Monday, 21 September 2015

Kondo to the max


Looking for an antidote to Kondo-mania?
This stretches the spark of joy test to the limit.
Meet a man, Charles Paget Wade, who in the early 20th century 
assigned a whole house, Snowshill Manor, to his 22,000 piece collection of 
toys, furniture, bicycles, spinning wheels, suits of Samurai armour, 
chests, model boats - you name it and if he thought it exemplified 
good design or craftsmanship,
then he had to have it.


Crucially, for him, good workmanship that might be lost to posterity sparked joy.
Nothing shall perish
was his family motto.


The collection is so vast and varied that it is not catalogued or labelled.
One visitor, I was told, likes to bring and place a new object each time he comes
to perplex the curators and present custodians, The National Trust.







I would argue with his assertion that each room has a restful atmosphere.
I found it overwhelming and was repeatedly drawn to the windows
for respite from the Stuff.







But Snowshill Manor House was a home to things not people.
It is a vast cabinet of curiosities, 
a giant version of the one that his strict granny used to let him open 
on a Sunday if he had been good all week.

He lived in the tiny dark Priest's House in the garden.
When he eventually married aged 63, his wife was not keen to
make it the marital home -
this is the bathroom
and there was no electricity or heating
so you rather sympathise.



Luckily they were able to decamp to the family's
sugar plantation in St Kitts.


And like the doves from his dovecot


I was glad to escape into the warm Cotswold sun.




31 comments:

  1. we went there for the garden!
    Didn't go into the house.

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    1. You came a long way just for the garden! Charles Wade hardly travelled at all to acquire his collection which surprised me.

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  2. Crumbs ! I thought I over-acquired .
    Seriously though , it's always handy to have a spare ...

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    1. I asked if his was the national collection of penny-farthing bicycles and was told rather sniffily that there were only three and the rest were bone-shakers, so no.

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  3. I remember Snowshill well and was overcome by all the STUFF.

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  4. That is fascinating and suffocating!!!

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    1. It was both those things. Not rooms to linger in at all but I enjoyed one knowledgable room attendant's explanation about an Armada chest. A bit like this one
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4JXbksSkcw

      My sons would have loved this when younger.

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  5. The garden is very restful, also you don't need a timed ticket to stroll around it.

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  6. Ran screaming from the house, but liked the garden!

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    1. Apparently stuffed full of ghosts too.

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  7. That's amazing. Love the way he has written that it is not to be a museum. Quite a few museums started this way. The Horniman Museum, where I've just stopped working, began when Mrs Horniman said, "it's me or your collection". She kept the house & he built a museum. Everyone happy.

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    1. I never knew that! Wish I'd known you were in the area.

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  8. I had no idea it was like that inside! But the garden is gorgeous. CJ xx

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    1. You must be quite near it! What a lovely part of the world you live in. We were just killing time on the way to a wedding but I think we will return to the Cotswolds one day when we can explore further.

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  9. Perhaps your Kondo book would be a good thing to sneak in? You could age it in cold tea first so it would not be easily discovered amid the rest of the Stuff?

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  10. I wish I'd thought of that. Cold tea brown was certainly the prevalent colour. The bed cover was the brightest thing in there but sadly only used for laying out the dead.

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  11. Well Lucille, without your introduction, I'd have never known about this place. Bonkers yes, but strangely fascinating. I like Mise's suggestion very much.

    xo

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    Replies
    1. Our National Trust membership is a godsend. You have to move swiftly through their shops though. They all smell the same!

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  12. I thought about the dusting too. I shan't be visiting...

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    1. Apparently volunteers wrap everything in white paper for the winter months. It doesn't bear thinking about.

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  13. Yes, we went there the other year. Made me feel quite the minimalist... which I'm not...

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    1. Did you blog about it? I've tried to find it in your archives without success. Maybe 2014 is not the other year.

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  14. Blimey. BLIMEY! Like your Kondo, the stuff of nightmares to me, but at the opposite extreme.

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  15. We visited one rainy October half term years ago when we were staying at Bog House, a former Banqueting house to Upton House. The light levels were so low I can't honestly say I saw very much at all. I do remember his monk-like cell and I thought the garden on a damp autumn afternoon was charming.

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  16. I was there a few weeks ago but we only made it just before closing time and didn't have time to see the whole house. Even so, it was overwhelming - but wouldn't it be lovely if you could chuck most of it away and brighten the place up? The garden was delightful.

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    Replies
    1. Definitely a case of not being able to see the wood for the trees.

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  17. I have seen this a couple of times on television - it is a fascinating collection although I think I would feel very much like you and the need for space and fresh air.

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  18. I like the look of the outside. Not so much the inside.

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  19. This reminds me of the Edward Gorey house (Orleans, Massachusetts) which we saw after he died but before it was really museumified. Simmilarly horrifying -- well, you can kind of see that here; http://espantajerias.tumblr.com/post/35838501226/libros-la-biblioteca-de-edward-gorey

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