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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Saturday Jaunt to Compton Verney

Another Saturday, with the sun making an appearance. Carol had decided to drive to Compton Verney in Warwickshire today. We seem to be making the most of the summer weather. We set the SatNav to take us there and it's great to know that, with this technology, you don't have to bother with maps and direction-finding. The journey took no more than an hour and a half. A very straightforward journey. I think we must have come fairly close to this house when we were last out the other week when we drove to Seizencote. It's also quite near Stratford-Upon-Avon.

On arrival, we found a place in the car park and then walked to the entrance building and found other people waiting patiently because the place had not yet opened.

Compton Verney, Bridge in Capability Brown landscape

Once the doors opened we queued up and eventually paid for our entrance and then walked the relatively short distance to the house. The house, built in 1714, is a Grade I listed building, set in the quite stunning landscape, designed by Capability Brown and since this is the 300th anniversary of his birth, a very good example of his work. It seems amazing to think that he is likely to have never seen his work completed when you think how long it would take for the trees to mature. All set off by a very large lake. We walked along the path leading to the house and discovered a very strange building with a pointed thatched roof which turned out to the an ice-house. We have seen a few of these structures at other properties we've visited over the years.

Ice House at Compton Verney

After a walk around the grounds, we entered the house. It has been redeveloped as an art gallery. It's very well executed, using modern building techniques, glass, and steel. There is a new block at the rear of the building which houses a shop, restaurant, and café. I was expecting the house to be like all the other houses we visit, with the interiors virtually intact from whatever period they were built, including furniture.

We spent some time browsing the galleries which contain art from across several centuries and then went into the café to have a snack  before we went upstairs to see two more exhibitions, one of photographs from the B.B.C. archives and covering a 60-year period and showing performers of comedy programmes such as 'Hancock's Half-Hour', 'Round The Horne', 'The Navy Lark' and also television classics such as 'Dad's Army', 'Are You Being Served' and 'Steptoe and Son.' A very interesting and revealing exhibition and great to see the performers, such as Kenneth Williams, Ken Dodd, Arthur Lowe and others in relaxed mood as well as in rehearsal and performing. Also on display is another exhibition of designs from the 1950's and in particular, from the Festival of Britain held in 1951. We're not particularly interested in that period, but it was interesting all the same. Then we went further up the house to a permanent display of folk art.  We then went back outside for a further wander around the house, finishing up in a meadow looking at an artwork called 'Drift; by Laura Ellen Bacon and woven out of wood.

'Drift' by Laura Ellen Bacon

We walked back to the car park to reset the SatNav for home. We didn't return exactly the same way because when we got near the motorway we could see traffic on it was queued up and at a complete stand-still, so we decided we ought to avoid it so went home via Lemington Spa and on towards Daventry and the M1. 

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