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.