We began our visit with lunch in their restaurant. Leek, ham and potato pie and vegetable soup followed by cake. I tried the lemonade again, another mistake but the cake with coffee frosting and walnuts was delicious.
Basildon has very much the look of a family home. The Library looks well worn with floral couch covers and red walls. There is a table full of family pictures. I particularly liked the mirror over the fireplace and I took a picture of it. It is gilt in a fan design with gilt swags.
Off the other side of the Entrance Hall is a room with Graham Sutherlands sketches of the tapestry at Coventry Cathedral, in this room also are the chair that Lord and Lady Iliffe sat on at the coronation.
The walls in the Entrance Way and the Grand Staircase look like Wedgewood Jasperware with a medallion and a griffin.
The dining room has a table set for 14 with pale green walls and jasperware panels. It also has a lovely ceiling with gilt and plaster. The original fireplace in this room went to the Waldorf in London.
There isn't much that is original to the house but there is some Chinese porcelein that is original. It took 2 years to make the famial rose with crest. It had been sold but Lady Iliffe and the National Trust together bought it back.
The Octagon Room has 7 of Batoni's Apostles. It has 2 large mirrors that make the room look even larger than it is.
The Green Drawing Room has 2 very interesting Imari bowls and 2 etchings of Marie Antoinette and Louis XIV.
We also visited several bedrooms including Lady Iliffe's which has a canopy that hangs from the ceiling making a bed alcove.
The Chinz Room was closed the day we were there because of a lack of volunteers.
The house is covered on the Great British Heritage Pass and has an interesting National Trust Gift Shop. I bought my grandson a piece of Fools Gold which he loved.
October 21, 2001
From journal Deep in the Heart of England