Monday, July 13, 2015

Enough is as good as a feast

click photo to enlarge
The purpose of our recent visit to Belton House, a National Trust property near Grantham in Lincolnshire, was to see the interior. On our first visit in January only the grounds were open to visitors.

As we wandered from room to room, taking in painting after painting, tapestries, elaborate furniture, ornate plasterwork, collections of objets d'art, hand-painted wallpaper, row upon row of books and the rest, I quickly felt sated and the title of today's blog post came to mind. The fact is, there was simply a superfluity of everything, and everything dripped opulence. I found myself wondering how many thousands of people had spent their lives in penury, scraping a living, hungry, dying before their time, so that the cosseted residents of this stately pile could agonise over whether to buy a Meissen figurine or one from Limoges, whether it was to be a Gobelins tapestry or one from a less prestigious source, or if walnut burr might look better than figured mahogany on the new console table.

I took a few interior photographs but was happier when we were outside once more. The gardens didn't induce the same state of mind and I took a couple of photographs of a statue that looked like Ceres, but without the stalks of wheat in her container. She was standing in some gravel surrounded by lavender in the Dutch Garden at the north side of the house. As it happens, today's title could also apply to the two photographs that I'm showing. I prefer the simpler shot over the wider angle view, even though it is a product of the foreshortening of my lens and not an image that occurs to the naked eye. On reflection, my feelings about this house may have been partly  influenced by the fact that in recent weeks we had visited two other National Trust properties that were on a smaller, more human scale. We are shortly going to see, for the second time, Southwell Workhouse. That should be a contrast!

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 150mm (300mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec
Exposure Compensation: -1.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On