Dobson and Van Dyck

House team standing by Van Dyck self-portrait in National Portrait Gallery.

Kirsty, Judith, Laura, Claire and Lizzie by Van Dyck self-portrait in National Portrait Gallery (image: Hajira Mahomed).

The house team recently visited the National Portrait Gallery in London, as above, where they saw the Van Dyck self-portrait that the Gallery and the Art Fund are campaigning to save for the nation.  The team, however, have a special link with this painting.

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Light and crewel work sofas

Crewel work sofa in Long Gallery, in-between Tudor stair and Drawing Room.

Crewel work sofa in Long Gallery (image: Laura Brooks)

If you’ve ever been in Osterley’s Long Gallery, you can’t have failed to noticed the sofas residing at both ends of the room, especially if you were with a child who had been given a wheel by the front of house team, that required them to find examples of different creatures throughout the Principal Floor (the first floor).  In the case of the Long Gallery, one of the creatures is a snail which can be located on one of the sofas (we won’t spoil the fun of looking for it by telling you the snail’s exact location).  During the recent winter clean, the team had a chance to get up close with the sofas, their cushions and bolsters, and inspect their condition. Continue reading

Waking up the house

Eating Room with lots of dust covers and acid-free tissue waiting to be removed.

Beginning to prepare Eating Room for the 2014 season at Osterley Park House (image: Laura Brooks)

Over the winter, we have been blogging about ‘putting the house to bed.’  A few weeks ago, the team began to prepare the house for its first day of the new season.  In doing this, we were echoing the servants who worked at Osterley all those years ago and whose responsibility it was to get the house ready for the family and their guests, when they came to stay (although the servants then probably wouldn’t have been using a Henry vacuum cleaner to clean the floors).

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Ssshh! No talking in the library!

Library in midst of winter clean.

Library at Osterley Park, during the winter clean (image: Laura Brooks)

Osterley is a house full of things to intrigue and excite, and I don’t just mean the collection.  One room that sometimes proves interesting to visitors is the Library.  There are a couple of reasons for this, one of which we’ll blog about at a later date, but the other is its colour, or rather, lack of, as some would say.  For a house that combines pink with green in one room, contains a rather beautiful shade of blue in another (if we do say so ourselves), whilst yet another is a riot of colour (and largely unfaded after more than two hundred years), you could be forgiven for thinking that every single room was just as colourful, other than the servants’ rooms, of course.  This is not the case. Continue reading

Cleaning in a 130ft long room

Long Gallery in November 2013

Long Gallery during open season (image: Laura Brooks)

A few weeks ago, with the Drawing Room and the State Apartment (otherwise known as the Tapestry Room, the State Bedroom and Etruscan Room) done and dusted (literally), it was time to move onto the 130ft Long Gallery. Continue reading

And the clean goes on…

Kate cleaning gilding by window pelmet in Drawing Room.

Kate cleaning by frieze in Drawing Room (image: Laura Brooks)

We are well into 2014 now and the winter clean is continuing, ready for when the house opens in March.  As explained in our post ‘That time of year’, the winter clean is also known as ‘Putting the house to bed.’  Charlecote Park, a National Trust property in Warwickshire, also blogged on this recently and gave a good explanation as to how and why it is done, in their post ‘Putting the house to bed’. Continue reading

‘The Trappings of Trade’ and lacquer – part one

Welcome to our first post of 2014, where continuing on from our post on Paktong, as part of last year’s ‘The Trappings of Trade’ exhibition, we now turn our attention to lacquer and the items at Osterley that fall into this category, starting with the lacquer secrétaire that normally resides in the Etruscan Room.

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