Even in these times when social history is enormously popular on television, either through period dramas or unexpectedly educational shows like Who Do You Think You Are?, I learned quite a bit that was new to me. Spread amidst the rooms are little exhibitions of objects such as porcelain or tea caddies from that period, samples of fabrics used for floor coverings, details on techniques used at the time such as ‘Japanning’ (a 17th century type of black furniture finish), and illustrations or photographs of what the outside of the house would have looked like—and the difficulties faced when building them--and where the various servants and family members would have spent most of their time.
As I went late in the afternoon and didn’t want to disturb others with a flash, my photographs are dark and blurry, so you will need to go see things yourself. If you can’t get to London, the museum’s website has virtual tours and loads of detail about period pieces and décor, so you can wander through now.
I emerged from this wonderful visit to a past I never knew feeling reluctant to leave its magic, but smiling after a happy stroll through it.