Décor Inspiration | Places: Magic & Romance at Somerleyton Hall in Suffolk, England
Tuesday 14th March, 2017
by Louise Keane
If you think of the English countryside, two artists come to mind who, between them, painted some of the most famous English landscape scenes ever put on canvas. It is probably no coincidence that both of them—Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable—came from the same county of Suffolk in the east of England and both were entranced by its rural beauty.
In this low-lying Suffolk countryside so beloved by painters—thickly wooded and dotted with pretty towns—is the stunning Somerleyton Hall, a tudor manor house that was extensively remodelled in the Victorian era. It is full of exquisite period details, from the stone and red-brick facade to lace-like plaster ceiling mouldings and rich wood panelling. The current owners have retained the charm of its opulently decorated interior with generously draped four-poster beds, tapestry wall hangings and hand-painted wallpaper.
The gardens and garden rooms are no less impressive. The house is set in a 5000-acre estate and the formal gardens that surround it boast a walled garden with beautiful, ornate iron and glass greenhouses, designed by Joseph Paxton, the architect of Crystal Palace; a 70-foot long pergola, draped with wisteria, roses, clematis and vines; and one of the finest yew hedge mazes in Britain, planted in 1846.
Were Gainsborough or Constable to happen upon it today with their oil paints in hand, I wonder which of the following beguiling scenes would they choose to capture? . . . —Louise