The word “fan” implies a long-term devotion to something, so it makes sense that superfans of the world's greatest artists often go on pilgrimages to check out their former homes. Our Traveler of the Week was no exception. A major fan of British author Rudyard Kipling, she paid a visit to his sandstone castle in East Sussex -- and, fortunately for us, she wrote up her experiences in a journal.
It turns out the old master had a flair for extravagance in his daily life. His car, a 1928 Rolls Royce, was playfully named the Phantom I. He owned “a number of cars” at a time when anyone who owned any kind of car was pretty affluent, a la the Great Gatsby. He kept an orchard nearby with an eastern section called Pear Alley. Wandering around his home, it was clear to happysh2009 that Kipling wasn't exactly a starving artist.
But here's the interesting part. For all his wealth, Kipling maintained a pretty modest workplace. Our Traveler was surprised to discover how small it was: “I always imagined a Nobel Literature Prize winner required much larger space in which to be creative.” He crammed the room with hundreds of books, mainly the classics of English literature (as defined at the time) and over five hundred volumes on India, his favorite subject. There's also (in a nod to the opulence of the rest of the house) a rug made of wolverine fur.
Because of Kipling's prominence, the home was a meeting place for a long list of the early 20th century's most famous people, from Lawrence of Arabia to the French President Clemenceau. The 17th-century home includes a Dressing Room that its original occupants used to powder their wigs, as well as a fire screen with embroidery of the Hindu god Krishna. It's all thanks to our Traveler that IgoUgo can see for ourselves.
Check out her journal -- even critics of Kipling deserve a look at her photos. For another journal with a wonderful attention to detail, check out her tour of Dover Castle.
More Adventures in England on IgoUgo
Photos of London
Where to Eat in Manchester
Where to Stay in Dover
Posted by tdbeckwith (Thomas Beckwith)