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
Click here for an interesting article about Anne and here to see a great blog about Croome Court.
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.
21/05/2014 at 15:28
Polly, this is a really beautiful post. I will be following you from Writer Site in the future, instead of through Don’t We Look Alike. Marisha and I are going on hiatus over there. Luanne
21/05/2014 at 17:20
Thanks for letting me know, Luanne. Is it a temporary hiatus or don’t you know yet? Glad to see you enjoyed the post 🙂
21/05/2014 at 17:47
It might be permanent . . . or not. We’re kind of burned out on writing publicly on the topic and are both soooooo busy with other projects (her, acting; me, writing).
21/05/2014 at 17:52
Ah… sometimes things run their course. I can understand your burn-out, you’ve worked hard on the blog, it was always interesting. Maybe it’s time to preserve your energy and focus on what suits you – I wish you both well 🙂 x
21/05/2014 at 19:27
Thank you so much! I’ll tell Marisha.
21/05/2014 at 16:10
Sounds like an interesting woman.
21/05/2014 at 17:25
Plenty to think about, for sure, Joe 🙂
22/05/2014 at 18:37
Okay Polly, you have piqued my curiosity… Interesting post for this history junkie! 🙂
23/05/2014 at 01:05
Ah! There’s a certain fascination with a woman with such facets to her personality – she seems hugely intelligent to me and I’ve only just started the research. Any woman who can write philosophically and hold so many other interests is worthy of attention methinks. Glad your curiousity is piqued, Lea, most heartening.
23/05/2014 at 06:52
Ah, a kindred spirit! Yes, she has been added to the book list. Thank you Polly.
23/05/2014 at 07:04
23/05/2014 at 09:16
24/05/2014 at 16:57
This is delightful! I love your vision. Maybe you could use some sort of light box to be able to peer inside – then it could be on a stand and you wouldn’t need to fix it to any walls. I hope we get to see the finished article 🙂 I like this whole biographic history avenue that you are taking us down 🙂
24/05/2014 at 17:04
The boxes will be lit from inside – I’ve moved everything about the Croome project to a new blog now. Didn’t want things to get too confusing here.