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Monday, 08 January 2007
Red deer


A deer in the 1000 acre park at Knole, in Sevenoaks, Kent.  I wrote last week (see comment) about a succession of black men named “John Morockoe” working at this estate. The Wikipedia article linked to above has some further information about the estate:

The house was built by Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury, between 1456 and 1486. On Bourchier’s death, the house was bequeathed to the See of Canterbury — Sir Thomas More appeared in revels there at the court of John Morton — but in 1538 it was taken from Archbishop Thomas Cranmer — and enlarged — by King Henry VIII. It is reputed to be a ‘calendar house’, having 365 rooms, 52 staircases and 7 courtyards.

In 1566, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, it was presented to her cousin Thomas Sackville whose descendants the earls of Dorset have lived there ever since. Most notably, these include writer Vita Sackville-West (her Knole and the Sackvilles (1922) is regarded as a classic in the literature of English country houses); her friend Virginia Woolf wrote Orlando based on the history of the house and the Sackville family.

The many state rooms open to the public contain a superb collection of 17th century royal Stuart furniture, hand me downs from the earls’ service in high office in the royal court, including three state beds, silver furniture and the prototype of the famous Knole Settee, outstanding tapestries and textiles, portraits by Van Dyck, Gainsborough, Sir Peter Lely, Sir Godfrey Kneller and Joshua Reynolds (the last being a personal friend of the 3rd Earl), and a copy of the Raphael Cartoons. The eye is especially drawn to some of Reynolds’ portraits in the house: a self portrait and the depictions of Samuel Johnson, Oliver Goldsmith and a Chinese page boy who was taken into the Sackville household have particular character and force.


Posted by bigblue on 08/01/2007 at 07:59 PM
Filed under: EuropeUnited KingdomEngland • (0) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share

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