So—I am to write a poem about Anne Somerset and her shoes—likely to be a sort of mule made of embroidered silk. There will be a cubby hole, into which the shoes will fit, in the basement at Croome—and the poem, once written, will be there too. My thoughts at the moment are along the lines of something to show her curiosity, she was a known gossip, so I’m thinking a large keyhole for people to look through—you know the sort of thing—think ‘Keyhole Kate,’ but at the same time, don’t underestimate this woman!
In my mind’s eye, I see the poem written on a piece of canvas or linen or cotton made into a scroll and tied with ribbon (in a colour to be picked up in her shoes, the glorious burgandy shown below is rather stunning, or perhaps the black is more ‘her’) that people can release to read the poem. I’m thinking about how to fix it to the box… as Croome is Grade II listed obviously we can’t use screws or glue, so this could be a challenge… hmmm…any thoughts?
When we look through the keyhole we see a picture of Anne and her friends in the drawing room having a chat (perhaps?)—does anyone know a good illustrator who would be willing to produce this for me gratis? They would, of course, be acknowledged.
Anne was a complex woman, the mother of two boys, she loved gardening, landscape, poetry, botany, architecture, medicine and later developed her ‘creative and literary interests’*. She is described as a religious writer renowned for her charity and piety who also had an interest in contemporary drama. Her ‘large collection of plays, mostly comedies, includes some racy plays and shows a sophisticated broad-mindedness that reflects her involvement with fashionable life.’**
Anne lived to be nearly 90 years old, left Croome when she became the Countess Dowager on the death of her husband, the 2nd Earl, in 1710, then there was a rift in the intervening years that was healed sometime around the 1750′s at the behest of the 6th Earl, who rather wanted his wife to be invited to Badminton.
Any old how, that’s enough about the Countess for now. Should anyone have information or ideas, that would be helpful, it will need to be documented so that I can reference it, I’d be ever so pleased to hear from you.
My next task is to put this into some sort of plan for those nice creative types at Croome—but this is all I have time for today—back to other things 🙂
*Gordon, Catherine, 2000, The Coventry’s of Croom’, Chichester: Phillimore in Association with The National Trust
**http://www.oxforddnb.com retrieved May 2014
I’ve decided to open a separate blog dedicated to my micro-residency at Croome, so that I can track the project. You can find it here —look forward to seeing you there.