and furnish it with a fern, I must admit that sounds quite an attractive proposition - thank you for the idea.
      The snowdrops seem to get bigger and better each year!!!

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  3. I sighed in admiration and contentment, rosemary. Newark Park at this season is simply soothing especially for the soft and muted colors of the beautiful landscape. The second photo is my favorite among all the fabulous ones: the mansion and garden beyond the beautiful ironwork is fascinating. The sixth image made me feel like sitting in that room in person.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - you have chosen the same room that I would too. The afternoon sunshine pouring in, and the landscape beyond the windows was perfect.
      It was difficult to get the iron gateway and house, the sun was in the wrong place!!! isn't that always the case. Thank you Yoko.

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  4. So interesting visit,history is alive in front of us! But,what I like most is the fabulous english countryside.Thank you !
    Olympia

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    1. Thank you Olympia - the countryside was showing a definite improvement with some February sunshine.

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  5. I've never been to Newark Park but it looks divine. I love all your photos and the potted history, thank you.
    Patricia x

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    1. Dear Patricia - Newark Park does not officially open until Easter, but this was a special 2 weekend opening for the snowdrops. The snowdrops seemed more splendid than I can ever remember, but perhaps it is to do with my age!!!

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  6. Another delightful post Rosemary, I enjoyed the virtual outing to Newark Park. Your title is perfect, as the snowdrops are wonderful - I can only dream of a meadow covered in that way! Love the exterior of the house, gate and garden, and I am particularly taken by Robert's bed, and its patchwork quilt. Quite lovely. Thank you for sharing it all.

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    1. Robert's bed is charming - a lovely combination of colours. The snowdrops mixed together with the aconites made a lovely display. Glad you enjoyed the post Patricia.

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  7. Your photos are beautiful Rosemary. We've ben to Newark Park many times as it's close to us, sometimes we go just to follow the footpaths and amire the views which are gorgeous.

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    1. It is in my backyard too Paula but I am north of it and I believe you are south!!!

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  8. More lovely images, and another place to add to the list of "must sees". I know what you mean about the swans though. Sometimes it takes seeing something like that appreciated by someone else to re evaluate .....are they gorgeous or....a bit naff ? I love the quilt...just amazing. Jx

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    1. Yes, some things in the house are lovely, but the swans!!! I am going to purchase a nice fern and see what it looks like. I know that it is old, perhaps I should take it to the Antique Roadshow, and they will tell me it is worth a fortune, and then I can say "I like it now", but that wouldn't be true.

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  9. Hello Rosemary,
    Thank you for this fascinating tour of Newark Park. The snowdrops bring such joy and promise. The bedspread on Robert's bed is beautiful.

    Have a great week

    Helenxx

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    1. Hello Helen - I like the way the patchwork bedspread compliments the painted wooden gothic style bed. Just now the snowdrops have reached their peak, they are all over the place, and then suddenly they vanish.

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  10. Dear Rosemary, I'm in love with your first roundel. The colors, the choice of flowers, the arrangement, the background color and special effects are all outstanding. You are a true artist with your camera.
    Also have to mention your snowdrops and winter aconites. What a happy Spring scene. ox, Gina

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    1. Dear Gina - the first roundel is made from a little watercolour we have on our hall wall. It just seemed right for this moment in time.
      The snowdrops and aconites were massed in profusion - they appear to be bigger and better each year, but I think that is all down to me getting older!!!

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  11. What a wonderful place to visit! Great photos! The scenery is great and there are so many interesting things to look at in the lodge. I love the quilt on the bed!

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    1. Thank you Marie - the quilt seems to have been a great hit with most people, which I feel is greatly complimented by the bed itself. I always appreciate your saying "great photos" knowing what a talented photographer you are - thank you.

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  12. Oh, what a wonderful place! And you take wonderful photos too. I must say I like the outside better than the inside, this Roberts taste is somewhat different from mine, I have to admit..

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    1. Robert's taste was definitely unique and his own. As I mentioned it was eclectic. Thank you for the photo comment which I appreciate.

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  13. Beautiful snowdrops! I'm looking forward to mine coming up.

    The exterior of the house is fabulous. I love that first photo. Reminds me of the sun dial garden at Highgrove. Very similar: the house, sundial, parterres, garden walls, and even an iron gate.

    Thanks for your good wishes, Rosemary. I'm doing much better. Even went out shopping yesterday :)

    Warm greetings,
    Loi

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    1. Dear Loi - as the crow flies this house is not very far from Highgrove. I do agree there are some similarities but both houses are in completely different landscape situations.
      By the way did you see my second post on China. I was contacted by a website in China and the post is now on their site with my "retro" photos as they called them.
      Glad you are getting better.

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    2. Yes, I just read that post.....catching up here. I loved that shot of the monk. You and H were treated really well, Rosemary. Wonderful photos.

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    3. They were extremely generous to us Loi. I have done two more posts and then that will be the finish.
      Next one Qingdao to Shanghai - hope you will check in for the journey. Pity digital cameras were not around then.

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  14. Dear Rosemary - Robert Parsons seems to have been both an Anglophile and an eccentric. And I say, thank goodness for eccentrics and the different perspective with which they gift us! But I wonder whether the National Trust will undo any of his "improvements."

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    1. Dear Mark - I do not think that the intention is to alter his work or change his artefacts. The building and the grounds were in a terrible state when he took it on. He has been dead nearly 13 years, and the Trust have remained true to the way he left it. It was a gloomy empty shell and he breathed new life into it. He also rediscovered the garden which was overgrown and like a jungle. He had long expressed a desire to take on an English country house in need of repair, the work he did was acknowledge when the house received its Grade 1 listing.

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  15. So interesting building inside and outside .I liked the sun room with this beautiful view !If you have a pottery swan ,use it for flowers ,in spring a pot of small lilies ,maybe yellow and at the autumn a pot of red chrysanthemums. I think it will be perfect . Your photos are amazing !Have a nice week !
    Olympia

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    1. Dear Olympia - perhaps I will get to like it at some stage - I will start by trying a fern in it like Jane and Lance suggested. It is nearly 200 years old and I do feel bad about not liking it especially as it came from H's family in the far distant past.
      Thank you for saying you liked the photos which I do appreciate.

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    2. Dear Rosemary , if it so old ,200 years old , may be you will not do anything with flowers !! You must care this so much .I suppose with flowers will be dangerous because of water or soil ... I don't know ....
      Do as you want better !

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    3. Thanks Olympia, if I put a fern in it then I will keep it in its pot and put some protective polythene around it, no damage will be caused then.

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  16. Snowdrops are just appearing here too Rosemary - the me they are the heralds that say Spring is advancing at a slow but steady pace.
    I have not been to Newark Park and I enjoyed seeing the photographs. You have a very good eye I think.
    As for the swan - don't feel guilty. One can't like everything. We have a few hideous old things too that were from long dead family members. They remain quite safe in the cupboard waiting for someone (perhaps one of my nephews or niece) who will appreciate them and like them! Then they will be ready for them to take with my blessing, having faithfully looked after then until the time was right (and the right person came along)
    The gothick looking red bed at Newark Park looks interesting. That isn't an original Holbein sketch on the wall is it? In the photograph with the wood panelling. I can't imagine it is but you never now I suppose.
    Bye for now
    Kirk
    By the way, we have been having such lovely 'warmer' weather these last few days but AGA has just told me we are expecting more snow tomorrow - so to quote Victor Meldew: I don't believe it!!

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    1. Hello Kirk - I dont thing that it is a Holbein sketch, but it certainly does have a resemblance to his work. There is a Holbein painting in the National Portrait Gallery of Sir Nicholas Poyntz who had the hunting lodge built. It is an interesting portrait I think, and there is a similar pen and ink with coloured chalk in the Royal Collection at Windsor.
      You don't want snow again, I definitely don't want anymore.
      We have been having some wonderful sunny days, it makes up a bit for the wet summer.

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  17. Thanks for taking us with you again Rosemary. Love that carpet of snowdrops and winter aconite in the garden and the guest room with the tulips and crocuses painting, such bright and joyful room!
    Bye,
    Marian

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    1. The tulips and crocus painting is very appropriate for this time of year. The snowdrops and aconite were as joy to see, just at their peak. It is is strange with snowdrops, I find that one moment they are everywhere and then suddenly they vanish with just the leaves left.

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  18. Another interesting, wonderful post. Thank you Rosemary.

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    1. Thank you Susan so happy that you enjoyed it - yesterday was a beautiful day.

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  19. What a house, they don't build these anymore.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. Yes, you are right, I wonder if our houses and homes will still be standing in another 500 years time?

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  20. What an amazing house this is Rosemary. How could I have missed it this summer?! Your photo's look beautiful!

    Have a lovely evening!

    Madelief x

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    1. Dear Madelief - you will have to come back again. There are such a lot of houses, churches and castles in the area, that you could easily fill another holiday. Thank you for your kind comment about the photos.

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  21. A beautiful house Rosemary. Your photo's make me more longing for springtime.
    Have a wonderful evening.

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    1. Dear marijke - I think spring is peaking around the door and soon it will arrive in a swoosh.

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  22. Wonderful assortment of pictures Rosemary. I love the painting in your first photo as well as the real life snow drops. Your second shot of the house through the gate is gorgeous (I have a thing for wrought iron gates!) And finally, what a view from the doors in your 6th picture!

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    1. Dear Rosemary - the little watercolour painting is ours - the wrought iron gate was magnificent but I could not get it in its entirety because the sun was in the wrong position. If you lived there the view would keep tempting you to the windows.

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  23. Hi Rosemary, I like the house inside and out. The quilt on the bed is beautiful. The snowdrop images are lovely. we have some blooming too. Olive

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    1. Dear Olive - the quilt seems to have been a favourite with most people. This last weekend is the height of the snowdrop season here they have now reached their peak.

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  24. Dear Rosemary,very interesting post!The house is so beautiful in and out!And all those beautiful flowers!I realy love your pictures!Thank you for sharing!Hope you have a lovely week!
    Dimi..

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    1. That is very kind of you to say so Dimi - thank you. Hope the sun is shinning with you this week.

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  25. Gorgeous house! And what a sensational view! Love the field of snowdrops, too. I also enjoyed the fact that he collected pottery swan, and started looking for them in every photo. Thanks, too, for the historical information. This house has lived many lives.

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    1. If only walls could talk! I should have taken more photos of the swans then I could have done a quiz "find the swans" but I am too late now.

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  26. This is a beautiful post, Rosemary! I love the snowdrops and I specially love the images showing the lovely furniture and artefacts. I love antiques and all things beautiful!

    We have been busy buying antique furniture, mirrors, and even antique plates, glasses, etc. to send to our new town house, in Italy! My husband has gone to NY and will ship some stuff to Italy, from the house, including some paintings. It's so exciting! I even manasged to find an antique wash stand, with wonderful cream and brown tiles and... I was so lucky! In another shop I found an almost matching jug and bowl, and shaving jug (I won't be using this one, unless I grow a beard) to go with it, and... a beautiful Art Nouveau coat and hat stand! SO BEAUTIFUL!

    My snowdrops are still in bud, outside, and so are the daffodils. It's sunny today, so I feel happy!

    Ciao, Rosemay!

    HUGS

    ANNA
    xxx

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    1. Dear Anna - thank you - I am pleased that you liked the post. The snowdrops were magnificent last Sunday, I think that they are bigger and better this year, but it is probably my memory and imagination playing tricks.
      Sounds as if you have been enjoying yourself choosing lots of things for your house, it will be lovely to see them all in situ once they have all arrive.
      Today was a perfect day, we did not even need to wear coats.
      Ciao ♥

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  27. Newark Park looks like an interesting place to visit. It was good that the house was open for a special occasion out of season and you were able to take the beautiful photos of the snowdrops. As someone who enjoys visiting such houses and gardens I find it disappointing that most of those in our area are closed and do not open for the Spring season until the end of March. However, something to look forward to in a month or two.

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    1. Due to the exceptional wet weather during the Autumn and the melted snow, the driveway to the house was terrible - lots of mud. I think that this year with the water table being so high and the parking fields not drying out the NT will be in a lot of trouble this year unless we have an early heatwave.

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  28. Hello Rosemary, I like what Robert Parsons did to the house. While respecting its history, he still was able to make it into an original and attractive place.

    Those swans don't do much for me either, so don't feel bad about putting it away. I remember my grandmother had a large crystal one one her side table. Finally, while I think that those leather vessels are cool, and I wouldn't mind owning some, the thought of drinking out of a leather tankard makes me faintly ill.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. Hello Jim - I wouldn't fancy drinking out of one either, but we are talking from our 21st century attitudes. We would probably have not given it a second thought in 1650 but considered ourselves lucky to even have a drinking vessel.
      Robert turned the house from something dreary and neglected into something that is bright and cheery with his mark firmly stamped on it.

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  29. The drift of snowdrops are wonderful and I'm so glad they kept the house furnished with Robert's furniture x

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    1. Thank you - I am pleased that you liked the snowdrops which were looking lovely complimented by the aconites. Yes, I think that it was only right and proper that Robert's legacy should remain as he left it. He was after all responsible for securing the future of the house.

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  30. I'm a bit late commenting but I like to make an occasion of visiting your blog, with a cup of tea and plenty of time. I was intrigued by Newark and did some further research. The story of Robert Parsons and Newark is certainly one of love. The lived in look of the house adds a depth of experience, poignant and charming at the same time. The portrait shows Robert with his great dane, herself quite a character. Your lovely photographs have captured the spirit of the place. I hope I get a chance to visit it some day. Sue

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    1. Dear Sue - I am thrilled by your comment, and happy to think that someone would want to find out more. My post could only be a small appetiser to all that Newark Park has to offer. It would be even better if we could sit and chat with a cup of tea together - thank you.

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  31. Oh, I did enjoy this, Rosemary. Such a lovely place and you gave us a wonderful tour. Those snowdrops are spectacular.

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    1. It is good that the NT have started to be a bit more flexible with some of the opening times of properties with spring flowers to see. I think that most of them open nearer to Easter. The snowdrops were bigger, better and more beautiful than I ever remember them - but I think that may be an age thing. Each spring now is so precious. Glad you enjoyed the little tour of Newark Park.

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  32. So glad you stopped by and I got a chance to “meet" your blog. I used to go to the UK 4 times a year for a month at a time (seeing clients) when I worked in export. I see your pictures and I miss it so much…I knew the country better than France (all my traveling was there), but now I have returned to a sheep farm in the Basque Country and I am getting to know IT very well :)

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, hope that we meet often.
      I love the few photos I have seen of your farm and area, we in Britain have a soft spot for France.

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