Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Castell Coch Part II

The cowman (!) Next Door once took his girlfriend to Castell Coch for an afternoon out. He reported back that it was "very small" and "nothing special" and a waste of money . . . The old saying about casting pearls before swine springs to mind!

I have to go out now so will return later and add more information beneath the pictures. Enjoy!

The truly magnificent fireplace in the Banquetting Hall.

The Drawing Room walls are painted with scenes from Aesop's Fables. These were executed following Burges' death in 1881 and typical of the Aesthetic movement design then employed when the Master's guiding hand was gone. If you double-click on this you will see that the monkey left, has wonderful Victorian whiskers, and that there is a little frog in the middle with a quack medicine bottle!

The fireplace with the figures of the Three Fates above it, designed by William Burges and executed (carved) by Thomas Nicholls.

Painted panels surrounded us, with detailed botanical studies.

Foxgloves and other wild flowers painted in the panelling.

A close up of the detailed wall painting in the Drawing Room. This is JUST up my street - LOVE it. Hollyhocks are US!

A corner of Lord Bute's bedroom. The bed was based on a design by Viollet-de-Duc and was made from copper-plated cast iron railing held together by elaborately knotted ropework. The feet splay out in a very Moorish design and I wish I'd taken a photo of them now!

Wouldn't you jut LOVE a bed like this? The mattress looked good and lumpy but is in fact a feather mattress and having once slept in a feather bed, I can vouch for it being the best night's sleep I ever had. The mattress hugged you to it. I love the Crystal balls about the bed and wonder if she woke up feeling wonderfully mentally attuned the next day . . . This too is a copy of a supposed 14th C design illustrated by Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, who was a central figure in the Gothic Revival period in France.

The archways around the room show the Moorish influence which Burges took to his heart in his interiors at Castell Coch and Cardiff Castle. His travels to Sicily and Constantinople had a strong influence on his future designs. I would like to add that there are elements of Celtic design too, as recourse to any of Romilly Allen's notes and books on Celtic knotwork designs on early Christian monuments would show.

Now THIS is what I CALL a washstand! isn't it superb? It was designed after Burges' death by J S Chapple and dated 1891. The castle towers hide lead-lined cisterns for hot and cold water.

One of the pair of Moorish-influenced chairs which are based on earlier designs by Burges.

The incredible vaulted dome ceiling in Lady Bute's bedroom. Burges was no stranger to designing domed ceilings like this, as he had designed one for the chancel of Studley Royal church in Yorkshire and he had made miniature domes for his scheme of decoration at St Paul's Cathedral and for a chapel at Penylan in Cardiff.

Detail on one of the carved capitals at the base of the vaulting. Each one around the room shws different birds and animals.

This is just small section of the vaulted ceiling in Lady Bute's bedroom. I cannot imagine how long it took to paint all this incredible detail but the more you look at it, the more wonderful it obviously is. Incidentally, Lord Bute disapproved of the monkeys in the panels - makes me wonder what his take was on Darwin's theories? The interlacing vines and backgrounds for the other panels re influenced by and allude to the Sleeping Beauty (fairy tale turns into Lady Bute one assumes!)


Anonymous said...

Wonderful painted panels, I can imagine laying underneath them, dropping off to sleep

Morning's Minion said...

It seems very grand to me--difficult to imagine actually living in the midst of it--imposing public sort of spaces as opposed to more intimate living areas--but then, my origins are humble! The botanical "art" is a marvel--one would never tire of those details.

Bovey Belle said...

I reckon I could get used to it . . . hard at first, all that luxury, but hell, someone has to do it! . . .

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Oh, those painted botanical panels, amazing and fun little surprises abound. Reminds me a little of some of the castles in Portugal...that Moorish influence

thelma said...

Thanks for the lovely photos Jennie, they are beautiful all those panel paintings, and the good thing is they can't be moved and sold on. As for living there bet it was cold with all those high ceilings, give me a little warm cottage any day.

Tea with Willow said...

Wonderful photos as always BB - beautiful artwork and such treasures! I'm amazed at the richness of the colours - would love to visit sometime.

Willow xx

nancy said...

I've lingered long over every photo here, Jennie. This is incredible! I guess I really love 'gracious living'... vicariously, of course.

Bovey Belle said...

I want to go back and see it all again, having read the guide book from cover to cover before hand. It really WAS the most amazing place and my husband preferred it to Cardiff Castle, but I think that has the edge for over-the-topness!