Sunday, May 13, 2007

Harlaxton vs. Belvoir

The manor where Brian and I are staying, and that the University of Evansville owns, is called Harlaxton Manor. Across rolling green fields and a bunch of rain is another castle, Belvoir Castle. Pronounced "Beaver" by the British. Probably just to make the French mad. We toured both today and our heads are full of history and our feet are throbbing.

Apparently, Harlaxton and Belvoir were rivals when being built, and Harlaxton ended up with one more room, so they win. Whoopee. However, a Duke and Duchess and their 5 kids (three of which we saw today! Royalty, I tell you!) still live in the Belvoir Castle. So the furniture and carpets and restoration are amazing. Harlaxton, on the other side of the rainy, sprawling lawns, has classes in its great ballrooms so all the furniture is moved around and is not original.

Here is the view out of the front of the Harlaxton Manor:

And a close up of the second front gate:

Here is a view of the ceiling in the stairwell of the cedar staircase. The staircases would be easier to understand if they were the moving ones in Hogwarts.

Cherubs on the ceiling in a classroom. I repeat, this is the ceiling of a CLASSROOM.

This is looking out the back of the manor, next to the conservatorium (green house). I plan to take more of these pictures once it stops raining.

And now for the Beavers. I mean, Belvoir.
Part of the crest for the Duke's family has a peacock on it, a symbol of royalty. So there are peahens and peacocks hidden in the ornate ceilings and rugs and furniture throughout the Belvoir. Here are the peahens on the flat runs of the walls and peacocks in the corners. In gold.

Here's a better view of the "Withdrawing Room" where the women would go after dinner while the men had their cigars, brandy and talked politics. The women would play cards and listen to music and wait on the men to come get them when they were ready for the gambling to begin.

Here is a crib that someone made for the Duke and Duchess of the day when they finally had a son, an heir. I can't remember the name of the people, unfortunately, my brain is too full. I'll look it up. I do remember that the parents did not actually use the cradle because it rocked too easily and the child would have fallen out. Nice gesture though.

More pictures of castles and stones to come, I feel sure. That's all for tonight though.


neda said...

I love reading about your British adventures! I'm so glad I don't have to go through blog withdrawal while you're away. Have safe travels and can't WAIT to see you soon.

Barbara said...

Have I mentioned that I am green with envy? I have so gotta write a proposal for Thomas so we can go for a semester with the kids. Let me know if you think of any good music nerd classes he can teach. I was thinking a class on "British Popular Music."

we miss you already.

Andrew said...

It was the rnce Regent (later King George IV) who gave them the cradle. He was a close friend of the duchess's. Go work it out ...