I drove Betty down to Wilton where she was taking a party through Wilton House, the family seat of the Earl of Pembroke. She has worked as a tour guide at Wilton for many years.
The tour lasted about an hour and the old house has a veritable treasure trove of paintings, antiques and memorabilia from its 400 year history. The most striking parts of the house are the Cube Room and the Double Cube Room. The Cube Room is exactly 30 feet wide and high, ornately decorated and with a large painting of Icarus on the ceiling. The Double Cube Room is 60 feet long and 30 feet high, also elaborately decorated with swags of fruit, flowers and foliage gilded in different shades of gold.
The room remains the same today as when it was completed in 1653 and the walls are covered by large paintings of the Herbert family by van Dyck including a small portrait of the ill-fated King Charles I.1
When the tour was finished we went for a walk in the gardens then I had a quick look at the elaborate model railway in one of the buildings. On the way back to Corton we stopped to take Betty’s dog, Brum, for a walk and carried on back to Corton. In the evening I went up to the Dove for a beer.
1 Avid readers of this blog will remember that my ancestor, John Blakiston, was one of the signatories of the Death Warrant of King Charles.