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historic houses and collections annual
FROM THE EDITOR Two letters of the alphabet, L and O, were successfully sent in October 1969 f rom the University of California, Los Angeles, to the Stanford Research Institute, a distance of some 300 miles. The means of transmission was the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, the precursor to the internet. The system crashed before the letter G was safely received on the Stanford monitor. Logging on is now a diurnal ritual for millions around the world. Some never log off. The sending of the first twitter message f rom space-orbit in 2010 was undoubtedly a triumph of the virtual and the remote, but it is also reassuring, therapeutic even, in a world hectic with technology to be connected with the real and the haptic.
The following articles describe very tangible worlds, if distant in time, and address age-old questions of design, patronage, materials, craftsmanship, meaning and experience. In the ‘library’ at Lacock Abbey the patient, centuries-old ‘souls…wrapped up in calfskin’ begin to answer Mark Purcell’s questions. From Jamie Mulherron and Professor Michael Trapp respectively we learn about the early 17th-century design and weaving in tapestrythread of the elements and the humours, and the real function and age of a hitherto perplexing ‘bath’ in the centre of London. Richard Hewlings debunks previous theories about the author of Chirk Castle’s late 17thcentury gallery, superbly panelled and carved. At Coleshill and Osterley, Karen Fielder and Christopher Rowell explain how celebrated 18th-century architects rubbed shoulders with builders and craftsmen. Tessa Wild reveals the joyous polychrome decorative scheme conjured up at Red House in the mid-19th century by William Morris and his f riends. Here technology dazzlingly combines with traditional paint archaeology, and in a computergenerated model of Red House, its internal walls rendered by students at the University of Bath, a happy compact between the material and digital is forged.
4 ... JACOB JORDAENS’s ELEMENTS AND HUMOURS TAPESTRIES jamie mulherron investigates a remarkable series of allegorical tapestries at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire
12 ... WILLIAM MORRIS’S ‘PALACE OF ART’ tessa wild reports on William Morris’s early interior scheme at Red House in Bexleyheath, London
20 ... WHO MADE THE STATE BED AT OSTERLEY? christopher rowell reappraises the contribution of cabinet-maker John Linnell to Adam’s ‘palace of palaces’
28 ... an obelisk in exile at kingston lacy david adshead describes the remarkable story of the obelisk brought to a Dorset estate from the island of Philae
36 ... LIBRARIES at LACOCK ABBEY mark purcell presents new research into the libraries of Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire
44 ... NEW LIGHT ON THE STRAND LANE ‘BATH’ michael trapp reports on new resarch that reveals the origins behind London’s little-known ‘Roman bath’
48 ... THE CONTRIVER OF CHIRK richard hewlings investigates the identity of the architect of the Long Gallery at Chirk Castle, near Wrexham
Catching up with other institutions, a more significant technological leap for the National Trust was made last December with the launch of a dedicated website offering remote access to the Trust’s collections – some 750,000 items ranging f rom works of art to utilitarian objects (www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk). Just as that breathholding journey of L and O served as a beginning, so the advent of the collections website, whose entries will be improved through continuing research, marks a commitment to provide information remotely, harnessing the virtual for the better enjoyment of the real. David Adshead, Head Curator, the National Trust. cover image
56 ... LORD BURLINGTON AND THE LEANING STACKS OF COLESHILL HOUSE Karen Fielder analyses the involvement of Lord Burlington in repairs made to Coleshill House, Berkshire, in the 18th century
60 ... NEW AcQUISITIONS 2011–2012 A review of the year’s gifts and purchases
Vere Egerton, Mrs William Booth (m. 1619), c. 1619 English School Oil on canvas, 216.5cm x 129.5cm National Trust for apollo editors Isabel Andrews and Rosie Spencer picture researcher Monique Kent designer Will Martin