Saturday, May 10, 2014

Scotland: Abbotsford

Abbotsford, home of Sir Walter Scott, was an inspiring place to visit. Scott is credited with inventing "romantic Scotland" -- bringing back the plaid, romanticizing the highlands, and rediscovering the hidden Crown Jewels of Scotland. 

To sum this man up in my own words I would say he was a man who saw the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Here is our first glimpse of the house he built for himself -- Abbotsford. Like his writing, his house is a romanticized combination of castle and house. Just living here would have to inspire any writer's imagination.

I loved the walled garden. There was so much to see in a relatively small space.

All with the stunning backdrop of the house.

Here is just the place to sit in the rain and enjoy an afternoon cup of tea:

Scott's interest in the ordinary began as a young child -- he listened attentively to everyone and anyone, storing bits and pieces of stories away in his heart for the future.

Not only was Scott interested in the stories of people, he was interested in objects as well and the stories that went along with them. He became an avid collector of antiques and relics of famous people.

It was the everyday, hardworking individual who became the hero of his tales.

The garden path slopes down towards an entrance to the grounds of the house:

In 1822 King George IV visited Scotland -- the first reigning monarch to visit Scotland since 1650!! Can you imagine?!

Scott was in charge of the festivities. He decided to reinvent the unpopular king as a Jacobite Hero swathed in an enormous kilt outfit. There were many festivities planned including several balls where kilts were required for the men. Plaid flew back into popularity and the propaganda certainly didn't hurt King George.

Here is the "kitchen garden" side of the walled garden:

I am always fascinated by espalied fruit trees -- trained against a flat wall.

Too much beauty in this garden!

And here is a view of the house after coming out of the garden:

This is a later addition to the more original part of the building:

Here is the entryway, very woody and very dark with lots and lots of antique souvenirs collected by Scott.

More of the decorations:

Coat of arms:

This fireguard supposedly belonged to Archbishop Sharp who figured in the Covenanter Struggles of the 17th century.

Leaving the entrance hall you pass through a small cupboard with water buckets hanging on the wall. Very important because the next room is Scott's personal study and then library and should there be a fire, one would need water as soon as possible!

The study was an amazing room, surrounded on all sides by two stories of books. Much of the house was very dark inside, by design. It certainly made for a very cozy place to write.

 Just off the study was a little round space called a "speak easy". Scott could retreat here if he needed to discuss something in private with someone, or if he wanted to suddenly hide from an approaching caller.

Scott had so very many beautiful, antique books in his collection!

Stepping around the corner from the study was an enormous library with two large alcoves looking out on the Tweed River which was a beloved sight to Scott.

Ever the one for secrets and charades, Scott designed the ceilings to be plaster, cleverly painted to look like wood.

The Drawing Room is next -- covered with this exquisite wallpaper!

We all had audio guides and Laura loved hers!

I just loved the coloring of this wallpaper.

After the Armoury (below) there was the Dining Room, which was done over after Scott's death. It used to have a wood-painted plaster ceiling, dark red wallpaper and dark wainscoting. It was in this room, by the window, that Scott spent his final days and then eventually died here.

Must have a picture of the tea service!

 The Armoury contains more artifacts that Scott collected.

More of ancient Scotland preserved.....

The upstairs is no longer open to the public for safety reasons. I was surprised at how few rooms there actually were in Scott's house, but I suppose it was room enough! There would have been kitchens and storerooms elsewhere that also are not open for the public.

A few more glimpses of rose beauty on the way back to the visitor's centre.

One last glimpse behind us and who should we see but the very impersonation of Beatrix Potter's Jeremy Fisher making his way into the garden entrance.

And thus ended our visit of Abbotsford. Scott's love for everyday people and ordinary stories continues to haunt my mind.


Patsy said...

Thank, I enjoyed very much.

Karen Reyburn said...

Love how you are keeping up the Scotland posts!! :D

Anonymous said...

That is fascinating! I have heard about Abbotsford in the news here, but have never seen photos. I must try to go! The garden alone is very enticing.

elizabeth said...

wow, that is so incredibly beautiful. the picture with the huge window, books and your kids is so very lovely; it's the image I have of a house that would be the dream house I suspect, but it's a lot more than that; it's an image of heaven; of a world that was but is not now but that we long for; it reminds me of Elizabeth Goudge and of all things that are deep and good... thank you so very much for sharing.