Country House Christmas Nostalgia

With a little over a week to go before Christmas I thought it might be nice to take some time out to do something “Christmassy”; so Mr PP and I went along to our local National Trust property – Petworth House to have a look at this years festive offering. The past couple of years have been quite spectacular with  last year the rooms being dressed out as tableau from some well known and loved nursery rhymes and fairy tales and previous to that the theme was a painting of the Palace of Balthazar which hangs in the house, and saw the ground floor dressed out in mystical fantasy full of Eastern Promise.  For 2014 the theme is Christmas Past with five rooms being decorated in the style of 1950’s,1960’s and 1970′ and today.  If I am completely honest, while it all looks pretty enough, it is a little disappointing when compared to previous years (there are blog posts in my archive about these) and if I had actually had to pay an entry fee I would have felt robbed, fortunately entry is free for NT members.

There are trees in abundance festooned with lights, although apart from a very small artificial tree in one room, I am not entirely sure how authentic they are.  Most of the lights and decorations looked suspiciously like either modern copies of ‘vintage’ pieces or modern designs ‘vintage inspired’.  The large white tree covered in white lights and massive white paper ‘snowflake’ baubles was certainly a showstopper, but it has the feel of a ‘County Living’ magazine photo shoot.  Indeed there are many decorations – trees and wreaths covered in white lights – frankly I don’t remember ever seeing much in the way of single colour lighting until the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, and of course now it is everywhere.  My memories of childhood Christmases are of multi coloured lights, which often became very hot and were definitely a serious fire hazard! No LED’s back then!  In fact I do remember one year when I was very young that we had candles on the tree which were lit briefly, twinkled for a few minutes and were then snuffed out just in case the tinsel or lametta caught fire!

blue tree

Blue lights made from empty gun cartridges and glass baubles filled with wadding – the Shooting Tree

gun cartridge

close up of glass wadding filled bauble and gun cartridge lights

I think that while the idea and sentiment are good, this year’s display at Petworth falls a bit short of the standard set by previous years.  Still I do have photos to share with you, please excuse a bit of fuzziness – no flash allowed!


Super Spooky weird ‘mist’ in front of mantlepiece – this is NOT a fogged lens, I have no idea what caused it!

mirror tree

1950’s style artificial tree with multi coloured fairy lights


1950’s mini crackers and 2 boxes of train puzzles


Christmas Chocolates!


1960’s Christmas cards

white tree

Huge white decorated tree from the Park – about 20 feet tall!


White lights on wall wreaths and small artificial tree


White lights decorate a vase of twigs with toys from the 1950’s


The Glenmorangie – for the man of the house!


Pheasant tails and fir cones

servants stairs

by the stairs to the servants quarters

seed pack garland

interesting garland decorated with cards made from seed packets

seed pack tree

another artificial tree with seed packet tag decorations

Later this week I will be putting up our tree (real of course!) and in keeping with tradition I have purchased a new incredibly tasteless new bauble, but in addition I have also bought 2 new decorations handmade by local artisan craftsmen, one ceramic and one in fused glass.  I am very excited to see them on the tree, so watch this space next week if you’d like to see them too.



About paisleypedlar

Artist, Sewist, sometime Cyclist and Arm Chair Activist
This entry was posted in art and design, colour, Country Houses, Expeditions and adventures, flowers, gardens, memorabilia, Museums and Galleries, national trust, Out and about, photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s