Winter project

At the end of the summer season last year the Costume Group was about making a tapestry for Reception to hang on the wall. Not having a lot of experience with tapestry we thought a wall hanging using various embroidery techniques hat we’ve learned over the last several years would be better. We came up with several ideas but thought to start with a design based on the Great Hall window, the plasterwork and the gables.


Once the pattern was drawn out to scale and transferred to the base cloth, we had a slight change of tack and used a lovely photograph of the Hall window taken by Barbara, the House Steward, as further inspiration for the window design. 

The border is made up from images in the plaster freize in the Hall, worked in various embroidery techniques, including stumpwork and freestyle blackwork. 

The faces are linked together by lucetted cord, often used in our costumes for ties and laces, to represent the ribbed pattern of the plasterwork on the Hall ceiling.

Other features of the plasterwork have been picked out with quilted sections and needlelace.  

Scraps from our material cupboard were used for the window panes, which started off as six abstract collage panels. It slowly came together by putting a large piece of navy blue net over the top, then black cord to make the panes. The window frame is made with pieces of grey wool material, with both right and wrong sides on display for the different textures. 

The next stage is to finish the gables and roof top, complete the border and then work out how to fix it to the wall! 

Doh! New discovery in our old house

A few weeks ago the Great Hall at Trerice, which is only lit by sunlight through the 576 paned window, had just the right sort of light to pick up details in the plasterwork frieze. The frieze is runs around the two-storey room at ceiling height, so it is not often that much attention gets paid to it because it is so high up and the light’s not always very good. There’s been many times when we’ve seen it but not actually looked at it!

Closer inspection of the frieze came about when it was asked why Homer Simpson should be depicted in the plaster… doh! turns out it wasn’t Homer but a lady wearing something like Tudor dress and headwear.

This one’s in the middle of the frieze on the Musicians’ Gallery wall, above the door from the Screens Passage to the Hall.

Most of the figures are completely different, although those in the corners of the room, diagonally facing each other are very similar, but have minor differences. We’re in the process of researching more about them, and whether they are just generic images or have a stronger link to Trerice and the family who lived there. It might be very fanciful, but they could be portraits of the Arundell family…

We’ve been wondering if it’s possible to date the figures from the styles of clothes and hats they’re wearing.

Going clockwise around the room from the lady’s image, at 12 o’clock, the others are:

This one’s in the other corner of that wall next to the window. Originally it was thought that it was a scary looking baby but it seems to have a beard, so could be an old man.

This one’s on the side of the room with the window, opposite the fireplace (at about 4 o’clock). It has some similarities to the brass of Sir John Arundell in armour in Stratton Church.

This one’s diagonally opposite its ‘twin’.

This one’s in the centre of the frieze (at 6 o’clock to the lady’s image).

This one’s diagonally opposite the similar one near the window.

The next two are above the fireplace, opposite the window, which might suggest a place of importance.



The last is back on the first wall at the Musicans’ Gallery end, in the corner.


We’re wondering if it’s possible to date them from their clothes and hairstyles?

Thanks to Emily Hide for the photos.

Getting there, slowly

The Summer Costume Days are over now – it’s taken a little while to recover! The last was particularly busy, with about 40 visitors dressed in the morning and twice as many in the afternoon – not bad for four hours. We had some lovely comments too from visitors which is greatly appreciated.

After a day of repairs, including the complete rebuilding of two French hoods, we’ve managed to cut out another pattern for the schools’ project. This one’s for a mid Tudor noble lady, based on the Princess Elizabeth pattern in The Tudor Child. It’s also loosely based on a portrait of Mary FitzAlan, Duchess of Norfolk in blue and red, who had a very distant connection to Trerice through her stepmother Mary Arundell of Lanherne, a cousin to our Arundells (the FitzAlan earl of Arundel’s coat of arms is also in the plasterwork of the Great Chamber at Trerice – we’ve always assumed it was something to do with this marriage connection … but not completely sure). So far it includes a padded petticoat, a red kirtle with red and gold forepart and a blue velvet gown (a really nice shade, similar to the portrait) with large sleeves and fore-sleeves to match the kirtle.