Avebury Manor is a National Trust property in Wiltshire, right next to Avebury Stone Circle (the subject of my next post). Built in the 1550s the BBC used it in a TV project where they redecorated and refurnished the rooms so that each one reflects a different time period, from the Tudors to the 1930s.
As most of the contents have either been sourced from elsewhere or else been especially made for the house you are encouraged to sit on the beds, open drawers, play billiards etc, giving it an unusual interactive feel for a National Trust property.
There are too many excellent rooms to describe them all so I’ll just focus on a small sample. One of the loveliest rooms has to be the Queen Anne Bedchamber, dominated by this state bed, recreated for the manor.
The room is so named because Queen Anne is likely to have stopped at the manor, possibly in 1703. As well as a bedroom the BBC created a lovely Withdrawing Room with a day-bed and curtains and a gorgeous painting based on a picture in the Royal Collection that Queen Anne supposedly bought.
The other room that really makes an impact when you see it is the Governor of Jamaica Dining Room. Created for the BBC programme of 2011 they wanted to reflect the life of Sir Adam Williamson, former Governor of Jamaica, who owned the manor in the 18th century. Their solution was to have this stunning Chinese wallpaper commissioned. It was hand painted in China and then (very carefully!) hung on the walls using traditional starch-based glue. It is a “narrative” paper, so tells a story that reflects Williamson’s lifetime, and even includes Avebury Stone Circle.
The Billiard Room is another striking room which on the 1695 plan of the house had been a pantry and an inner cellar. Since then owners in the 1920s made a lot of changes with more being made for the BBC. The billiard table, not actually full size, was made around 1900 and the room contains other nice touches such as contemporaneous music and apparently cigar smoke (though I don’t actually remember smelling this myself).
The outside was just as well done with lovely gardens, though we were particularly impressed by the vegetables in the Kitchen Garden (some of which were for sale) including rhubarb a shade of red we’d never seen before.
It’s a really interesting place and it’s possible to spend a lot of time there.
You can find more of my photos of the manor here.
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