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Director Barbara Ward attends Attingham Summer School 2019

Our director/curator Barbara Ward was accepted to the esteemed Attingham Summer School program and started the program on July 4.  Prior to her visit, she was able to tour Scotland with her youngest son and even visited Dumfries, where John Moffatt grew up before coming to America in the 1720s.  Unfortunately she was unable to find a homestead or anything related to him, but she very much enjoyed exploring the town where he once lived, more than 250 years ago.  Another visit of note during her Scotland trip was a ferry ride to the Isle of Mull to visit Duart Castle, the ancestral home of the clan McLean, which is Barbara’s maiden name.  We’re so glad she got a chance to visit such a special place with her son!

The Attingham Summer School program started in 1952 and serves 3 main purposes:

  • To EXAMINE the architectural and social history of the historic house in Britain and its gardens and landscape setting.
  • To STUDY the contents of these buildings – their paintings, sculpture, furniture, ceramics, silver, textiles and other applied arts – as well as the planning, decorative treatment and use of the interiors.
  • To STIMULATE debate on problems relating to the conservation and presentation of the country house and its contents.

This year, as mentioned above, the program began on July 4 in West Dean, Chichester.  Barbara has seen an incredible amount of grand country homes and estates, both public and private, along with incredible collections.  She will travel through Sussex, Oxfordshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Cambridgeshire to visit home and study their collections, structures, and interpretation methods.  We eagerly await her return to find out all that she has learned!  We look forward to gaining a better understanding of English country life of the past and how that life impacted the early residents of the Moffatt-Ladd House.

Parham House

During the first week, Barbara visited Weald and Downland Museum, Cowdray House, and Parham House (1577).  Like most of the great country houses, Parham House was altered in the 18th century to modernize the home.  The Pearson family acquired the house in the 20th century and repaired many of the ceilings and collected paintings, textiles, and furniture to furnish it.  The previous owner, Lady Zouche, collected about 100 paintings and larger textiles to better furnish the home, many of which can be find in a 160 foot gallery, called the Long Gallery–just a wee bit bigger than our Long Chamber!  The house is still privately owned and was one of the first country houses to open to the public after WWII, and it’ still open for tours today. On this day, the group was also lucky enough to have Maurice Howard, Emeritus Professor of Art History at the University of Sussex join them as they toured the homes.  He specializes in 16th century architecture, and helped better explain the the layers of change at Parham along with the ruins at Cowdray–it sounds like a special treat!

Join us as we follow Barbara on her journey in England!  We’ll do our best to get caught up on all that she has seen and learned so far before she returns to the States next week.


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