Sunday, 29 July 2012

Hatfield House

Click Images to Enlarge

On the fringes of London in the middle of a vast sprawling estate sits one of the finest examples of Jacobean architecture in England. With a rich and illustrious history spanning more than 400 years and home to the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury, Hatfield House is no shrinking violet. The house boasts an incredibly ornate interior full of the most elaborate and fanciful detailing.


Given its fabulous decorative interior its easy to see why Hatfield was featured as the home of Bruce Wayne in the movie Batman and in films such as Shakespeare in Love, Sleepy Hollow, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Vanity Fair, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows and the King's Speech.


The 42 acres of garden at Hatfield are maintained by Lady Salisbury and her team of gardeners.

The East garden on the private side of the house features a maze and formal box beds and is open to the public once a week. The West Garden is divided into four stunning sections comprising of a Fountain Garden originally laid out by John Tradescant, the new Sundial Garden, the Knot Garden which was designed by Lady Salisbury adjoins the Old Tudor Palace where Elizabeth I spent most of her childhood and also a splendidly cool Woodland Walk dotted with oak leaf Hydrangeas.
  
  

On the edges of the Pleached Lime Walk lie two carved stone friezes of Elizabeth with her entourage of courtiers brought to Hatfield from the Royal Exchange.



Following last year's Henry Moore exhibition at Hatfield House, French artist Xavier Veilhan has introduced his work here this summer and was the primary reason for our visit this weekend. 





Veilhan's simple abstract forms sit quietly within the cool woodland environment in stark contrast to the Jacobean splendour of the house and gardens.
We may have lost ourselves for a whole afternoon in the gardens of Hatfield House but I will return to devote another day to the interior of the house, to follow in the footsteps of Elizabeth I, Johnny Depp and er, Batman!

61 comments:

  1. Hello Paul:
    It is to our shame that we have to admit to never having visited Hatfield something which, as this post shows, should be rectified at the first possible opportunity. The gardens are, we understand, truly magnificent due in no small measure to the real interest and creativity of Lady Salisbury who is well respected in gardening circles.

    The exhibition of Veilhan's work certainly adds another dimension making a visit yet more urgent. And we have yet to see the interior - another post to which we shall look forward.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Jane and Lance. Hatfield is quite wonderful, I am sure you will both have a great time when you visit. Lady Salisbury has worked wonders with the gardens using her horticultural expertise and great eye for design. Veilhan's modern play on classic statuary does indeed add another dimension to the woodland. Photography within the house is not permitted, a good enough reason to come and experience the house first hand we think.

      Delete
  2. Wonderful! I didn't know that this was the home for all these amazing movies. I love the abstract art sculptures...the horse buggy is my favorite. Interesting blur in a sharp landscape.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The blurred carriage is also one of my favourites, very clever against the woodland backdrop.

      Delete
  3. Hi Paul,
    I too am ashamed to have never visited Hatfield House. It looks exquisite and the height of "good taste". The maze is my favourite :-)
    Thanks for sharing another wonderful visit.
    Di
    X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is another much larger maze on the east side of the house Di, if you are up for the challenge.

      Delete
  4. Thanks for the tour. Just lovely. I've never been but so want to. Another thing to add to my list of places to see. Thanks for sharing.

    Holly

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure you'll have a fabulous time when you visit Holly.

      Delete
  5. The gardens are amazing...love the labrynith...statuary too! You have the most fun adventures!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The statury is exquisite, there are some very dramatic classical pieces facing the old Tudor Palace.

      Delete
  6. What a great tour, and I hope you'll return soon. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can count on it Gary, we have to return very soon.

      Delete
  7. Hey Paul - Another house and garden for us to visit next trip. I'm especially interested in seeing the knot garden. Let's see....think I've seen all the movies you listed except Vanity Fair. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory being my favorite ;-)
    L

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loi you will love the house and gardens. The exquisite furniture is something that I think would really interest you.

      Delete
  8. What an odd group you have strung together in that last sentence: Elizabeth I, Johnny Depp and Batman! I would imagine that many people would not like these contemporary artworks in such a traditional setting. I particularly really like the artwork with the string and the human figures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I do love an 'odd group' Jennifer, imagine the dinner party with those three, wow!
      I also really like Veilhan's human forms stripped of finer detail especially the reflective figure who dissolves into the woodland.

      Delete
  9. Hello Paul

    Oh such grandour and no doubt you had a wonderful day and I am happy you left us gasping for more and another post on the interior.

    The Veilhan sculptures fit beautifully in the garden. I will put Hatfield House on my list too.

    Thanks again for a splendid post

    Helen xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I knew your artistic eye would enjoy Veilhan Helen.

      Delete
  10. Did someone say Johnny Depp??? Ok, so I bagsy that bench, the one under the window and that pretty brick wall, in the photo next to the box labyrinth. Yes, definitely another bench with my name on it. But I am not selfish. Should Mr Depp insist on resting his sleepy, hollow feet there, well, who am I to argue?

    Oh, straying, yet again, from the subject. The subject this time a very grand affair, it seems! The house looks almost intimidatingly grand, but I am curious about the garden, with what looks to be formal shapes in splendid abundance, but also with a more untamed area where the art is displayed.

    Thank you for yet another enjoyable "Day Out With Paul & Co" - hats off to the splendid tour guide!

    Helena

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The great thing about what we did see of the interior was that it isn't quite as intimidating as you'd think, there is quite a homely feel to the house which you view at your own pace. You do have to pinch yourself when visiting such a place to think that you really are walking the same halls that Elizabeth walked before.

      Delete
  11. Isn't it interesting the difference between the two sculptures of Elizabeth I, the second being almost Buddha like.

    So pleased you shared this day out, on such a rainy day here in Nova Scotia. Many thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Paul, I have read about Hatfield in relation to Elizabeth I but did not realize it was close to London. Another one on the list for my next visit!

    All best,
    Phyllis

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Phyllis, it would suit you perfectly for one of your grand days out when you visit the UK. There is so much to fill a day with at Hatfield, we will certainly be returning very soon.

      Delete
  13. Paul,

    Thank you for sharing yet another beautiful house and garden for me to add to my must do list! Lovely gardens, I love the sculptures and the labrynith.

    Have a great week! Hope you are enjoying a few of the Olympic sights and matches.

    Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We found Hatfield to be a fascinating place, with such a rich history, you'll have a lovely time when you visit Elizabeth........Elizabeth! (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)

      Delete
  14. Elizabeth and her entourage reason enough to visit...spectacular

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spectacular indeed, Elizabeth and her entourage would have been a sight to see sweeping into town!

      Delete
  15. Wow! Amazing...what a fun adventure you are on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh we do like a little weekend adventure or two:)

      Delete
  16. Hi Paul, I know Hatfield House very well, but I wasn't aware of this sculpture exhibition! It looks absolutely incredible - I'd love to see it 'in the flesh' and am putting it on my 'to do' list for days out this Summer. Thanks again for another inspiring suggestion - keep them coming - I'm loving these ideas and I have at least another four weeks of school holidays to fill - lol!
    Best wishes,
    Paula xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd say it was a perfect jaunt for the school holidays Paula plus the parkland is a great place for one of your splendid picnics!

      Delete
  17. Hello again Paul, it is indeed an awesome tour. I might not be able to reach that place in this lifetime so at least I learned about that. It might also have a bearing with our famous book on Plant Physiology, a very good reference, written by Salisbury and Ross. I am sure this Salisbury is a relative of Lady Salisbury who maintained that wonderful garden. I love most the maze, if only i have big funds i will be planting a maze too for walking meditation! thanks...Andrea

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure you do not need large funds for your own mediation maze, you could plant a simple maze with some of the gorgeous flora Batangas has to offer. In fact I am sure if your plants were hardy in our climate Tradescant would have used them in his gardens.

      Delete
  18. How lovely to see Hatfield House. In another lifetime I lived in Hertfordshire where it was one of my local stately homes to take visitors. You must return for the interior of the house and see the wonderful paintings of Queen Elizabeth I. Your photos as per usual are exquisite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Rosemary, we will be making a return visit to take in more of the house. We did see one portrait of Elizabeth in the marble hall which I took great interest in. I was taken by the beautiful pearl and jewel studded ruff and the eyes and ears embroidered on that magnificent rust coloured gown.

      Delete
  19. The frieze is so beautiful, the maze too. Only in England where we have some of the best gardens by far, and the beautiful historic homes they surround. Guess these 'moviemakers' aren't stupid - they know what we want to see, especially in the period productions. Are you excited about Series III of Downton Abbey Paul?

    Thanks for the Hatfield House tour - the blend of old and new art is thought provoking. I prefer the old but this modern sculpture is fun too.

    Have a fun week - Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aren't the friezes are wonderful Mary. The original Royal Exchange building was opened by Elizabeth in 1571 which subsequently burned down in the Great Fire of 1666. Rebuilt, it then suffered another fire in 1844 which is when the friezes were rescued and brought to Hatfield.

      Delete
  20. I love these sculpture gardens and seeing how art interacts with nature. I recently visited one in the Northeast (usa) in a little town called in Lincoln and was going to blog about it soon. These photos are fabulous

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I too am a huge fan of sculpture sat against a natural backdrop. We have quite a few amazing sculpture gardens in the south-east of England that I enjoy visiting. I look forward to your Lincoln post Albertina.

      Delete
  21. Dear Paul,
    what a beautiful sight! And yes - it seemed faintly familiar - now you solved that riddle: Vanity Fair.
    I take out my pink notebook again - scribble, scribble, Paul's tips were all good - so I hope that at the beginning of September the exhibition will still to be seen. If not: the garden alone - and that house - is worth a visit. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Britta I am sure you will have a fabulous trip to Hatfield in September. Wednesday are a good day to also catch the private gardens with their magnificent topiaries.

      Delete
    2. Thank you! I love topiaries (and knot-gardens - had the honour to speak with late Rosemary Verey once - she had a knot-garden too, germander and box etc - and I thought it a great idea for a parterre when one is older - filled with gravel, keeps in check the weeds).

      Delete
  22. Hi Paul, it is always a pleasure to learn about these Beautiful and grand country estates owned bt the Aristocrats. I dream of visiting them one day especially Chatsworth and the palace of the Duke of Marlborough. One of my favourite movies is "Pride and Prejudice" with Keira Knightly. My favourite scene was when she was so devastated to have learned that "Chatsworth" ( the house featured in the movie) was owned by Mr Darcy! Oh, it is also a coincidence, that last weekend my friend and I saw a sculpture by Henry Moore titled "Warrior and Shield." my friend insisted that Henry Moore is Canadian. I told her "No he is British born in England. " I hope you will prove me right? I will feature it in my blog post this Saturday. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I love soft shell crabs too!

    ReplyDelete
  23. It's so wonderful that you have so many beautiful estates to visit and that they're all so well preserved and loved. After seeing Downton Abbey, I look at the homes now and wonder how any of the families managed to keep them running...financially speaking. The gardens are gorgeous.
    Babs

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hatfield is a wonderful mansion with such outstanding gardens and it has been far too long since my last visit. Thanks to your lovely tour it is top of my list for the coming week. Dx

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks for the info about the sculpture exhibition - I hadn't heard about it in the national media.

    ReplyDelete
  26. The first photo it seems I have seen it in the movie. These estate is huge and vast so elegant and beautiful!!

    Thanks for joining Water World Wednesday I do appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Beautiful photographs Paul, you have the most wonderful journeys.x

    ReplyDelete
  28. wow that place is soooo beautiful!!! love all your shots!


    http://ourtravelsthrumylens.com/longwood-gardens-fountain-show/

    ReplyDelete
  29. so incredible images you have here and I am totally fascinated by Queen Elizabeth ... so now I have to google about the Royal Exchange story. Hatfield House ... you are on my must visit list!

    ReplyDelete
  30. 'Grand' hardly begins to do this place justice. Love the gardens, and Veilhan's abstract forms. Appreciate the tour, Paul - can't wait to see the interior.

    ReplyDelete
  31. lovely, and this garden - imposant!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I have only taken a few sips of coffee this morning so my brain is not in gear but my eyes are open enough to register WOW.

    Thank you for organizing such a beautiful and informative post.

    xo Jane

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi Paul, thank you for sharing this fascinating place that I was not aware of. Those friezes are beautiful and the gardens stunning. I would have LOVED to see Henry Moore sculpture in that setting. He is one of my favorites!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Totally fab Paul.....have visited many English gardens and mansions but not this one...isn't it gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  35. How lovely! I could spend hours there.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Getting caught up. Wonderful art sculptures. It would be an interesting place to visit.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Beautiful, every photo! Thanks for sharing! ~Liz

    ReplyDelete