This week is Delving Deeper week at work, so we are showing off a few things that the public don’t often get to see, including our attics. Meaning us Chaps have spent several days over the last week tidying, organising and dusting the attics in readyness. Now they are looking fab and are ready to receive visitors. I hope people will find them as interesting as we have.
The attic rooms are used today to store items from the collection that we don’t have on display for various reasons. Each room houses a different type of object, so we have a Chair Store, Paintings, Beds, Fire Screens, Watering Cans and my favorite store-room; the Textile Store. Each room is full of surprises and wonderful and interesting objects and it has been a real pleasure to spend so much time up there; even is it has been very hot recently!
The attic rooms were originally used in the Elizabethan period as guest bedrooms, which explains why they have beautiful plaster-work above the fire places.
Later they were used as nurseries, and servants rooms, ans the bell pull system installed, as well as a telephone.
As I mentioned several of the stores are for specific object types. This is one side of the picture store. The other side has large compartments for paintings, with curtains across the front.
It houses pictures such as this water-colour, which I’m fairly certain is of one of the window alcoves in the State Withdrawing Room.
There are lots of books in the attics, from areas such as the Stewards rooms, that we opened to the public and removed the books for their protection. Don’t they look lovely all lined up together.
Some of the items of furniture in the store rooms are duplicated of what we have in the show rooms, but others are amazing unique items such as this carved chair. It is such a beautiful piece of furniture, I wonder what it’s story is!
I am very biased an even though the Watering Can Store Room comes a close second, for sheer novelty, no other store-room could beat the Textile Store in my mind. It is heaven and every box is filled with treasure! I love being asked to come up here and hunt out one piece or another, I could spend hours in this room.
Treasures such as more of the beautifully embroidered red velvet panels that are on display in the embroidery exhibition.
A rather odd, but interesting item also resides in the Textile’s store. The 9th Duke was the husband of Duchess Evelyn, the last person to live at Hardwick.
I think the stairs up to the attics are also really lovely. They are huge wooden steps, and as you go further up, towards the roof, the get more and more sloping, but after over 400 years they are still doing their job!
Lets hope our visitors enjoy the attics as much as I do, but I’m sure they will. And if the last two days are anything to go by we Chaps are going to have a very interesting week ahead! Delving Deeper week, like Conservation Week, will be happening again in september if you fancy a chance to explore Hardwick Hall’s attics.