We took advantage of the good weather today and made a promised visit to Smallhythe Place in Tenterden, Kent. Smallhythe Place was the home of Ellen Terry, the celebrated Victorian stage actress. The house is full of personal and theatrical memorabilia, has a very charming and welcoming feel and it is easy to imagine her living here. There is a wonderful mix in the collection - a handwritten note from Oscar Wilde, some amber beads that she always wore, examples of her wonderful stage costumes, her death mask and some wonderful photographs and portraits. It all comes together to present the visitor with an intimate and informative picture of a truly talented and fascinating lady. The famous beetle wing dress that Ellen Terry wore when she performed as Lady Macbeth, has been restored and on display in all its glory. I especially enjoyed the theatre billboards on the upstairs landing, her bedroom with the dressing table still laid as it would have always been, and the library where I could have happily spent the entire day. I won't write any more here about the amazing Ellen Terry as I'll write another seperate post about her fascinating life.
There is a lot here at Smallhythe. Once you've finished wandering around the house with its creaky floors and beamed walls, you still have a seventeenth century barn theatre to look at where they often put on wonderful shows. However, as ever, I am drawn to the outside. There are gorgeous gardens here. Not manicured and artfully designed as you'll find at the nearby blissful Sissinghurst Castle Gardens but cottage style, natural and perfect to stroll through after a visit to the house.
The gardens were a delight to walk around and swallows swooped in front of us on their way to the nest.
How glorious do these marguerite daisies look in the churchyard adjoining the garden? They are probably my favourite flower and I love them massed together like this.
The church of St John the Baptist sits next to Smallhythe Place and is well worth a visit. The medieval oak screen inside is glorious and usually the church is open so you can wander in.
We had a lovely afternoon and as always all these lovely photos were taken by my hubby - I take no credit!