Pillars and friezes in the Neo-classical breakfast room
This week I have been into all things Neo-classical... perhaps my grandfather, who was a scholar in the Classics, was speaking through me? Or perhaps I was simply inspired by the visit I paid last weekend to beautiful Hylands House in Essex, near Chelmsford.
Thanks to @rupert.dixon, who made me aware of this architectural beauty on Instagram a while ago it has become a regular place where my husband and I go for walks in the weekend, as it is not far from where we live in North London. The house has beautiful grounds... but this weekend we paid special attention to the house itself.
Friezes above the doorway of the hallway, with a bit of the original painted fresco revealed
This beautiful house has, like so many other stately homes, had many make-overs through the years. In the 1960s it was abandoned when its last resident died, and the council secretly hoped it would fall down so they could get rid of it. But thanks to an intrepid boy and his father a committee was set up, Lottery funding attracted and over the span of 20 years the house was restored to its original glory of the Neo-classical style and opened up free of charge to everyone to enjoy.
Detail of a long frieze with Classical scenes in the hallway
That "little boy" went on to become the well-known interior designer Rupert Dixon of course. And the house is still being worked on, as there is always more to do. All the Victorian add-ons were removed and the East wing was restored to its original Neo-classical style. You can see the stunning beauty in the pictures in the slider above: cool pastel colours, sparing decoration, lots of friezes and plasterwork, and generally a sense of space, lightness, optimism.
The ceiling of the Victorian drawing room
What a contrast then to walk into the West wing, which has its Victorian interior preserved. Heavy ceilings that seem to press down, muted and muffled colours, busy carpets, everything overly decorated and embellished - I included just two pictures in the slider as I couldn't bring myself to take more pictures of it! I have never been in a house that so clearly shows the difference between the two styles: the airy lightness and optimism of the Neo-classical style, which seems to emphasise simplicity and elegance, and the much more heavy Victorian style, which seems to emphasise wealth and power.
If you are in Essex, or even in London, do go to see it for yourself: the house has fantastic grounds where you can go for long walks, too.
And if you are looking for some Neo-classical porcelain... well I've got plenty in my shop!
Where to find things
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Happy weekend, and go for a walk to discover something beautiful 😍😍😍!
The ceiling of the Neo-classical formal dining room
This week's new treasures: