Jane B (knally) wrote,
Jane B

Osborne House

We had a works outing to the Isle of Wight and Osborne House this week. (We don't usually go for days out, but this was an award for completing some work over a 2 month period.) We went over on the Isle of Wight Hovercraft Service which lands at Ryde - this isn't the nearest port to Osborne, but they were doing a special deal, and it did mean we got to see more of the island as we bounced around in the bus.

Other Sister may not want to read any further since we were planning to go to Osborne some time, but otherwise there's more about the place
The house has a lovely position at the top of a small valley that leads to the sea. It looks out across the Solent, and you can see the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. The building has a clock tower and is covered in a creamy-beige cement which gives it an Italian appearance, particularly when the sun is shining.

The grounds are mostly parkland with quite a lot of trees, and there are terrace gardens near to the house. There is also a walled garden which is laid out with fruit trees and flower beds, which matches the original design since cut flowers were needed for the house. The fruit trees are old varieties and it was refreshing to see so many types of pears, since it's mostly Conference nowadays (although that did appear to be the healthiest and best fruiter, which explains its popularity.)

Inside the house was beautifully decorated, and I was particularly struck by the ceilings which have some lovely patterns on them without being too complicated. The rooms - even the state rooms (except for the Durbar Room) - were on a more human scale than you usually see in stately homes. The ceilings seemed lower than usual, which may have been a trompe d'oeil caused by the decorations. It seemed quite a cosy place, and there had been heating incorporated into the original plan - also bathrooms for Victoria and Albert.

I won't describe every room, but I will mention the Indian portraits in the Durbar corridor done by Rudolf Sordoba. Here is a link to a catalogue of these pictures, the cover of which gives you an idea of the wonderfully vivid nature of these portraits. Although done over a hundred years ago, the people depicted seemed very present and alive. Among the portraits was Abdul Karim who taught Urdu to Victoria. From the dates it appears she started learning this when she was 68, which gave me great hope that my brain still had some mileage left in it! The Durbar corridor, not surprisingly, leads to the Durbar Room which is the grandest room in the house since it was built as a state banqueting hall. The ceiling and mantelpiece has the most complex plasterwork done in an Indian style and with symbols such as elephants and peacocks. It is very impressive, but the fact that it's all in white keeps it from being too overpowering,

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