A couple of weeks ago David and I went on a little trip away, with his parents, to Staffordshire. Our home for the week was Tixall Gatehouse, owned and maintained by the Landmark Trust. It is the most amazing building, originally the gatehouse to an Elizabethan manor house, which was demolished long ago. Work began on the gatehouse in the 1560s, the standard of carving on the stonework is astonishing, and the building uses many classical motifs in a purely decorative way.
The front and rear facades are both equally decorative, and the four turrets, one on each corner, are finished with distinctive ogee shaped domes. (that is me getting into the car by the way!!)
Here are some pictures of the building taken closer up, can you see all the details in the stone work? Do you notice the classical orders are followed vertically, Doric, Ionic and Corinthian, clearly someone had been studying their classical text books!
My favourite feature on the whole building were these elegantly nonchalant angels above the gateway, there to greet us on arrival, they do look a little worn, but then they are over 450 years old!!
The front facade has soldiers above the gateway instead of angels, not quite so welcoming!!
The views from the rooftop over the Staffordshire countryside were incredible. Tixall is on the edge of Cannock Chase an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Our neighbour across the way was Shugborough Hall, ancestral home to the Earls of Lichfield.
Also in Tixall, a little way from the Gatehouse is this sweet little lodge gate, which also has an ogee shaped roof, and is believed to be part of the same estate as the Gatehouse. It is now a private home.
Our closest neighbours were sheep, with their sweet little lambs, it was a delight to see them, and they slowly got used to us, and get closer to us as the week progressed.
And here are some of the places we visited while on holiday.
Biddulph Grange Gardens
Biddulph Grange has a beautifully kept garden, maintained by the National Trust. The Victorian Garden was created by James Bateman, and is filled with plants and trees he collected from all over the world. The garden has several themes, including the Italian style terrace above...
The Egyptian Garden, complete with Sphinxes and monkey god in the temple...
And a stunning Chinese style garden. The garden looks fairly tranquil in the photos, but when we visited it was absolutely POURING with rain!!
St Mary's Church, Ingestre
This beautiful English Baroque church is believed to be the work of Sir Christopher Wren, and would be his only parish church outside of London. The building of the church was commissioned by Walter Chetwynd, and he paid for its construction.
Work began on the church between 1673-1676.
The interior of the church is truly breathtaking! It isn't normally left open, so if you plan to visit you might need to contact the key holder, we were very lucky that someone passing by could let us in.
The ceiling is a very fine example of plasterwork popular in the late seventeenth century.
Notice the pillars along the nave, which are very similar to a design used by Wren at St Brides in London.
The pulpit and tester are said to be the work of Grinling Gibbons, a prolific carver in the seventeenth century. I'm not entirely sure it's true, but they are certainly in his style. The Tripartite screen above is also attributed to Gibbons.
this is the font.
Here are some close-ups of the carving.
There are also some stunning Arts and Crafts Movement stained glass windows, one by Burne Jones (on the right)
The other by Baroness Gleichen (on the left) from the William Morris Studio.
Lichfield is a rather pretty city, it has some beautifully kept parks and this amazing cathedral (note the poser in sunglasses who 'just happened' to get into my shot!! (thank you David!)
The interior of the Cathedral is worth seeing, but the most amazing thing I thought was this doorway,
the main entrance to the cathedral. The stone carving is exquisite!
Buxton is a small spa town in the Derbyshire Dales, surrounded by beautiful rugged countryside. It is most famous for its Opera House, alongside which is the Winter Garden and Rotunda...
It is also famous for the crescent, almost, if not perhaps more elegant than the Royal Crescent at Bath. The Crescent is currently being renovated after years of neglect, and is due to open as a hotel and spa in the next couple of years.
Here is a shot of the centre of the crescent.
Well, there you are, a little snapshot of our recent holiday. I hope I haven't bored you all!! I realise that there are no miniatures in this post, but they will be coming in another post very soon, as I popped along to the Kensington Dolls' House Festival after my holiday, and have a few things I'd like to show you.
Ta ra for now!!