Monday, 17 October 2016

Books are Always in Fashion at Killerton House

killerton House, Devon
Killerton House
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may remember a previous visit to Killerton House here. That first visit was rather fleeting, but this time we enjoyed a more leisurely look around. Killerton is an 18th-century house and estate in Broadclyst, Devon, owned by the National Trust since 1944.

School children dressed in Victorian clothing on the lawn at Killerton

The house feels very much like a family home, and we were delighted to discover that removing books from library shelves is actively encouraged! We were kindly invited to sit a while, read and enjoy the ambience. I have to say we were more than a little surprised because in most National Trust properties, touching anything is strictly forbidden. It was a privilege to handle the books but some; especially those in the children’s section are suffering at the hands of less than careful visitors.  

Killerton House, Devon, Library
A corner of the library
Enid Blyton The Caravan Family The library at Killerton house
Enid Blyton, Noddy and Beatrix Potter
Trudi and Hansel in the library at Killerton House
Trudi and Hansel A story of the Austrian Tyrol

Books and family photographs at Killerton House
More books and family photographs

The Doyle Diary - the last great Conan Doyle Mystery
The Doyle Diary - the last great Conan Doyle Mystery 

Library at Killerton Vintage Children's books
A small selection from the many children's books in the library 

After spending a considerable amount of time drooling over and photographing books, we moved on to the 'fashion to dye' for exhibition.


Specially selected pieces from Killerton's collection brings to life how colour can reveal much about the wearer and also looks into the origins, status and function of colour in fashion. These are some of my personal favourites;
Afternoon dress from the early 1860s - Chine Silk with woven satin stripe

fashion to dye for Killerton House
1840s Evening dress - Silk brocade with woven satin stripe and floral sprigs 

1920s evening dress - Silk Crepe de Chine, beaded with crystals and diamante

Two highlights from a large display of hats, shoes and accessories

The exhibition includes over 100 pieces of work by Diploma Art and Design Foundation students, from Exeter College. Students were asked to design an outfit inspired by the colours at Killerton. Their brief included using paper patterns rather than fabric. The patterns were strengthened by using iron on Vilene. As many of you know I have a fondness for paper patterns (see a previous post here) so I found this part of the exhibition fascinating. 






Fashion to Dye for is on until Sunday 30th October. If you get a chance to visit you won’t be disappointed.   You will find full details of the exhibition here and this is a link to Killerton House

We ended our visit with a stroll through the gardens.  I took lots of photographs but in the interest of keeping this post as brief as possible, I will share just one. I was trying out the macro lens on my camera. I didn't see the greenfly (on the bud stem) until I got home, same with the tiny insect on the flower. I saw the larger one but had no idea the tiny one was there. I guess the lens works!


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38 comments:

  1. I am getting that giddy sensation, those chills that come over my skin when I go into a great library or bookstore. The history, the pages, I can literally feel them in between my fingers. WHAT A PLACE to spend an entire day in another world, in OTHER WORLDS!!!!!!

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    1. Hello Anita, I was pretty giddy too! Sitting in that wonderful room, book in hand was simply magical. I'm so pleased you felt a little of the magic.

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  2. Hi, Barbara, did you really have time to do and see all that? I am so pleased as my walk seemed to go so fast I was worried you would not have time within the house. An interesting report and great pictures. John

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    1. Hi John, the books and fashion were the things we really wanted to see and we had plenty of time for that. We did the gardens last time we were there so it was fine. Such a shame you couldn't come in with Flo but it sounded as if you enjoyed the walk. It was a very special day, thanks for sharing it with us.

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    2. Thank you also, it was special indeed.

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  3. Hi Barbara, I love your last photo, it is beautiful! And I so enjoyed this tour and all the vintage items! Thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. Thank you Linda, I am quite proud of it! I’m married to a photographer so my pictures always look a little inadequate … but I’m trying to get better. :-)

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  4. Between ogling books and ogling fashions I'd be in a strange kind of heaven. Those dresses, made before sewing machines have always amazed me as ever stitch was sewn by hand!

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    1. Hi Bish, it was just my kind of place and I’m sure you would enjoy it just as much. The majority of the fashions were behind glass so I couldn’t get close enough to see the stitching but I would imagine it was beautifully done.

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  5. It looks and sounds like you had a delightful second visit. It truly looks like a cozy place to pick up a book and start reading. I am surprised they let visitors handle the books, but they is a nice treat for sure! I can imagine some people don't handle the books carefully, which is too bad. The dresses are also interesting to look at. I am always intrigued by former fashions (textures, colors, style, etc.).

    Your picture with your new lens is amazing. Wow! I can't get over the detail.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hello Stephanie, it really was a delightful day and I’m so glad we went. I was surprised about the books too; in fact I had to check (twice) before I dared touch anything. As for sitting on the chairs it is unheard off, the National Trust are usually very fussy about that.

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  6. Fantastic! Those red shoes-will I ever have too many pair of red shoes? (Not in this life time). "Specially selected pieces from Killerton's collection brings to life how colour can reveal much about the wearer and also looks into the origins, status and function of colour in fashion." This really gets me! Love the photos- I have an urge to re-read an Enid Blyton this week- dye some silk shirts pink -wear a pair of my red shoes - and photograph my roses. The last photo is spectacular, Barbara! The little greenfly is a miracle.So is the bee! They are very difficult to photograph. Brava! Thank you for such a treat!

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    1. It’s impossible to own too many pairs of red shoes Colleen! Why not dye a shirt, put on the shoes, read an Enid Blyton book, photograph the roses (and everything else) and then do a blog post about it. :-) I had no idea the greenfly was even there – so it was a double miracle.

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  7. I love that old library. Think of all the treasures you'd find on those shelves.

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    1. You are not wrong! Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

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  8. What a lovely place to spend time with books and history surrounding you. I loved those red shoes. I always feel so nostalgic seeing someone's shoes--obviously carefully chosen, obviously worn (I like to think of special occasions) and now left on display. Beautiful post.

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    1. Thanks so much Lee, I’m pleased you enjoyed the post. Whenever I see red shoes I think of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz!

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  9. Oh gosh, what a lovely way to spend a day. Those dresses are amazing. Thanks so much for sharing.

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    1. It was my absolute pleasure! Thank you for taking the time to read the post and leave a comment.

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  10. That looks like your type of place, just based on the books. But those dresses make it even more awesome!

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    1. Hi Stephanie awesome indeed – I loved it!

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  11. Being locked in somewhere after closing timing would normally be a nightmare, but I think it would be a dream to be locked into Killerton House!

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    1. Hi Sue, it would be enjoyable so long as the electricity remained on! It would be a scary place in the dark.

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  12. What a wonderful place to visit! That library is amazing, thanks for sharing some of its treasures. I can imagine wanting to spend hours studying all the photographs and book titles. The fashion is fascinating, too. And your flower picture is gorgeous. Great post!

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    1. Hello Marcia, I took in as much as I could but it would really take days and days to see everything. If I lived anywhere close I would be there everyday! I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post.

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  13. Hi Barbara,
    Hope you're having a pleasant, productive Tuesday.

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    1. Hi Sandra, I’m having an excellent Tuesday, thank you for asking. I hope the same can be said for you.

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  14. Looks like a wonderful place to visit and looks like you had a great time

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  15. I love all your pictures, Barbara - makes me feel like I was there with you!! There is a cute little bookstore in the town we just moved to. Now I am motivated to investigate!!

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    1. Thanks Teressa!! Lucky you I would love to investigate the new bookstore – I can never walk past them.

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  16. What a great place to visit. I am sure you were in heaven in that library!

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    1. Absolutely Darlene, now I want a library like that at home!

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  17. What a wonderful place to visit. Thanks for sharing the photos with us :)

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    1. My pleasure Nikki, thanks for coming over.

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  18. What a wonderful place. I'd love to have something like that around here.

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    1. Hello Donna,
      It is pretty amazing. We are lucky to have lots of places like this close to where we live. Maybe you will get to visit one day.

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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