Thursday, August 06, 2009

Sussex, part 4

Current work: en vacances
Listening to: too early for anyone else to be up yet
Reading: Ferney, James Long (utterly brilliant and I stayed in bed all morning yesterday to finish it. The history was good, the characterisation was fantastic, and I'm going to be buying copies as presents for friends because it's that good)

On the Wednesday, we went to Petworth House (once home to the Percy family).

I’ve never seen so many paintings in one place before, except maybe at the Tate. In every single room you’d find a couple of Turners, or Reynolds, or a Lely, or a Blake... amazing. (Definitely the kind of place where it would be better to go back and see half a room at a time, so you could appreciate them properly. However, we were only there for the day, so we made the most of it.) I was surprised and pleased to see a couple by John Opie there (aka husband of one of my personal heroines, novelist Amelia Opie... who is highly underrated and needs reestablishing in her proper place as one of the best early 19th-century novelists); he was a talented artist.

Was also very surprised to learn that Reynolds used bitumen in his paintings as the black colouring. This is why so many of his paintings are in such poor condition now – they're very dark, and nobody can do anything to fix them. How terribly sad. I mean, I know the PRB called him 'Sir Sloshua' (and Burne-Jones is my favourite painter of all time), but they do have their place.

I also learned that in the 17th century, it was really trendy to have lots of rooms leading off each other in a long time, and then you looked through all the doors from one end of the house to the other – this was known as an enfilade. The one at Petworth is pretty impressive.

My favourite room was the Marble Hall, which was used at one point as a study – I could imagine working there, with a view of the lake and the deer park, or curling up on one of the window seats and reading. (I would so love a window seat. That was the thing I really liked about Standen. A window seat and lots of Morris textiles. Yup. Ideal house. This is why my comfy chair (aka sofa bed) is against the window in my office.)

After Petworth, we headed for the coast and strolled along the esplanade at Bognor Regis. Very clean, with a lovely green sea. (But, oh, no sand...)

Pedometer reading: a mere 14263 steps (! and this perhaps gives you an idea why a beach holiday would drive me potty: we go exploring when we go on hols. The idea of being stuck on a beach for a week... horrid, horrid, horrid.)


Jan Jones said...

You meant "leading off each other in a long line", didn't you? Freudian slip because of the hours it took to walk from one end to the other?

Interesting snippets to tuck away in the old brain recesses, though - I do love your posts.

[word ver: orthr - go on, say it out loud to see why it's appropriate]

Olivia Ryan said...

Just been catching up on all your holiday posts - feel as though I've been away myself, now! Portsmouth especially brought back memories, as Middle Daughter was at Uni there, so we spent a lot of weekends down there exploring when visiting her. And one horrible more lengthy occasion when she was in hospital for emergency surgery -but that's one I'd like to forget.
Places are always permanent reminders of happy or sad things in our lives, aren't they? It sounds like you had a great time, and I'm glad the book is finished too - well done you!

Lacey Devlin said...

I just love the sound of Marble hall!

Kate Hardy said...

Jan - whoops, it was indeed a Freudian slip :o)

LOL on the word ver.

Kate Hardy said...

Olivia - glad it brought back some good memories, but sorry about the reminder of the one yuo'd rather forget.

We had a wonderful time and it was one of our best family holidays, I think. The nice thing is that we sit down together and decide where we'd like to visit, and that takes out all the "I'm bored" bits :o)

Kate Hardy said...

Lacey, it was lovely - cool and airy and the perfect place to curl up with a good book.