The Spring 2016 season has begun here at Kenmore, and as is our custom, I’m welcoming our readers back to this blog after our annual winter break with an update on new additions to the rooms.
When last we spoke, Fielding’s Office had been decked out in an assortment of objects, all illustrating aspects of his daily life, and our beautiful Eventon clothes press had returned from conservation work. In recent days, we have also added an assortment of books to the bookcase on desk in the Office, representing the extensive library that Fielding Lewis once stored in the room. Visitors will notice two books in particular. On the desk in front of the bookcase, a 1745 copy of The British Architect lays open to a page on the design of staircases. Although The British Architect is not listed amongst Fielding’s books, we do know that he was clearly emulating British architecture in Kenmore’s design, and was even considering the re-design of the house’s staircase within just a few years of moving in.
In addition, at long last one of Fielding’s own books has returned to its original location in the Office. Sitting open on the camp desk is a 1768 copy of Advice to People in General, with Respect to their Health, by Samuele Auguste David Tissot. The book shows up in Fielding’s 1781 probate inventory as “Tisiot – 1 vol.” Remarkably, Fielding Lewis signed his name as owner on the cover page. The book was no doubt well-used while Fielding owned it, as it provided its readers with advice and remedies for a full range of health issues, many of which Fielding suffered from in his final years.
The Drawing Room has also acquired a new display over the winter break. The corner table, once displayed folded up and against a wall, has been called into service a breakfast table (which was a common use for the furniture form). The little table seats two persons comfortably, and the diners are enjoying soft-boiled eggs, hot chocolate and a selection of fruits. This arrangement gives us the opportunity to show off a few additional ceramic pieces from our collection, including a pair of pierced creamware egg cups, and a creamware fruit dish standing on three tiny paws, all dating to the 1780s.
I hope you will stop in soon to see our latest additions, and several more set to come in the next couple of months – stay tuned!