Saturday, May 31, 2014

Belton House, England

Belton House was built by Sir John Brownlow in the late 1680s and is considered the quintessential country estate house. The house is well proportioned and is surrounded by formal gardens and 1300 acres of deer park. It's the good life, English-aristocracy style.

Belton House

The grounds include the standard stable yard with clock and a variety of exterior decorations.

Stable yard

Other side of the stable yard exit

Kids on the carriage mounting block

Bit of showy outdoor statues

Maybe the family crest?

Inside is just as exquisite as the outside. The Marble Hall is the first room visitors would walk into, and they'd see a bust of King William IV. The bust dates from 1838, the year after the king died. The family connection to the king is the Earl's wife, who was lady-in-waiting to the Queen.

Marble Hall

William IV

Oriental vases, another sign of wealth and class

The downstairs includes the Blue Bedroom and a chapel which was rather poorly lit. The chapel is two stories tall but begins a floor below the ground floor, so we were only able to see it from the chapel gallery.

Blue Bedroom


The main staircase leads up to more bedrooms and has a lovely bust of Sophia Cust who was lady-in-waiting to the Queen as mentioned above.

Main stairs

Sophia Cust by Joseph Nollekens

In keeping with the vases downstairs, one of the upstairs bedrooms is the Chinese Bedroom, stylishly decorated with wallpaper imported from China depicting a garden party.

Chinese wallpaper

The Queen's Bedroom is the centerpiece of the upstairs. The queen visited after William's death and stayed in this room.

Queen's Bedroom

The family china is nearby

The upstairs also has a nice library including a bronze statue of the third Earl Brownlow with his horse "Queen Bess." The statue is from 1871 so I'm sure the horse's name was not an affront to the royal family.

The library

The third Earl Brownlow

The final upstairs room is the Boudoir, another relaxing bedroom.

Sitting area of the Boudoir

The ceiling

Back downstairs, the Red Drawing Room leads into the Hondecoeter Room, where the family dined. The room is named after Melchior d'Hondecoeter who painted the landscapes on the walls.

Red Drawing Room

Hondecoeter Room

The Tapestry Room shows of more of the family wealth, as well as the stud with its second century bust of Roman Emperor Trajan.

Tapestry Room

Trajan Bust

When we visited, a silver smith was giving demonstrations, but when we got to the room, she was on a break! That's the way luck goes sometimes. The house is great to visit.

The church on the ground (which has many family tombs) will be the next post!

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