Situated off of the grand hallway with its portraits and chandeliers, the library presents a majestic haven of repose and historicity, with an undeniably vibrant modern touch. An intricately carved rococo marble fireplace is the architectural centrepiece of the room. Upon this sits an ornate antique clock, along with both antique and contemporary pottery placed here and throughout the room, a juxtaposition that connects different generations of the house’s former inhabitants. This room has a more sombre, opulent colour scheme painted in deep shades of purple, grey, green and scarlett, creating an atmosphere of luxurious nobility.
The stand-out feature of the library, as expected, is its books: rare editions of its famous former visitor Jane Austen’s works fleck the hundreds of books lining the shelves. Most of the books are leather bound and are surprisingly unblemished for relics preserving a time gone by. Many of them were printed in the 1800s and feature collections such as the works of Shakespeare, most of which have family crests and names of previous inhabitants such as Fanny Bridges printed in their opening pages, on beautifully hand-crafted marbled paper. Elsewhere, the contemporary ‘The Royal Horticultural Society New Encyclopaedia of Plants and Flowers’ can be found alongside the 1800s ‘A History of British Birds’ by Henry Seebohm, titles that unite family members’ interests across the millenniums.
The eclectic vibrancy of the modern furnishings act as reminders of the contemporary world after the ethereal stupor of these vestiges of the past. Sofas and chaises longues scattered with brightly-coloured cushions surround the coffee table made from an old leather gym vaulting horse, an originality characteristic of this Palladian mansion’s renovation. The painting above the fireplace that contrasts starkly with the old feature below it is one by Paula MacArthur discovered at a collection from McCully & Crane Art in Rye. Original family paintings survive too, portraits of former owners such as Sir Brook Bridges, 4th Baronet lining the walls, mounted in extravagant gold frames.
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