Summer holidays see us
abusing our National Trust membership to the max. Seriously, I think it’s the best thing we’ve ever bought as a family, I can’t recommend it enough. We’ve been members for years now and I can’t even begin to work out how many lovely days out we’ve had but needless to say its a lot. Anyway, I digress.
The other week we were at Beningbrough Hall in York which is one of my very favourite places. A gorgeous 18th century house with fabulous galleries in partnership with The National Portrait Gallery plus sprawling gardens and woodland walks. We love it there. We were only there for the afternoon and it was such a lovely day (little did we know that it would also be one of the very last lovely weather days!) so we were just going to have a wander in the grounds and then take the children to the playground. Best slide ever in case you were wondering. But on the way out, I spotted that there was a special exhibition on in the house – Royals: Then and Now. How I didn’t spot the signs before I do not know as in hindsight, there were posters and signs everywhere argh! But by this point the house was about to close so we had to leave it for that day. Mr Mostly bought me the most glorious postcard book from the gift shop on way out to make up for missing out but of course there was no question that we would soon be back.
So yesterday we woke up on a rainy grey bank holiday Monday (is there any other kind of bank holiday? Seriously weather, it is still August – what are you playing at?) and did that very British thing of ignoring the weather and heading out anyway, back to Beningbrough Hall. Our plans for a picnic were slightly ambitious so we had the most British picnic of all – a bank holiday car picnic – then headed to the house to see the exhibition. It was just as stunning as I expected. I have to confess that seeing such famous portraits in the flesh was all a bit jaw dropping really. Too many to bore you with but I can’t not mention my favourites. If I can’t indulge myself on my own blog then where can I?
I thought Prince George’s christening portrait by Jason Bell was the happiest thing I ever did see until I came to the Mario Testino engagement photo of William and Catherine. Wow. Just wow. And seeing the famous Andy Warhol silkscreen prints of Queen Elizabeth against the background of this amazing 18th century gallery was really quite something. But my favourite portrait of all was one of Prince Charles. It was a candid shot of him with his chickens at Highgrove (yes really!) It had become so busy in the gallery at that point that I couldn’t squeeze in to read the sign to see who it was taken by unfortunately but it really was the most joyous of photos. If you can get there, it’s well worth the visit even if you’re not a complete royalist nut like me. Promise. Oh and there’s also going to be a Lichfield exhibition running from September in conjunction with this Royals: Then and Now event so yes, we’ll be back to see that for sure!