(Pre-lockdown visit m’kay)
This will probably come as a surprise to absolutely no-one, but my favourite part of any big, old house is the library. Frankly, a grand house without a library is just a waste of time.
Stourhead in Wiltshire contains one of my favourite grand house libraries. It’s a gorgeously light and airy room, with floor to ceiling bookshelves and carefully positioned desks. Admittedly, if it was me I’d add a few more squishy armchairs to sink into but apart from that, it’s damn near perfect.
The most striking features are the carpet and the beautiful lumnette stained glass window at the far end.
Not only that, there’s extra literary interest in the form of a hardback copy of ” Far from the Madding Crowd” annotated by Alda, Lady Hoare. She formed a friendship with the author Thomas Hardy, his first wife Emma, and second wife Florence.
Information panels can be found around the whole house, each one including a small artwork inspired by the history of the house. In the library, it’s an intricate black and white work made out of paper.
There is of course more to the house than just the library and the gardens in particular are perfect to roam around. There are even holiday cottages in the grounds you can rent out.
What do you think of this library? Do you have a favourite one you’ve visited? Let me know in the comics.