Friday, August 23, 2013

Goodwood House

I took the Australians to see Goodwood House. It opens for one week every year, nevertheless it was surprisingly uncrowded. Originally a hunting lodge for the first Duke of Richmond, son of King Charles II and his French mistress, Louise de Keroualle, it was extended into a grand house by the third Duke when his London house burnt down, uninsured.
The original part of the house has some beautiful tapestries with amusing scenes from Don Quixote, which were given to the third Duke by Louis XV in 1766. There is a stunning Sevres porcelain collection on display in the Card Room, commissioned by the third Duke before the French Revolution and decorated with exotic birds, copied from illustrations in one of his books. The Red Hall contains wonderful memorabilia from the Battle of Waterloo, including standards, drums and a painting of the Duchess of Richmond's ball in Brussels.
Then there's the Egyptian Dining Room, decorated in high Egyptian style with crocodiles carved on the chair backs, magnificent gold candelabra and braziers burning in the corners. One year, when he was on his annual visit to Goodwood races, King Edward VII said he didn't like it so the Duke redecorated the whole room in Georgian style for the King's visit the following year. The room was redecorated back to its (more or less) original Egyptian style in the 1930s.
We had tea in the magnificent Ballroom, surrounded by ancestral Richmond/Keroualle portraits. When we left there was a No Entry sign on the road by which we'd entered. We tried two other roads out of the estate, only to find closed gates at the end of them. Our third attempt was along a road signposted "Horseboxes" and "Golfers". Part of the golf course was on our right and the road was becoming narrower and heading into a wood. There was an unassuming turning to the left which led to a small tunnel so off we went. Emerging from the tunnel, we saw a sign saying "Fifth tee" and some bemused golfers looking down at us. "In 25 years of playing on this course, I've never seen a car here!" one of them exclaimed. "May I take your photograph?" He very kindly then showed us to a gate which happened to be open and we were able to escape.


Blogger Eurodog said...

Can you imagine the scene on the eve of the battle of Waterloo. A dinner, a ball and the next morning a 25 km march to battle through the forest where I walk Ozzy every day.

8:47 pm  
Blogger Angus said...

Edward VII could be an expensive houseguest.

7:09 am  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Yes - what an adventure ED. Thank God for the Prussians!

7:43 am  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Indeed Angus (the Queen's stopped going there...)

7:44 am  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Very interesting. I'd like to go there.

7:52 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home