This is Packwood House, built by a 16th century family of yoeman farmers (including the second generation lawyer) who accumulated land and built this house through their own labour, likely the unrecognised labour of the household’s women, and the labour of other hired workers (for example, it was extended by Roger Hurlbutt, a notable master carpenter, in 1670).  In the eighteenth century that family laid out the huge yew topiary representing the twelve apostles and their master. That lineage having foundered, the much modified Elizabethan house was transformed into a twentieth century artwork by Graham Baron Ash, who incorporated architectural structures from old buildings facing demolition and historical objects harvested from salesrooms.  These included a bed slept in by a queen the eve before giving battle and a chimney piece that might once have warmed Shakespeare’s arse. This Ash was fourth generation of a line of business men, two generations prospering through four surviving sons, moving from grocery into manufacturing from zinc. Their company, Ash and Lacey, still operates today: it reported in 2018 a gender pay gap of 15.9% commenting this is lower than the national average.  Most zinc is mined.  I cannot tell where the Ash family’s zinc originated, perhaps from northern India during the Empire, nor the labour conditions by which the metal was extracted.



Holiday sketches

2016-08-22 Trerice

On a damp afternoon, I sheltered from drizzle beneath a tree on a terraced slope above the Elizabethan manor, Trerice.  The children were inside dressing in mail and armour.  The house has a knot garden built of aromatic herbs and bordered by laden apple trees.

2016-08-22 11.21.20-3

I made only one sketch on our next day out at the Eden Project, quickly drawing some of the sculptures set within the Mediterranean climate biome.  I was impressed by the vision of those who had created a landscaped ecological museum in the desolation of a worked-out clay mine.

2016-08-24 19.43.48