Friday, 27 September 2013

Corsham Court in Wiltshire

 Corsham Court, viewed through the main entrance gate.

Corsham Court, a Royal Manor in the days of the Saxon Kings, and home of the Methuen family, is based on an Elizabethan house dating from 1582.  It was bought in the  mid 18th century to display Sir Paul Methuen's celebrated collection of 16th and 17th century Old Master paintings.  A second collection was added through inheritance in the mid 19th century.  There are works by Van Dyke, Carlo Dolci, Filippo Lippi, Salvator Rosa, Reynolds and Romney, as well as a superb portrait of Queen Elizabeth 1st, painted just after her death, and presumed to be a most realistic portrait of her in later years.

The picture gallery, with its intricate plasterwork,  was designed by Lancelot "Capability" Brown and is 72ft in length.  This room and the other 18th century State Rooms, still retain their original damask wall hangings,  as well as furniture designed by Chippendale, Thomas Johnson, John Cobb and the Adam Brothers.

The parkland and lake with one of many peacocks that adorn the park.

Stunning gardens and parkland surround the Court.  The 13 acre lake planned by "Capability" Brown was eventually completed by Humphry Repton.

 Ornamental urn in the shady garden.

The first Lady Methuen was responsible for the basic layout of the flower gardens, which include herbaceous borders and the lily pond garden.  The gardens are particularly admired for their collections of magnolias and spring bulbs. 

The Georgian Bath-House.

Lancelot "Capability" Brown built the Bath-House and planted the avenues with numerous specimen trees, some of which still survive, including an enormous Oriental plane, which now has a circumference of over 240 yards,

The Court viewed from the gardens.

The House has been used as a film location for "The Remains of the Day," starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, and most recently for the BBC's adaptation of  "Tess of the D'Urbervilles."   Bath Spa University has teaching and studio facilities at Corsham Court. 

 Inside the medieval Church of St Batholomew in Corsham.

 The unusual rood screen, carved from stone instead of wood.

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