… fascinating collections and beautiful gardens …
Snowshill Manor is rather like a over stuffed toy box. There are simply too many things, too many rooms, for anyone to take in on a single visit. This is not a criticism but take my advice, don’t try a studious approach and examine every last cabinet and corner, your brain will start to protest and you’ll be there for hours. Instead roam around, ignoring much and stopping only where your fancy wills. Believe me, you’ll thank me after the 21 rooms over 3 floors crammed full of THINGS.
Charles Paget Wade was rich and whimsical. His eclectic collections are theatrical and fascinating. There’s the gloomy, atmospheric Green Room stuffed with Samurai armour and the attic of A Hundred Wheels, full of carts and bicycles; a small landing full of Dolls’ Houses and Ann’s bedroom of C17th furniture.
One of my favourite architects, Baillie Scott, designed the small and intricate Arts and Crafts style garden which emphasizes garden rooms over sweeping lawns. As Wade put it : “a delightful garden can be made … by using effects of light and shade, vistas, steps to changing levels, terraces, walls, fountains, running water, an old well head or statue in the right place, the gleam of heraldry or a domed garden temple.” This pretty much describes the formal part and there are also orchards and vegetable plots to prowl around. Wade’s collections spill out over the gardens with a model village, Wolf Cove, set around a pond; agricultural machinery in a byre; and statues, clocks and inscriptions artfully positioned to maximum effect. My favourite garden historian, Tim Mowl, warns it is “outrageously, loveably twee, a fantasy game of mock medievalry … carefully contrived nookery … ” and, in my view, is therefore the perfect place to spend a Summer’s afternoon.
Snowshill is a National Trust property. For more details about opening times and special events, here’s their website.
Quotations from : Historic Gardens of Gloucestershire by Timothy Mowl. Tempus Publishing, 2002.