My visit to Belton House could not have been on a better day, the sun was shining and a feeling of Spring was in the air.
Built in the 1680's for Sir John Brownlow, Belton House is a Grade 1 listed building which sits in a 1300 acres deer park. It is thought to be a good representative of an English country home. It was built in the Carolean time (also known as the Restoration style ) named so, as it was built at the time Charles II was returned from exile.
It was this John and his wife Alice who would build the beautiful house you see today. Inheriting not just the estate but also a very large income, John Brownlow I, had allowed them to build their dream house.
The Mirror pool with it's perfect reflections.
Many people will know this house from watching Jane Austins 'Pride and Prejudice' which was filmed here in 1995. I heard a few references to it as I walked around the garden. One lady stopped to tell me where they walked so I took a couple of photos :)
As I walked into the first room directly from the reception room, it was the view from the windows that caught my eye. It is beautiful. You can imagine the family stood at this window in their grand clothes, admiring this garden as it changes through the seasons.
This is the Saloon Room at Belton House which was the formal reception room with it's panelled walls.
The first thing I noticed when walking into the next room was the soft floor. It has a lovely cushioned floor and it was very unexpected. When you see the painted wooden floor, you expect it to be hard under your feet. A pleasant surprise in such an old building and a great luxury.
The painted cushioned floor.
Within the Chapel viewing area is the wooden plaque which I thought was worth taking note of. It reads as so...
''The Major structural restoration of Belton House was conserved by Peregrine and Dorothy Brownlow in love and partnership. The task itself was overseen with rare patience and wisdom by Francis Hohnson, the architect, William Aneley, the builder and Bernard Shipman, the Belton agent and was carried out with infinite care and devotion by Harry Tyerman, Master Craftsman and his loyal tireless staff. He was helped throughout by the preparatory work of Arthur Tear. The Belton Clerk of Works. Thus this mansion, serene and gracious lives on for posterity. Secure in the affections and hearts of a devoted family. December 1963. And may the blessing of Almighty God, rest upon ALL who have laboured or lived herein.''
I think this is a lovely touch to remember all those who worked so hard in the 1960's to restore this beautiful building. There for future generations to read and be grateful for.
On the walls of this room are two tapestries by John Vanderbank. One is of leisure.
Here are the two cabinets that sit inside the drawing room at Charlecote. The designs on the sides are vice-versa from each other. I have also seen this before on a cabinet at Felbrigg Hall. I really like it. The detail is beautiful.
The Great Staircase in Belton House was very grand and went all around the walls. The craftsmanship and work that goes into making these beautiful steps is often not appreciated but I love this area in a house like this. They are often what makes a house special and gives you that 'WOW' feeling as you walk around. The staircase was nice at Belton but it was the dressing of the whole room which made you stand back and admire it.
The golden chandelier.
I loved how it looked from beneath.
The staircase twisting as it follows the line of the walls which are beautifully dressed with some very lovely paintings. Again, many females.
You can click on the images to enlarge them and see more detail.
While in this room I also heard chatter of 'Sense and Sensibility' as this room was used during filming as Darcy's bedroom. I had to admit that I had not seen this adaptation of the book.
The craftsmanship in the canopy over this bed is something to be admired. Things are just not made like they used to be. So many lost trades.
The cabinet dating around 1715
I love the way there are so many reflections to see at Belton, not just in the house but also in the Gardens.
The Yellow Bedroom.
The Windsor room named after Edward VIII but is a room often used by Prince Charles whilst he was a cadet based at Cranwell.
Walking into the Boudoir at Belton House,the first thing you see is the beautiful ceiling. I had not seen one like this before. It was very impressive. The ideal place to photograph it would have been the middle of the floor but that was not possible. The plasterwork was designed by James Wyatt in the 1770's
It gives the appearance as though there were curtains in the ceiling.
The Boudoir room itself.
Again lovely detail.
The Queen's bedroom which was named after Queen Adelaide who was the widow of William IV. This room was redecorated in 1841 for her visit.
I didn't say this would be a short blog did I? At least it is mostly pictures. :) There was so much to see at Belton and I want to share it so apologies for the length of this blog.......Although I realised when I got home, that I had missed some of the main rooms. I'm not quite sure how that happened and was a little upset that I missed them but I did see plenty while I was there. I didn't get to go downstairs either but no photos are permitted below stairs anyway. Next time I will see these missed rooms so look out for Belton House 2!
Next we have what is the entrance room to the library. A small but very grand golden room. The fireplace is thought to be the original one to this room but the rest of the room was created in the 1870's
The Library. I love books and really wish I had seen the study as there were lots of beautiful books in there too.
The detailed ceiling in the library.
The picture below which hangs in this room is of John Cust who was the 1st Earl Brownlow and was born in 1779. He stands next to his brother Henry who was born a year later. They almost look like twins.
After seeing what I thought was all the house I headed over to the Restaurant to see what they had on offer. I had the 'One pot venison' and I have to say it was lovely. I would highly recommend it if you are visiting Belton House.
After lunch I had a walk through the lovely gardens. It really was an ideal day. Not only did we have blue skies but it felt lovely and warm as there was no breeze.
The Dutch Garden.
From the main garden I walked down to the Mirror Lake which was very pretty with daffodils growing here and there. There were some great reflections in this water.
The walk through the wood was lovely with it's carpet of yellow and blue.
The woodland path twisted until it reached the second lake where there were lots of wildlife and more great reflections.
The walk up to the Bellmount Tower which was finished in 1751 as a viewing tower. Being on 'higher ground' the view of the estate must be lovely from there.
I was determined to see the deer before leaving and as if I had ordered them, out came the deer to see me.
A big thanks to the house volunteers who were very friendly and happy to answer any questions.
For more on Belton House, here is the link. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/belton-house/
Copyright Jana Eastwood