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Serpents, seraphim and Stendhal syndrome…

July 18, 2011

Following on from my last post, more random thoughts on our visit to Chatsworth (and- if you can bear it- later in the week I’ll post about some of their paintings).

Chatsworth is… a curious place. It’s appropriately grand and magnificent, and everything you can imagine in excess. It is definitely not a minimalist’s delight. There’s barely a bare space anywhere- their stance on interior decoration seems to have been along the lines of:

“Eek! we missed a spot. Just there, look, I do believe you can see the wall!”

“Not to worry- we’ll just pop some more painted seraphim or a carved dead wooden pheasant on it…”

Which all makes for a lot of very beautiful objets and whatnots, but packed so close together you come out groggy with Stendhal syndrome (not to be confused with Stockholm syndrome).

I do love a painted ceiling, though- and Chatsworth has them in neck-crick inducing abundance. I rather like the fact that, in this one below, Chatsworth’s former housekeeper, who apparently didn’t get on with the painter, is depicted as one of the curmudgeonly Fates, Atropos, cutting the threads of life….

Next up: gratuitous flower shots. In the gardens, the most perfect peony (one of my favourite flowers):

And lupins. You’ve got to love lupins. (Are they lupins? I think they’re lupins. But please correct me in the comments if I’m wrong.)

What else? Well, there’s an awful lot of serpents (which makes me suspect allegiance to Slytherin).

There’s even a very disturbing baby carriage, which I hope you can see from the dreadful photo (flash photography not being allowed, I’m afraid most of my pics are slightly blurry), is a shell covered in writhing serpents.

Imagine being wheeled round in that as a baby- surely the stuff nightmares and life-long phobias are made of…?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 19, 2011 11:38 am

    My goodness, I just adore your posts – so witty and informative! I’d never heard of Stendhal syndrome before, but I’m delighted by the idea, and that baby carriage is wonderful, so incredibly Addams Familyish. Divine!

  2. lindyhopper permalink
    July 19, 2011 2:57 pm

    Yes, they’re definitely lupins!
    One wonders what it must have been like to live with so much art everyday – did they become oblivious to it after while and just think of it as wallpaper!

  3. Rebecca permalink
    July 19, 2011 11:36 pm

    Are they lupins in England (vs. “lupines” in Maine), or has JK Rowling infected all of us?

    Amazing to see all that stuff!

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