Treasures from Love Hall, Playfield

By kind permission of The Love Hall Trust and The English Heritage Committee, we are able to display some of the treasures of Love Hall, in what we hope will be an ever-expanding exhibition. These are accompanied by contemporary quotations. Here is an extract from:

A GUIDEBOOK TO LOVE HALL, PLAYFIELD

(©2004 The Love Hall Trust and The English Heritage Committee.)

Nestling in the quiet valley of Playfield, the magnificent Playfield House, affectionately known as Love Hall, is one of the jewels in the crown of the English countryside.

Explore the mysterious history of this great house. Step back in time as you wander through the spectacular formal gardens and lose yourself on the estate, in a forgotten world of belvederes, follies and surprise views. View the renowned collection of paintings in The Long Gallery, just as your eighteenth and nineteenth century predecessors will have done: including artworks by Stubbs, Battoni, Eugenius, Rosetti, Holbein and Blake. Browse the literary wonders of The Octagonal Library, including the definitive collection of the female poet, Mary Day. (Free with admission.) And perhaps if you're lucky, you will meet the legendary ghost of Love Hall—don't worry: she's friendly!

And remember: Love Hall was once a working house, full of bustling servants going about their daily work. Animatronix figures bring the servant's quarters to vivid life once again for the 21st Century in a series of son et lumiéres in kitchen and laundry. Fun for all the family!

Refresh yourself with favourite house recipes served with contemporary flair at The Tea Shop, located in The Lesser Stables. (Lunch is available until 2.30pm. If you wish to picnic in the grounds, you are most welcome to do so. Please take your litter home.)

Before you leave, visit the gift shop (wheelchair accessible).


Moyzes van Wtenbrouck: Forest Pool with Hermaphroditus and Salmacis, (1627, Rijksdienst Beeldende kunsten, Den Haag)

In The Long Gallery, there was one particularly large bucolic painting of a beautiful pool of water. Stage left, dwarfed by the countryside and the pool itself, was a young woman so fat that she seemed to have two bottoms, the second perched cheekily on top of the first. She gazed after a man who seemed about to exit through the frame on the far side of the painting as he fled. He had just been bathing in the pool, and either he was embarrassed to be seen naked—as well he might be for he had broken at least two of mother's key rules, possibly three—or he was afraid of her.

Pages from The Forget-Me-Not Songster, containing A Choice Collection of Old Ballad Songs As Sung By Our Grandmothers (Locke, Boston c. 1845)

I opened the book in his palm and showed him the detail in the engravings, a far cry from the woodcuts on the broadsheets, most of which looked like they were printed from a potato sculpted with a fork...

Pages from The Forget-Me-Not Songster, containing A Choice Collection of Old Ballad Songs As Sung By Our Grandmothers (Locke, Boston c. 1845)

... Here was Lord Bakeman, a proud and dandy caricature with his ship in the background, his sword by his side and his walking stick elegantly leading the way; ...

Pages from The Forget-Me-Not Songster, containing A Choice Collection of Old Ballad Songs As Sung By Our Grandmothers (Locke, Boston c. 1845)

...and there a woman swooning in a man’s arms by the side of The Banks Of Brandy Wine.

Pages from The Forget-Me-Not Songster, containing A Choice Collection of Old Ballad Songs As Sung By Our Grandmothers (Locke, Boston c. 1845)

The Chevalier D'Eon (1728-1810)

The Chevalier D’Eon, that erstwhile hero of mine, once felt so overly scrutinised at a public gathering that he could no longer stand it. He lifted up the hem of his dress, showing his leg and stockings to the assembled company with the words: “If you are curious, Voilà!”

Edward Hyde Cornbury, Governor of New York and New Jersey (1661-1723)

A large skirt is the most convenient and comfortable thing in the world, nor did I ever wish for warmer wear during the winters of my childhood. A man’s suit, however – and fashion had dictated that they were getting drearier and more uncomfortable as the years were passing – struck me as practical and utilitarian in the extreme. There was no romance in it. Where was the mystery?

Prince William, later Duke of Gloucester (1743-1805) as a small boy.

“It is a good while before a boy need be breeched, ma’am,” added Hamilton. “There is surely no harm in keeping one in skirts for a short while, and there would be nothing unusual in it. Our new boy Stephen will be in skirts too.”

The Entertainer Julian Eltinge (1881-1941)

“Rose, you’re not the only person doing the Empress!” She laughed good-naturedly.

“The what?”

“Doing the Empress. That is what they call it: men who ...” I felt quite sorry for her as she stumbled over her explanation.

Lady Caroline Lamb dressed in Page Costume holding fruit tray and with spaniel, painted in 1813 by Thomas Phillips.