"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Upton House and Gardens

Last Sunday we finally managed a trip to Upton House and Gardens which had been postponed several times.

Upton House was the country home and weekend retreat of Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearstead, who bought the estate in 1927. Lord Bearstead employed the architect Percy Morley Horder to renovate the house extensively to accummulate his ever growing collection of paintings and porcelain and to install guest rooms, a squash court, swimming pool and billiard room for country house weekends.
Today the house reflects the life of a 1930's millionaire. Lord Bearstead's father, Marcus Samuel, had acquired his wealth through the family business of Shell Transport and Trading Company. Lord Bearstead was a great philanthropist frequently donating money to the charities he supported.

The house is built of local Hornton stone.

Today the National Trust presents the house as it would have appeared at a 1930's house party and on Sunday music was being played all afternoon on the terrace and Pimms was being served.

When you first visit the House and walk across the main lawn its a wonderful surprise to reach the Ha Ha at the end of the lawn and see this beautiful terraced garden suddenly appearing in front of you.

The gardens were redesigned, at the request of Lady Bearstead, by Kitty Lloyd Jones and the pair became great friends.

The three Upper Tiers, which run East to West in the South-facing garden are known as the "Dry Banks".

Looking down towards the formal gardens and Mirror Pool

The Lower Terrace contains the Aster Border - Upton Gardens hold the National Aster Collection - and the Scented Garden

Michaelmas Daisies

We left the main gardens for a while to walk through woodland

The Herbaceous Border - it was very difficult to get photos without people appearing as you pressed the shutter. The house and gardens were packed and served as a reminder that normally I refuse to go anywhere on bank holidays because places are so busy! :(

Mirror Pool

The Kitchen Garden

I am not sure what species the plant below is but it was just covered in bees.

I took rather a lot of photographs in Lady Bearstead's Garden which was just beautiful with a colour combination of pinks, reds, white and cream.

If anyone knows what species the plants in the photo below are I would dearly love to know. When I was at Coughton Court earlier this year I bought 3 annuals for a £1 and one of the plants was the same as these but it was unlabelled. Its flowered for weeks and weeks and would look lovely grown among Cosmos as at Upton House.

The Sunken Garden looks a bit different and the sign below explains why.

The Bog Garden

We walked back to the house along the Yew Terrace where yew berries are appearing.

I was very tempted by this hedgehog garden ornament.

Time for tea and cakes :) Chocolate, Coffee and Walnut and

Sultana Sponge and they were as delicious and light as they looked :)

We had a look round the house before leaving - sorry the photos are poor in fact many were totally blurred the shutter speed was that slow. I turned up the ISO to 1600 (the highest it goes on my camera!!) but forgot to set the noise reduction :( so some are still blurred and some have a rather weird yellow glow! National Trust properties don't allow the use of flash.

Brussels Tapestry in the Hall

Part of the Long Gallery

The house contains a lot of porcelain and art.

The Library

Many of the paintings were in a room where the light was quite good so I've included photos of just a few of the dozens that were on display.

"The Adoration of the Magi" attributed to Hieronymis Bosch

"Two Apostles" by Carlo Crivelli

Sorry managed to upload 2 of the same photo - I haven't deleted because whenever I try blogger gives dire warnings of breaking some vital html code :(

"Martin Ruze" by Franz Pourbus the Younger

"Massacre of the Innocents"

Part of the Art Deco Bathroom

A few posters from the Shell Exhibition

The Dining Room bathed in a rather strange yellow glow

Light was better in the kitchen so lots of photos :)

The house and garden are really beautiful and well worth a visit if you are ever in this part of Warwickshire.

People who have been following my blog for some time may recall I had a birthday lunch last December at "The Castle" in Edgehill which was about to undergo extensive interior renovation.

So we stopped off briefly on our way home.

The renovations are a real improvement and there is a lot more airy space to dine with a huge picture window overlooking the battle of Edgehill (23rd October 1642).

The only downside is that the prices have gone up somewhat! :(