12 September 2014
SIG: Archaeology and Heritage
The Group's now traditional summer visit to a 'stately home' took place on 15 August, to the National Trust property of Uppark in West Sussex.
Until 1770 this was Uppark's grand South Entrance
The Servery; side table dates from the 1750s, stained glass from 1813
Picture-making here was a special privilege: parts of this 17th century house are occupied by members of the fifth generation of the Fetherstonhaugh family, and photography is not normally permitted. When the Uppark estate was bought by Sir Matthew Fetherstonhaugh in 1747, he spent much of his inherited fortune on filling the house with fine paintings and sculptures acquired on the traditional European 'Grand Tour'; his son later added noteworthy furniture and ceramics. Many of these treasures are still in the house, having survived a disastrous fire in 1989.
The Dining Room
After a tour of the property, guided by the ever-helpful NT house manager, our party of 12 split into two groups, photographing respectively the principal ground-floor rooms such as the saloon, dining room and principal bedroom; and the equally photogenic 'working quarters' below – kitchen, Butler's pantry, Housekeeper's room , Steward's and servants' halls – seldom open to view in our great houses. The two groups changed places midway through the morning.
A corner of the Dining Room
'Below Stairs' – kitchen ware
Of special interest were the Uppark doll's house, constructed in 1740 and today one of the most important of its type still in existence; and the two underground passages linking the main house to the Stable Block and, for most of the 19th century, the kitchen – servants in that era were expected to be neither seen nor heard !
A housewife's dream – the kitchen stove
Following the morning visit and lunch at The White Horse in nearby South Harting, a number of members took the opportunity of returning to Uppark to photograph its extensive landscaped gardens.
Passage from the Kitchen to the House, in use from 1815 to 1895
Feature photograph: The Little Parlour set for tea
Text and pictures© R. K. Evans 2014
You can see more images from that day by George Backshall here and by Chelin Miller here