Saturday, June 13, 2015

England: Penshurst Place

My Dear Friends,

In my last post I told showed you some final sketches from London. Today I want to catch you up on what we have been doing since then. We have done a lot since London so my thought is to do three mini posts to catch you up. I'll share my sketches from each location and a brief bit about the time in that spot.

1. Penshurst Place: This is a country estate which dates back to to 1341. It was built from sandstone quarried nearby. In the time of the Tudors Henry the VIII was a guest there to Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham. Later the Sidney family took over the property. They were influential in the British court and politics. Sir Phillip Sidney was a true Renaissance man who had talents in the political and artistic realms. He wrote some of the poetry that we read for my 17th Century Literature class. Here is a snippet of his first sonnet of Astrophil and Stella, two lovers:

Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show

That she (dear She) might take some pleasure of my pain:
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know, 
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain;

We also read about Penshurst Place when we read a long ode to it written by Ben Jonson. In the poem Jonson enumerates the virus and beauties of the place. He waxes on about how the game on the grounds are so in love with their masters and the place that they willingly leap onto the weapons and give their lives to be eaten by them. He also talks about how the fruits and vegetables are so excited to be picked that they basically jump off the trees and into the baskets of the waiting people. Here is a snippet:

To crown thy open table, doth provide
The purpled pheasant with the speckled side;
The painted partridge lies in every field,
And for thy mess is willing to be killed.

To be honest, by the end of our luxurious few hours at Penshurst Place I was ready to write my own ode to it. We were given a tour of the gardens. They are divided into several "rooms" or separate gardens. One of the gardens was modelled after a jousting arena complete with staffs representing important coats of arms including the Sidney's blue and yellow hedgehog. 
Another garden was the former washroom and work yard. According to Carline Smith, our lovely turgid, the family would have was he their clothes in urine to bleach them and then dried them on bushes. You can imagine that it was precisely this detail which caught our fancy and which we discussed at length several times after. This garden was all plants of silver and green. 
Another garden was thousands of peonies in a row. Two other girls and I decided that we needed to prance along beside them in Julie Andrews Hills Are Alive style. It was glorious. 
I finally settled myself by the gardener's old cottage to sketch. I chose the spot because it had a small bench which hid from view of the other visitors and I could look out onto a small pond. My sketches are not brilliant, but I give you what I have:

1. This was a pen drawing of the house itself. I have been practicing my perspective and as you can see from this I have been struggling with that lately. I used pen on this one and would have gone into greater detail, but was interrupted by the tour of the gardens. 

2. This is my sketch of the head gardener's pond. It too it not up to scratch. I feel like this one needs a lot of work. Some areas are darker than others and it hurts the illusion of distance. It's rather patchy.

As usual, thanks for reading! I appreciate your tagging along on my travels with me. 

Lucy Rose 

1 comment:

  1. The sketches are really cool! Good job, Lucy Rose. Continue having a great time