I first visited Wimpole Estate while accompanying my son's class on a school trip several years ago, as we walked through some of the grounds I remember looking over at the hall and promising myself I would return to this magnificent place, on Saturday, I did just that!
Wimpole Estate is huge and it's impossible to expect to see everything on one visit. The property was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1976 by the last owner, Elsie Bambridge. Therefore, like most of the NT properties, the hall opens at around 1pm making it impossible for me to visit during the week and still collect my children from school. The park and gardens open earlier which means I will be able to return to them with ease, so I chose to visit the house on Saturday.
I could easily spend a month at Wimpole and still find little corners of interest, architectural delights, unusual plants. There is also a farm so animals are also a subject here. The stables are no longer used for horses though, they contain shops now and this is where we sat to drink our last coffee of the day before leaving. I managed to make the sketch below while we drank and then coloured it from a photographic reference on my return home.
Sadly, I do not have any sketches from inside the hall to share with you which has made me re-think my National Trust sketching kit. I currently use an A4 Venezia sketchbook for all my NT properties, stately homes and churches. It is a beautiful book and although I am very happy with it's performance it is more than a tad clumsy to carry around these wonderful houses. No seating means standing to sketch and this is impossible with the A4 Venezia which results in me leaving without any sketches from the inside. Occasionally a steward has allowed me use of their chair and on one occasion I managed to stand and sketch on the right hand side of my large book but it is a problem and one I realised I would have to resolve this weekend after wanting desperately to record some of the rooms and realising I would have to leave with none of them.
I don't want to change books, I love the Venezia, so as a resolve I have decided to take an A6 wire-o sketchbook with me on future NT visits. While outside I shall work in my A4 and while inside I shall work in my A6, directly with pen which will help in my aim to cut the pencil guide out. I will then cut out the small sketches and mount them into my large book so everything is still together, which is important to me for a reason that is beyond me!