Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cragside, UK Part IV--The First Floor of the House

Going upstairs at Cragside reveals the extensive bedrooms and art collection that the Armstrongs had.

The stairway has a niche with a very striking statue. It's The Slave Girl by John Bell. It was sculpted in 1870 and reflects the awareness of slavery inspired by the American Civil War and the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin.

The Slave Girl by John Bell

The bedrooms follow a standard naming pattern according to dominant colors or decorations found in the rooms. The Yellow Bedroom has a William Morris wallpaper design with fruit; the Red Bedroom has red carpets and bed linens; the Bamboo Room has Japanese-inspired furnishings (the wood is carved to look like bamboo).

Yellow Bedroom

Red Bedroom

Bamboo Room

The Morning Room is an upstairs drawing room that features a fine musical instrument.

Keyboard in the drawing room

By the bedrooms is a long gallery and a drawing room that include many of the paintings, sculptures, and taxidermy that Lord Armstrong collected during his life. He kept it as a sort of museum with scientific, geological, and natural history specimens available for study. 


Alexander Munro's Undine

Some taxidermy

Amazing marble statue

The drawing room is quite ostentatious with a massive marble chimney piece dominating the south end of the room. Designed by William Lethaby and executed by Farmer and Brindley, it easily accommodates several people, though the room has its own boiler and pipe system for heating. The room was used for entertaining large groups of guests or very important guests, like the Prince and Princess of Wales who came to visit in 1884!

Massivest fireplace ever!

The final major addition to the house was the Billiards Room in the back of the house. It is very cozy and seems like the spot for the men folk to retreat for brandy and cigars after a big formal dinner in the drawing room. The table is still in use and I had the chance to play a little.

Aptly named Billiards Room

A good spot for lounging around between shots

Up above the gallery is the Owl Suite, a set of bedrooms that were furnished for the royal visit. In addition to the light and airy decor, plumbing was also installed for the comfort of the guests. The rooms get their name from the owl finials on the posts of the beds.

Owl Bedroom #1

Owl Bedroom #2

The Owl Suite is the summit of the house and the end of our tour. Tomorrow we will visit the most important part of the estate according to J and L--the playground!

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