On Saturday we went to an amazing Rennie Mackintosh house called 78 Derngate, home to Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke, a model maker and his bride Florence Jones.
|Jeni and I outside 78 Derngate... even the porch light oozes style!|
The house began life as a typical early-nineteenth century brick terrace, built some time between 1815-1820. However this was to change in late 1916 when the Lowkes hired Alexander Ellis Anderson and Charles Rennie Mackintosh to transform the building from a rather poky and old-fashioned house into a modern and convenient home. The results can be seen today following the houses painstaking restoration, which began in 2002.
If you ever find yourself in Northampton you must go here. I have never seen decor like this, it is truly jaw dropping and, when you think about it, really ahead of its time, such interior design wouldn't look amiss in a current copy of "House Beautiful"!
|The hall lounge. The lattice work to the right is the staircase wall which really opens up the space|
|Jeni aint alf a good photographer, don't this look professional? Me posing my backside off behind the stair lattice screen. I was flukily wearing my late Edwardian blouse which picked up some of the colours in the wallpaper.|
|The guest bedroom. look at that wonderful furniture and amazing striped walls|
I can't find a picture of the Master bedroom which was decorated in a beautiful eau de nil textured wallpaper, with dusky pink Macintosh rose pattern border and matching carpet. It also had a sweet little wash stand in the corner, the room was so pretty without being over feminine, it gave me lots of ideas for my boudoir!
In 1926 the Bassett_Lowkes moved into their new home "New Ways" which is a breathtaking example of very early modernist architecture designed by Peter Behrens. The house still stands in Northampton, and can be seen by peering through the front grilled gate. how I'd love to sneek a peek inside this beauty. Bethan kindly drove us to the building and parked up so we could take a quick snap!
|What's hiding behind here then?|
|OOOOOO...It has deco style turrets... DECO TURRETS!!|
After visiting Derngate we also popped into Northampton museum, which is a splendid place. Full of amazing shoes from all periods (as Northampton used to be the main manufacturing town of shoes I expected to see some, but not this many!) There were some real beauties on display that any vintage lover would covet. Upstairs there was a history of Northamptonshire, which included a marvellous dress up section. So we dabbled in some extreme vintage couture, whattaya think?
|Yesterday Girl goes Iron Age|
|Anglo Saxon Gem and Bethan|
In the evening we were terribly cultured and visited the theatre to see Daphne Du Maurier's "The Years Between" at the Royal and Derngate Theatre (which is an amazing venue... really, amazing!)
It's one of only two plays Du Maurier wrote in her career, portraying the story of a marriage torn apart by the Second World War, which I've heard is semi-autobiographical. Overall the production was rather good and very sleek (no between scene change black outs... hooray!).The protagonist, Diana (played by Marianne Oldham) stole the show for me, she had such charisma and a real command of the stage. I did feel that her polish and power blew some other cast members into insignificance, for instance, the man she's supposed to love came across rather one dimensional and watery, hardly the type of chap a woman like her would set her cap to. Then again, that may may be the fault of the script, and I was having trouble picking up all the lines as my ears were misbehaving that evening!
The set was a work of art, a wonderful large library with panels that opened and closed depending on the scenario and some of the costumes were wonderful... such as a pair of the leading lady's trews! However, some of the cossies were dire... 30 denier black tights in 1945? Mint green 1980s court shoes and black kitten heel mules? LONG tanktops? OK I can understand the shoe issue, as vintage shoes in larger sizes are a nightmare to source and bloomin pricey... but a replica could have surely been found, especially with a museum half dedicated to shoes in close proximity!? The tights and looooong tanktop I do take umbrage to... but then maybe no one else apart from vintage aficionados and ex "luvvies" would notice?!
Anyway, I've nattered away too long. In short, if you find yourself in Northampton with two lovely ladies and you all visit some museums and the theatre, the you'll be sure to enjoy yourself....
Thank you Jeni and Bethan for such a lovely weekend.