Plas Newydd

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I have written a separate review covering the history of the house, visiting and our general impressions. This review just looks at what there is to see inside the house. Unfortunately the verdict is ‘not a lot’. We were very disappointed. There weren’t that many rooms to see and many were fairly basically furnished. There were lots of paintings on the walls but very little information about them. In fact there was very little information about the house. Room Stewards made little effort to engage visitors and information sheets in the rooms where high on rhetoric but low on content. I admit I am not a great one for paintings and the Whistler painting did little to to change that.

Entry is through the back of the house into a large austere ENTRANCE HALL lined with pictures. Stewards made little effort to meet and greet us.

The MUSIC ROOM is on the left. It is a huge empty room with a vaulted ceiling and containing a grand piano which is dwarfed by the size of the room and chairs round the walls. There is a large stone fireplace and pictures on the walls. This was used a s a ballroom when Queen Victoria visited.

Beyond, a STONE STAIRCASE with a crystal chandelier and more pictures on the walls leads up to the first floor. At the top are green fluted painted mock marble pillars and a grandfather clock with an inlaid Chinese pattern. In a glass case is a beautiful ivory carving of a pagoda.

Down a long corridor with more paintings, across the top of the entrance hall is LADY ANGLESEY’S SET OF ROOMS. This includes dressing room, bathroom with cherry pattern wallpaper and a very feminine pink and white bedroom designed for her in the 1930s. It has a four poster bed and comfy chairs arranged by the fireplace. She chose this room as it had the best views. There is no bell as Lady Anglesey preferred to use the telephone. Visitors leave by the servant’s door which has no handle on the inside.

Beyond is LORD ANGLESEY’S BEDROOM with what is described as a flying tester bed as it had no visible means of holding up the canopy. The hangings are reproductions of he original 1730’s hand painted Chinese silk. Part of the original can be seen round the pelmet. The room has a small desk, huge wardrobe and a boot jack. Off is his bathroom lined with wall cupboards. A door is open to show a dressing gown hanging up.

The tour continues down the servant’s SPIRAL STAIRCASE back to the entrance hall. Through the arches is a small sitting area with chairs with blue and white patterned upholstery and blue walls. This leads into the SALON with a large bow window overlooking the Menai Strait. Green upholstered chairs are arranged around the fireplace and a small table is laid for afternoon tea. In the window is the rent table used to collect rents from the tenants who placed the money in a central well.

Beyond is the BREAKFAST ROOM with green walls and pictures of boats. The table is laid for breakfast with silver egg cups.

Beyond is the WHISTLER EXHIBITION ROOM with letters written by Whistler, small sketches and his waistcoat and gloves. It is fairly turgid, unless you are interested in Whistler.

The DINING ROOM leads off this and contains the massive Whistler painting commissioned by the 6th Marquess. This was painted on canvas which was woven in Paris and had to be brought by train to Anglesey. It was so large it had to be lifted in through the window. At the time Whistler was madly in love with Lady Caroline, the eldest daughter, who did not return his feelings as she wanted to marry someone of similar status to herself. The lovelorn Whistler included a self portrait of himself as a lowly gardener. The painting is technically very clever as the perspectives move as you walk down the room. It includes local mountains as a backdrop with Harlech Castle, St Martin’s in the Fields, Trajan’s column in Rome as well as other well known landmarks. At either end on the side walls there are views down a colonnade of arches, which I found the most interesting. There are fireplaces at either end of the room with trompe d’oeil paintings above them of armour or globe, map and anchor.

The ceiling is painted in panels with squares with laurel leaves, lyre, shells, eagle, flower motifs… In the centre of the room is a long dining table.

The CAVALRY MUSEUM has military uniforms, guns and a lovely Christening dress from 1768. I didn’t find the articulated wooden leg of the 1st Marquess.

The tour leaves the house past a kid’s play room, second hand book room, tea room and very ordinary shop. That last comments sums up the overall experience.

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