Yesterday I spent the day at Powis Castle with my tripod, video camera, sound recorder and note pad. I was there to interview willing volunteers about their favourite objects and their thoughts about the Roman Cat. I had only expected to interview five people but two extras agreed to take part which kept me very busy.
Between interviews I spent time taking photos around the castle and sitting in the staff sittingroom getting to know the volunteers and finding out a bit more about what brings them to the castle to work. It seems that they see it as a two-way process. They get to share their love of the castle with the public and they get to learn about the things of Powis or see the things of Powis through the eyes of the public.
Now I have interviewed a total of elven people and yesterday’s people talked to me about the following objects:
View of Verona by Bernado Belotto
Bellotto, Canaletto’s nephew and pupil, it is speculated painted this when he was living in Verona between 1745 and 1747. This painting has had an impact on two of the people I spoke to yesterday and one I had spoken to previously, for different reasons. There are a number of stories associated with it.
The Picket Post
This object is fascinating because its story is largely unknown. We know that it came from the Crimea War and was presented as a gift. It is just a piece of wood, yet it has had a plaque attached to it and it is on show as an object to be admired. What is its story?
The clock in the Blue Drawing Room
This clock is a pedestal clock and it is quite a spectacular object, perhaps something a visitor might walk past without noticing particularly. The volunteer who chose this has an interest in clocks and owns a couple of interesting antique clocks himself.
The State Bed
The volunteer who chose this object told me that she likes it because it is succulent and stunning yet cosy and intimate. I agree. Walking in the State Bedroom strikes you dumb with awe, yet it is warm and welcoming and invites a snooze.
The Boxwood Cross
This object was chosen for the craftsmanship that was involved in its creation. It is a small object and is situated in the library of Powis Castle. It depicts the story of Christ’s trial and crucifixion in minute detail. I can’t take a photograph of this object as it belongs to the Powis Family so I need to draw it instead at some point.
The last person I spoke to chose a place rather than an object. She described how she had first came across it and how it had had an almost magical, mesmerizing effect on her. It is a little pocket of Southern Europe in Wales.