Our historic photographs provide a glimpse into Attingham’s past, showing how the house appeared in previous years and highlighting changes that have occurred over time.
This type of information is especially useful to our curators and engagement officers who use the photos to increase their knowledge of the historic layout and content of rooms, which in turn assists them in their decisions as to how to present the house to visitors today. Of particular interest are photos from the 1920’s, ’30’s and ’40’s when Attingham was of course still very much a home for the 8th Lord and Lady Berwick.
As Attingham is now open again for visits by the public, I thought that it would be interesting to present some photos showing how the layout of some of our most well known rooms have altered over time. The rooms in the photos are generally instantly recognisable and some of the changes are obvious, but others can only be noticed on closer inspection of the photos.
The first photograph is a view of the Dining Room taken in 1921 for an article that was published in Country Life magazine.
Of particular interest are the portraits of the 2nd and 3rd Lords Berwick on either side of the fire place as neither picture now hangs in these locations.
Taken at approximately the same time, the view of the Drawing Room below shows a number of key differences from today’s layout.
Amongst these are the location above the fireplace of the painting of ‘Christ Expelling The Money Changers From The Temple’ by Salvator Rosa that now resides in The Picture Gallery, while to the right of the mirror, the pearlwood cabinet now located in the Inner Library hides the ‘trompe l’oeil’ effect of the false door that can be seen when entering the room today. My personal favourite is the small lampshades that can be seen in place on the chandelier.
Below is a photograph of the fireplace in The Octagon Room from 1932 when it was known to the 8th Lord and Lady Berwick as ‘The Little Dining Room’ as historically the room was used as a dining room due to its location slightly closer to the kitchen than the formal Dining Room. The picture shows the white colour scheme of the room that was in place prior to the replica Regency decorative scheme introduced as part of the ongoing ‘Attingham Rediscovered’ project.
Below is a second photo of the Dining Room, this time from 1958 and showing that by this date the portrait of the Second Lord Berwick has been moved to be replaced by the Richard Westall painting of ‘A Child Going To Fetch Water’ that continues to hang in this location today. At the rear of the photo it is possible to see the portrait of the 8th Lady Berwick by Sir Gerald Kelly that is now hanging in the East Ante Room.
It is not just inside the house however where changes have occurred. My final photo shown below is a view of the clock tower taken in 1921 when clearly there had been problems with the Outer Courtyard getting somewhat overgrown!! This photo was taken not long after the 8th Lord and Lady Berwick moved to Attingham and offers some idea of the slightly dishevelled state that the house and grounds were in at that time.
If you are visiting Attingham in the near future, why not look out for some of the differences that I have mentioned and let me know if you spot anymore. Also, don’t forget to check out Attingham and its collection our new website before or after your visit.
Further information on all of the rooms and objects that I have written about above is available on this website, plus information on the rest of Attingham’s collection, hopefully enabling you to enjoy your visit here even more.