Conservation in Action at Osterley Weekend

Hajira preparing for Conservation in Action demonstration at Osterley Park House (image: Laura Brooks)

Hajira preparing for Conservation in Action demonstration at Osterley Park House (image: Laura Brooks)

During Osterley Weekend, a few weeks ago, the house team held two demonstrations of Conservation in Action, to highlight some of the work the team do around the house on a regular basis.  If you visited us during this weekend, you may have seen our Assistant House Steward, Kirsty, cleaning fire irons in the Entrance Hall.  Meanwhile, upstairs, in one of our store rooms, the second demonstration caused some trepidation for visitors who were brave enough to venture in. Continue reading

Hidden places and secret spaces

Secret door in Library bookshelf opens to the Library annexe.

The secret door open to the secret passage in the Library at Osterley Park House (image: Laura Brooks)

I don’t know about you but I love to hear about hidden corridors and secret doors in old houses.  The very idea of a priest-hole sends my imagination running wild.  It is one of the things I enjoyed about family holidays and my parents dragging us off to some castle or stately home – the colourful and interesting pasts of these properties, and cleverly concealed doors and corridors that would have been used regularly once upon a time (most likely by the servants).  So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered Osterley had its own hidden and secret spaces that only the staff and volunteers knew about and used.

Now it’s your turn.  You are about to be ushered into the world behind the closed door.  Allow us to introduce you to a couple of our hidden spaces. Continue reading

Van Dyck, Dobson and their Mannerist frames


The Frame Blog have posted on the Van Dyck self-portrait, that has recently been saved for the nation by the National Portrait Gallery, and the Dobson self-portrait that now resides at Osterley, as part of the recent ten year loan from the Earl of Jersey. Both of these portraits once belonged to the the Childs, the family that owned Osterley, having been bought by Francis Child.

Originally posted on The Frame Blog:

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(left) Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641), Self-portrait, c.1640-41, National Portrait Gallery, London; (right) William Dobson (1611-46), Self-portrait, c.1645, Earldom of Jersey Trust

The vivid self-portrait (left) – painted just before Van Dyck’s early death in 1641, and which has now been acquired for the National Portrait Gallery – is notable not only for its technical skill and immediacy but for its dramatic Mannerist frame. It is also linked, in an intriguing way, to the self-portrait painted by William Dobson in homage (right), which has an almost identical frame. Dobson produced his own portrait around 1645 (he died only five years after Van Dyck, at the even earlier age of 35)[1] and the two paintings were united (probably around 1708), remaining in the same collections until Van Dyck’s Self-portrait was sold in 2009.

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Van Dyck (1599-1641), Self-portrait, c.1640-41

Van Dyck and Dobson were both precociously gifted artists, who…

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Curious Birds in the Trappings of Trade

Curious Birds at Osterley Park, as part of Trappings of Trade exhibition.

Curious Birds info sign from Trappings of Trade exhibition at Osterley Park in 2013 (image: Laura Brooks)

If you missed last year’s Trappings of Trade exhibition at Osterley, then never fear.  We have been blogging about the exhibition, so you have a chance to get some of the highlights.  Previously, we posted on Paktong and Lacquer (another post on this to come).  The theme of today’s post is ‘Curious Birds.’ Continue reading

Done and Dusted at Petworth

Image taken from Petworth House and Park blog, of their state bed.

Image of Petworth House and Park’s state bed, blog, taken from their blog.

Here is a great post from the Petworth team about the work that lots of National Trust properties undertake during the course of a week as well as an explanation for the reasons behind it.  Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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