Friday, 17 May 2013

Mr Kipling's Rather Good Samplers at Bateman's & More

Spring has sprung and as it was later this year, it seems that everything has burst out together in a wild frothy compression. Yesterday while biking along the tops of the South Downs (actually I was more blown along than bowling along) I saw oxlips and rare wild orchids. It was lovely to be out and about again after a bit of misery with a chopped off finger tip. One of my recent convalescent outings was to Bateman's in Burwash, once home to Rudyard Kipling of Jungle Book fame.

The house is owned by the National Trust, and we were allowed some grab shots inside the house. I was told that photography is permissible without flash. Evidently each house has a ration of light which must not be exceeded, and that is why no flash is allowed. This restriction is to avoid as much as possible deterioration caused by light. Bateman's has 4 map samplers including one of Europe, and 2 other samplers.

What is really astonishing is a whole wall covered in Cordoba leather which has been gilded and painted to look like the most gorgeous palimpore. This wonderful piece is from the early 18th century and gives you an idea of how much inspiration for embroidery surrounded the well-to-do girls of the house - and of course how much embroidered and printed textiles from the Far East influenced general house decoration. The Kiplings commissioned the Royal School of Needlework to furnish embroidered cushions and hangings for a four poster bed to match their 17th century collection of furniture.

Bateman's is a beautiful place to go sampler spotting. It has its own mill that produces flour for sale (down by the race amongst the wild garlic and sweet perfumed balsalm poplars), an excellent tea room and gift shop, and wonderful paths to explore through the rolling Sussex hills

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