Wednesday, 21 December 2016


No snow today at Fenton House but I loved my immersive visit to this silk merchant's house: upstairs and downstairs with my wee-willie-winkie candlestick (electric candle, not a real one!) - peeping through the keyhole at the daughter's opium habit - oh, no, she's seen me! - sucking on a sticky sweetmeat from the stillroom - sitting at the master's desk reading his letters. Touching is allowed ... Run your hands over a black silk mourning dress and you'll illuminate the richly-embroidered underclothes beneath. Then take a seat at the long dining table -  at every place setting, there's a clear box containing a napkin ... lift it out and you'll catch the aroma of each different course: leek soup, buttered asparagus, pork and chestnuts, lobster, tea and biscuits and port. This immensely clever and creative installation isn't quite as dramatic as Dennis Severs' house, but it's well worth a visit and it's only on for a few more days. (And it's free if you're a National Trust member.) This afternoon there were only about half a dozen people in the whole house. You can read more about it here. 

2 comments:

Veronica Cooke said...


This sounds like a wonderful experience and it's in London! Who knew? I've asked for National Trust membership for my birthday present in March - can't wait...

Meanwhile, book shaped parcels have been arriving at home from 'you know who' and I didn't order them. Some Persephone books and Alan Bennett's latest diaries, I hope!

I've just finished Artemis Cooper's biography of Elizabeth Jane Howard. OMG - what a daft woman she was. I suppose it was down to the lack of love from her mother and the expectations of woman in her time but nevertheless I wanted to say 'get a grip, love and enjoy what you have'. I did enjoy it though and I'm just about to embark on the Cazalet Chronicles after reading 'Celia' by E.H. Young...

Mary said...

What a good idea for a birthday present - just in time for summer visits. And don't forget Carlyle's House and Ham House. Of course, it must be at least 30 years snce I last made it to Fenton House!
Wish I had a Secret Santa who shopped at Persephone (or who listened to hints!)
I know, I completely lost patience with EJH - there's something so unattractive about blaming parental shortcomings after, ooh, the age of 40!