Lost and gone forever
Regular readers will know that I love seeing different ways of presenting information. I find it fascinating to encounter unusual storytelling methods, particularly when some imagination has been applied. As we explored some of the rooms at Croome, we came across this, the Tapestry Room.
The clue is the easel on which the picture stands, for the Tapestry Room doesn't look quite like this now.
For there are none of those tapestries left here and all that remains is a wood-panelled room with rather a lot of nails still in place.
We were interested to know what happened, so read the start of the story on the wall.
We took one last look at the amazing patchwork of panelling before stepping through the door into the next room.
Here, the story of the tapestries was told in a series of wall displays, beginning with some details of how they had been designed.
Now, if it's possible to read the start of that paragraph, perhaps you'll guess my first (minor) irritation? Let's not dwell on that, but move swiftly onto the next one.
I liked the profiles of the workmen and their tools, especially when I noticed those very tools placed on a table beneath that wall.
I don't know how they did it, but those (fixed) tools were touch-sensitive and when each was handled, the display screen above showed a pen portrait of the man who used it, or offered further details of their work. What a pleasing use of modern technology without allowing it to take over or to dominate the layout.
All the way along this wall, the story of the tapestries was illustrated with contemporary details to support the tale being told. It was all laid out in such an interesting way, I almost overcame my, by now intense irritation at the silly, anthropomorphic language used.
I mean, how interesting it is to see other tapestries appearing at similar country houses, inspired by these, but cousins? What? Oh for heaven's sake! (I know, I'm fun company when something like that gets to me. I was muttering about the whole room!)
The story continued on the adjacent wall, including there at the lower right hand corner, the most pathetic letter written by Lord Deerhurst to his banker, pleading for consideration of his gambling debts. A sad and sorry tale indeed.
Thankfully, Croome's loss is someone else's gain and those lucky enough to have access to the Metropolitan Museum in New York (yes, Jordi, thinking of you here!) can visit the tapestries as and when they please.
Those of us here can take a closer (digital) look, at least.
In many respects, it was rather more interesting to see the bare bones of the room and read the story of the tapestries than to wander through a perfectly staged "set". I certainly learned more about how these masterpieces are hung and spent longer learning about them than I probably would have done had they been in place. I considered the option of the National Trust having full sized digital prints created, as have been done elsewhere, or possibly painting the tapestry designs on wall panels as we saw in St Petersburg last year. But ultimately, I think there is no better way to tell the story of what happened here than showing it how it is. Bravo NT.
We were to see further work in progress downstairs, but first there was the small business of finding a "young man in a blue shirt" to accompany us to the Red Wing.