This week I’ve decided to highlight the Study, and to detail some unusual things in this room, which visitors often miss. The study was a very private room, which Mrs Greville rarely showed her guests. It was an area that Mrs Greville could easily access from her apartments upstairs, so if she was staying at Polesden alone the rest of the house did not need to be completely opened up.
Behind an unassuming door in the right hand corner of the room is Mrs Greville’s own private lift. Maggie wasn’t very mobile in her later years, and so this enabled her to access her own apartments more easily. The lift is still in working order today, and the house team regularly tests it to make sure it is still working. In the left corner of the room there is also a toilet tucked away, again for when Maggie became less able to move around.
There are some lovely photographs on the desk and side table in the study, some I especially like are those of some of Mrs Greville’s pet dogs. One of her favourites was a Japanese Spaniel called Tokio, whilst another, a white Border Collie, was called Tyne. Mrs greville had 17 dogs during her lifetime, all of which are buried in the cemetery here at Polesden. In the pictures, you can see the dogs sitting on some of the furniture in the house, which is not something the house team would be pleased to see today!
One of the most puzzling yet fascinating things about the study is the fireplace. Above the mantel piece are a set of mirrored sliding doors, which when opened reveal a window with a fantastic view across the south lawn and Ranmore Common. But how does this fireplace work, and where is the chimney, you might ask? The chimney actually runs to the left of the fireplace, using up some of the space in the bookshelf (with some books having merely a spine), so that Mrs Greville could have her fabulous view to look at. This is another example of Mrs Greville’s attention to detail and wanting everything to be just so at Polesden.
The final item that I wish to highlight is a beautiful little lantern that illuminates the lobby between the library and the study. This small space is often overlooked as visitors just pass through from one room to the other. The lantern is made from ornamental gilt metal work, with glass panels and a painted ceramic chantilly centre. It is really beautiful and well worth a look!
So next time you are visiting Polesden Lacey take a moment to wander around one of Mrs Greville’s most personal spaces, and discover some hidden gems that often go unnoticed!