Gothic and Classical pleasures

Bringing the final stages of my new book on English Country House Interiors together – it should be out this October – so my writing office begins a disreputable second hand bookshop as piles of books collapse into one another as footnotes pursued and dates and spellings checked, but overall the book is looking magnificent I am pleased to say, which makes it all worth it. Last week was at Ely Cathedral for the Fabric Advisory Committee meeting and thrilled to see the new ironwork reredos going up in the Lady Chapel, designed by John Maddison, who has a profound understanding of medieval architecture and the effect is simple and yet fitting for the grand architecture of the chapel.
Over half term I took my daughters to Dublin and we visited Trinity College and took a tour of Dublin Castle and some of the choicest squares – also looked at the eighteenth century Irish paintings in the National Gallery (after the girls had spent an afternoon hunting out vintage ball dresses in shops in the centre), and had a good list of tea shops and restaurants to try, from the Queen Tarts opposite the castle, to the excellent Silk Road Café in the Chester Beatty library, an excellent Palestinian chef. We stayed at Leixlip with the Guinnesses and the daughters had a tour of the treasures including the glorious dolls house from Newbridge and the Georgian domestic organ wound by hand. There is something very special about those Rococo Gothic castles in Ireland and Leixlip has its own stylish charms.

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