Painting Treasures and Tales

Last week Roger Cole, from Painting Restorations, came over to begin helping us look at our paintings. We have over one hundred in the Hall. They are mainly portraits but there are some landscapes and some that tell a mythological tale. Our Housekeeper, Jacqui and our Estate Steward, Craig liked the huge painting that showed the story of Diana and Actaeon.

Actaeon was hunting in the woodland with his friends and hounds when he spied the beautiful goddess, Diana, bathing in a stream. So embarrassed and angry was she at being discovered that she glared at Actaeon. He began to grow antlers, then hooves and then turned into one of the stags that he had been hunting! This was his demise as his hounds chased him and his friends hunted him as they failed to recognise him and sadly that is how he met his end.

Roger ensured that the fronts and backs of the paintings were scrutinised and that they were all photographed along with any written evidence that supports the provenance of the painting. Provenance is the term used to describe evidence of when and by whom the painting was executed together with any other details such as who it was commissioned by and why.

Some of our paintings are 400 years old and Roger will look at which need cleaning, restoring, relining or stretching as well as consider how they should be securely and safely packed and stored whilst the Hall undergoes restoration, conservation and some remodelling.

He was impressed by the quality of the majority of the collection and excited to be part of our project. Cragg Management will oversee the whole process and paintings will remain a treasured part of the rich history that followed the Massingberds through the centuries following their acquisition of the Estate in 1638.

On Wednesday Colin, our gardener, came over and he and Craig started to put up the polytunnel with assistance from Roy, our Assistant Estate Steward, and Josh, who is a student at Riseholme College. Unfortunately, the structure didn’t quite get finished off as the weather just got wetter and wetter. They are hoping to finish it next week.

The vegetables and fruit planted in the vegetable plot are doing well though. The strawberry plants and carrots are prolific, the spring onions are standing like soldiers and the parsnips are popping their heads through.

Colin has numerous huge polytunnels back at his home in Langworth and many of these are filled with bedding plants. He will soon be making up his wonderful hanging baskets that are always much in demand. We like the pansy boxes he has put in the stable courtyard too.