Saturday, October 29, 2011

Burghley House

A pleasant little country house built by William Cecil, Lord Burghley, who just happened to be one of Elizabeth I's right hand men and the Lord High Treasurer at a time when that meant a fair bit of money could find a way to your pocket, or by way of your pocket to your country house.

And this one is stunning. You're not allowed to take pictures inside, but you can believe me when I say it's beautiful and amazing and stately.

The outside is just as cool.

First, there are a bunch of fallow deer about. I gather that the estate keeps the herd, and harvests from it, but I'm not sure. At any rate, it's the rutting season, which means the stags all have antlers, and every once in a while you can see a little conflict happening.

You'll have to click to make this big enough to see the two bucks facing off in the back, behind the doe looking bored. But after a few interactions, one of the bucks turned tail and ran, and was chased quite a ways by the other. And then after a few more minutes, there was more conflict. As you can imagine, this is all quite tiring, so the bucks wander off from the does and have a bit of a lie down.

Happily for me, they don't much seem to care of there are people nearby while they relax a bit, and indeed, this one settled down right near a drive.

The deer are very cool, but the gardens are even cooler. There's a sculpture garden which displays a bunch of art that, I'm told, changes every so often. You walk through the garden, and you come upon something you can't quite make out at first. There's just something that catches your eye, and makes you look, trying to see the form.

These faces are HUGE, way bigger than a person, and somehow very peaceful and quiet in the garden, which feels very relaxed, and not formal. I think there are two faces in the garden, but I may have missed stuff, too.

This one you couldn't really get close to because there was a sort of gully thing. But the rust look (I can't say for sure that it's rust, but it looks like rust color) just blends in beautifully with the plants.

There are lots of other sculptures, too, but these are the ones I'd love to have near my house where I could visit them regularly.

Wandering around, we saw this building and mound area, and read the sign inside that said it was an ice house. They could cut ice from the small lake nearby and store it in the underground area and have it last up to two years, which is pretty darned cool.

And inside is another art installation, I think. (I really don't think any Elizabethan's could have put this up, so I'm going with modern!) It's this weird blue electic thing which works really nicely in the space, though I have no idea how they got it in there.

And using the light from the blue, you can see down to the bottom of the ice house, where the pre-refrigerator folks would have stored their ice. It's brilliant, actually, because they (ice houses) are built into a mound and with a north facing door, so they don't get any warmer from the sun than absolutely necessary, and supposedly they keep quite cool with ice in there. (There's a wire fence thing to keep people like me from trying to get any closer, which is just as well, but looks a little weird in my picture, alas.)

And then you step out a bit, and you can see the form, and it's magnificent.


  1. Another beautiful post from you! Everything is so, well, mundane back here that it's great to be taken out of them through your posts and pictures.