As well as all of the exciting work taking place on the roof here at Attingham, we also like to put on small exhibitions in the house. Until mid-October we have a new exhibition in the rooms called Keepsakes and Memories which is similar to the Hidden Lives exhibition we had last year.
Keepsakes and Memories displays some of our less well-known objects which are often located in our stores and tells you the story behind them.
One of the highlights includes the silk ‘Coming Out Dress’ of Miss Gioconda Hulton, sister of the last Lady Berwick. This dress was made in 1905 and first worn at a ball in Venice where the sisters grew up.
We are currently cataloguing our historic photographs and it is always wonderful to be able to link collection items with images of the people who owned them, especially if the object features in the photograph itself.
Another of the objects on display is our intriguing shell collection in the Boudoir. We do not know exactly who created this collection, which is housed in a cupboard, but it may have been by the wife of the 1st Lord Berwick, for whom the room was painted in the 1780s, or by his mother or grandmother.
The shell collection is only on display for special occasions and is just one example of the crazy collecting habits of some of the members of the Hill family who lived at Attingham. In the early 1800s Thomas, 2nd Lord Berwick spent large amounts of money on purchasing paintings, both old and new, and also spent on antiquities and books. Unfortunately it all caught up with him and he went bankrupt in 1827!
Finally, you can also see some objects relating to Richard, 5th Lord Berwick who was securing the finances of the Attingham Estate in the mid 1800s and implementing agricultural developments. He bred his prize herd of Hereford cattle and won prizes for his ducks and chickens. We have the medals that he won which we have now displayed in the West Ante Room alongside a rifle which he helped to develop.
He was a talented craftsman and patented the Cronkhill rifling technology, named after the John Nash Italianate villa on the Estate where he lived. He also crafted flutes and clarinets.
You can see all of these interesting objects, and more, any day in the house until mid-October. You never know, they may trigger an interesting memory that you have, or remind you of a keepsake that you have hung onto.