a quilt in rudyard’s home
By Patricia Belyea
BURWASH UK The National Trust lists Rudyard Kipling’s house as “a family home” in its promotional brochure. That designation must be in contrast with the castles and monuments in the NT property portfolio. The Kipling home, named Bateman’s, is a sandstone mansion on a 300-acre estate in East Sussex.
Yesterday I toured the 16th century country house—still filled with the furnishings of Kipling family. I was pleased to see a whole cloth quilt in one of the two upstairs bedrooms.
This guest bedroom has welcomed many important personages as well as members of the Irish Guard. (The Kipling’s youngest child John received a commission with the Irish Guard as a 17-year old in August 1914. One month later he was killed in action in France. The tragic loss of John spurred Rudyard to become involved with the war graves commission and to write a wartime history of the Irish Guards.)
Across the hall in the Kipling’s bedroom stands a four-poster bed with hand-embroidered bedding. Much of the original fabrics deteriorated over time so a group of local needleworkers reproduced the canopy and coverlet with dense floral accents.
In the parlor, where afternoon tea was often served to guests, hangs a gorgeous Italian renaissance tapestry.
Tooled and painted Cordoba leather wall coverings dominate the dining room that was known to serve bland food and good wine.
There was no way to take in all the intricate handiwork of the furnishings and architectural details in this historic home. Every item was touched or tooled to make it a masterpiece of old-world craftsmanship.
Before I sign off, I want to share with you some other charming features of Bateman’s:
Here’s Rudyard’s book-lined study where he wrote many famous books. (Five years after moving here, Rudyard won the Nobel Prize for Literature.)
The entrance to the property, from the car park, skirts an impressive vegetable garden and orchard, brimming with bounty.
On the other side of the house lies an expansive lawn with trimmed yew hedges and formal flower beds.My visit to quintessential Bateman’s caps my ten-day whirlwind trip to England with adventures in Birmingham, London and East Sussex. I enjoyed spending time with so many wonderful people—quilters and family alike. I promise not to wait too long to return!