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Riverview, New Brunswick
October 1, 2005
From journal Rutland and Environs
August 29, 2005
The castle has been in the hands of the Dukes of Rutland since the early 16th century, and the present design is thanks to James Wyatt and John Thoroton (Chaplain to the 5th Duke). Nowadays, this well-preserved, stately home is crammed with superbly period pieces in its magnificently designed rooms. The entrance hall, a grand affair, will interest all those interested in early weaponry, and its graceful staircase leads to the most flamboyant rooms fashioned in the regency period.
There is the Ballroom, created in early Gothic style; the lavish main drawing room, known as the Elizabeth Saloon after the 5th Duchess (a life-sized marble statue of her is displayed here); the dining room with its immense mahogany sideboards; the impressive libraries with their large gothic windows, giving spectacular views over the countryside. The King's Rooms, named after George IV, overlook the main entrance drive and are decorated with Chinese wallpapers and 1820s furniture. The Picture Gallery, with its high windows, lights the most important works of art from the ceiling down and features some mighty fine paintings, including Gainsborough and a superb portrait of Henry VIII by Holbein. The castle’s Gothic Chapel has a superb altar painting by Murillo, and on the walls are three tapestries based on the Raphael Cartoons.
If you’re interested in army museums, the castle plays host to The Queen's Royal Lancers, an exhibition detailing the regiment’s history alongside a complete collection of weapons uniforms and medals. It’s personally not my cup of tea, but enthusiasts rave about it. In the basement you’ll find that the kitchen is laid out exactly as it would have been in the early days of the castle. Imagine the intense heat as they spit roast a wild boar and the chaos as the upstairs demands service through the constant ringing of the house bells.
A stroll through the acres of gardens and parklands is a great conclusion to your visit. You will not fail to appreciate the views, but make sure that you check out the statue gardens (17th-century sculptures built into the castle’s hillside), and keep an eye out for the wandering peacocks that frequent the grounds strutting their plumage for the visitors.
On top of the tour round the castle, there are loads of events organised throughout the year, including jousting events, reenactments, outdoor performances, and candlelit concerts (keep an eye on their website, belvoircastle.com, for updated information).
From journal "Veloing" in the Vale
October 6, 2001
You enter Belvoir throught the Portico which was built so that the important visitors could drive their cars inside so they would not be subject to the weather. The exisiting castle was built in the 19th century to replace one that was destroyed by fire.
You purchase your tickets for entrance in the parking lot. From there you have a long, uphill walk to the castle. In the pre-Guard Room you can purchase a photography pass for 2pds. The room is filled with 18th century muskets, some of which are Irish flintlocks and some are made locally in Grantham.
In the Chinese Room there is a highly elaborate swan cradle presented to the Duchess of Rutland by the Prince Regent. There is also a small cradle from 1658. My favorite, though, was a Joshua Reynolds portrait of the Manners children. They are playing with their dogs and they have such sweet faces and such pretty white dresses with pink sashes that it's hard to believe one of them is a boy.
In the ballroom you can see the coronation robes worn in 1937 and 1953 by the Duke and Duchess of Rutland. There are several interesting family portraits in this room including John the 5th Duke by Hoppner and Captain Lord Robert Manners by Joshua Reynolds. Also in a case in the room is an illuminated brevary said to have belonged to St Thomas Beckett.
This is a family home and in the dining room there were family pictures scattered about but nothing had that warm, lived-in look.
The picture gallery is magnificent. There is a full length portrait of Henry VIII by Hans Holbein; two Stubbs Dog portaits; two cases of portrait miniatures; a portrait of Charles II as a child, from the Circle of Van Dyke; There is also a wall of more modern portaits of the current Duke and his parents. In the fire of 1816, over 200 paintings including a Rembrant were lost.
But, the most compelling piece of art is the sculpture of Lord Haddon in the chapel, done by his mother the Duchess after his death in 1894. It was her grief therapy.
The day we were here, there was a murder mystery being staged and we heard several horrible screams.
Open April-September daily, 11-5. October - Sundays only.
Admission 6pds is covered by the Great British Heritage Pass.
From journal Visits to the Treasure Houses of England