Sigh, at Mottisfont

Today’s Flowers on Friday is a single photo post, and one from back in 2017. It was taken at NT Mottisfont, which is an absolute delight of a place.

If truth be known I was at a bit of a loss for what to share today. I found myself browsing through old photos and stumbled across photos from our trip here, which was a stop off on our way back from a week in Swanage. At the time we weren’t sure about making the trip, but once we had we wondered why we’d not been before. Finding those photos again, I’m thinking we should go back, but I’m not quite sure when.

At mottisfont.jpg

This is a slightly unusual Flowers on Friday post, as I’m not sure what the plant is. And of course there’s a window. But there’s a timeless ease to the photo which just shouts calm, if anything can shout calm. So yes, sigh, one day we’ll be back to see more of Mottisfont I’m sure.

Formal dining at Mottisfont

While looking for a photo to accompany last Friday's link-up post I rediscovered my photos from the National Trust's Mottisfont in Hampshire, and there's many which I've not shared here yet, so I plan to put that right and today I'm starting with some formal dining.

For me, seeing these properties set out as they would have been in their heyday is what brings the place to life on a visit, an it's something the NT does well. Clearly as I wander around the place I'm imagining the house is mine, I have staff and will be entertaining again that evening, and this scenario has yet to become tiresome. 

I'd be happy to have dinner served on this jade patterned dinner service.

Crockery on the dining table at Mottisfont

And the dining room is pretty special too, isn't it? 

Stepping back and admiring the trompe l'oeil

The panelling isn't quite what it appears though. It's believable and very effective, but is a trompe l'oeil. But it was the chairs and their upholstery that caught my eye  the simple, yet elegant fabric, no doubt silk, provides enough bling, sparkle and classic detail to be quietly, but confidently, understated. 

The detail on the chair

And when you see the floor, it's clear why that simplicity is needed. Now for the life of me I can't remember if the flooring is carpet, as we'd expect it to be, or another trick for our eyes. Logic tells me it should be carpet, but then again it looks too flat, and perfect, so perhaps it isn't.  

And how about that for a carpet


It's a looker though isn't it? If you've been to Mottisfont and can put me out of my misery, then please post a comment and let me know: carpet, or clever trickery?

Inside the Potting Shed at Mottisfont

On our way back from our Dorset break at the end of March we stopped off at the National Trust's Mottisfont in Hampshire. It was my first visit there and it certainly lived up to its romantic billing in the NT blurb. I'll share more from our time there over the next few weeks, but today I'm concentrating just on one quite small part of it, and that's the Potting Shed. Which is, as its name suggests, a shed.

Mottisfont is a large estate, and yes I'm showing you a shed

And yes I know, it's a vast estate - we walked around a lot of it - and I'm showing you a shed. But, it's a very nice shed!



You're starting to believe me now aren't you?  

It was the kind of place I could happily have spent a good hour or two in, but I didn't think I'd get away with that so I spent as long as I could. It was also the kind of place that had the right mix of being a real space, but also carefully orchestrated, and I couldn't work out which it was more of. My head said the orchestrated side, but my heart just wanted to pull up that stool and get my nose into one of those books. I'd have preferred an easy chair over the stool, but I think that's probably why there wasn't one!

Garden tools close at hand and neatly stored

And is it just me, or do those tools say G & T? 

Boxes of seeds and a cup put down to enable a two-handed rummage

I like the wooden box for seeds, and make use of some wooden wine boxes in my own greenhouse and they're a great modern day equivalent. I always look out for those on our French trips and so far, have been lucky twice.  

I wanted to rummage through the seed box and sift through the papers on the desk but held back. Just. The notebook telling part of the story was a nice touch and a tactic that Mottisfont used in the property too, where if I'm honest I found it a little too forced, but also the handwriting a little too small and too wordy when the place was much busier. It worked here in the shed though as there was time to read it without someone hovering at your shoulder willing you to move on. 

Like many areas of the house the NT uses the display to educate visitors

The rose paintings on the wall were beautiful and reminded me of a herb book I have, a present from  my nan, with its botanical style illustrations. And it's true, I think, the best roses do survive and quite often we rarely know their names, just how they flower, their scent and of course their colour. 

Hand-painted pictures of roses decorate the walls of the potting shed at Mottisfont
A dog rose painting in the potting shed at Mottisfont

It's hard to believe isn't it, that this is just a relatively normal sized shed, perhaps a little bigger than most of us have, but definitely somewhere to ponder and learn, experiment and succeed. And for all kinds of roses too.  

A real rose alongside a trug and other paraphernalia in the potting shed at mottisfont

The "in tray" made me smile too. Not just the old tobacco tins no doubt used for storing seed, but also because it's just the kind of in tray I'd be happy with. I've still seeds to plant right now and so it's a job I  must get on with this weekend. 

Old tobacco tins, no doubt storing seed, in the in tray and terracotta pots
More seeds and vintage looking packets, looking about as neat and orderly as my own seed store

Yes, it really was a fascinating place and jam packed with information and treats for the eye everywhere I looked. Even down to what must surely be orchestrated dirt... 

crates and terracotta pots, and more of the Mottisfont story

Quite a shed, and it's easy to see why sheds are often a safe haven and places for pottering isn't it? My pottering place is my greenhouse, while MOHs is his shed although lately neither of us have had enough time for a decent potter - we'll need to put that right, won't we?