I fell in love in England. With Ham House that is. Evocatively described as "a sleeping beauty" ~ a Jacobean sweetheart, awakened from her slumber by the National Trust in 1948. Little has changed since it was buit in 1610, as it was passed down through a single family who had neither the finances or the inclination to make dramatic modifications. In fact, the guides constantly lament the various late 17th-century redecorations (making this American chuckle just a little). A friend of mine told me emphatically that as a lover of textiles and needlework, I had to see it. Indeed, it has one of the finest textile collections of the period. In vain I have searched online for images or information about the textiles, but there seems to be none, nor is there anything much in the guide book. So, take my word for it ~ divine! Favorites include the tapestry bench covers for the Long Gallery, and an extraordinary uncut, embroidered chair cover (just as vibrant as the day it was stitched). I was also infatuated with the Green Closet, a tiny cabinet room full of the most marvelous collection of miniature paintings.
And then there are the gardens ~ the walled orangery (below), and the formal cherry garden. Oh, to see them in full bloom!
P.S. the England set on flickr (with more to come).