Tapestries and Shoes at Croome


Last Sunday The Management and I had a day out. I started with a leisurely 10k run (in which I got my best time so far – if you are interested in my running progress check out my running blog here ), and then we went to a National Trust property called Croome. We had seen reports that they were holding an exhibition of tapestries by Grayson Perry and I really wanted to see them. As a bonus we discovered a small exhibition in the basement called ‘Soul to Sole’ which was just delightful.



I had read about Grayson Perrys tapestry series called ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’ Β and thought it would be interesting to be able to see them in detail, and also madness not to go when they were so local. I am not terribly familiar with his work, but I did see a post that Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial did a while back and I saw things that I really liked. I know not everyone would, but I do think that art should be challenging on occasion.There was a video presentation, and a display of his sketches inn the same room. I thought the sketches were well worth having – they gave an opportunity to see how they looked both small, and in a different medium.

The tapestries were all HUGE! Think back to the sort of tapestries you see in the traditional National Trust properties. I loved that he had brought fairly familiar themes up to date – and that you could spot things that were in everyday use, and also people you recognise (hello Jamie Oliver!, and I thought the ‘Madonna’ character looked very Colleen Rooney). I seem to have missed one tapestry in photos but I hope you get the idea from my, occasionally appalling, pictures. There are a couple of detail pictures just to show the texture, and also a ceramic vase that was included which I loved.

The exhibition is at Croome until September, and as there are more things we would like to do there I may be back again before these go away.

‘Soul to Sole’ is an art installation using shoes as a means of describing some of the ‘souls’ connected with Croome. Sadly my pictures don’t do it justice – I was tired, and also being hurried along by The Management. There is more information about some of the shoes on a blog set up by the resident artist here.


The Aristocracy would clearly have had a fairly ‘charmed’ life, not so the maids who the following shoes were attributed to – lists of tasks to be completed were embroidered(?) onto the shoe. The shoes on the right were depicting Hilda, a servant from the 1930’s, memories – I can’t imagine it would have been very much easier as a servant even then.

In 1942 a local airfield becomes RAF Defford which has strong links to the house today. The shoes below were inspired by Joan Gill, who was driver to RAF Deffords CO during world war 2, and the childhood memories of Michael McDonald who was the child of an RAF captain who remembers playing in the grounds as a boy. That must have been an idyllic childhood playground.

Sadly Croomes family fell on hard times and sold the estate in 1948. The house became a school for boys. I remember wearing sandshoes just like these as a child, and the shoe cubby holes were left from this era. It stayed a school until 1979 when it became a centre for Hare Krishna devotees – sorry about the picture quality. They didn’t stay too long, selling the house in 1984 to property developers, and the National Trust took control in 1996.

If you click on a shoe picture you should find more information.

I enjoyed the exhibition, as much for it being so unexpected as the shoes being so unusual. I have enjoyed looking up some of the people involved – particularly Eleanor Coade who is the 18th century Β LADY who invented the artificial stone known as Coade stone. She must have been an amazing person to have achieved that at that time.


PJ’s for The Management

I have finally managed to finish the first PJ’s for The Management, the first of the fabrics I bought on the Birmingham meet. I’m very happy with the way they look, and I know that he liked the print so I hope he will like them too. They aren’t going to be ‘easy care’ as they are a pure cotton, but they should be cool to wear should the weather here get hot at night.

I got a selection of fabrics out from stash yesterday and ordered them into groups that would work together. Hopefully I will get going on things for myselfΒ very soon.












27 Comments on “Tapestries and Shoes at Croome”

  1. tialys says:

    Looks like a really interesting exhibition. I do hope Colleen (or whoever it is) sits in a more ladylike fashion in real life πŸ˜‰
    Love the management’s p.j.s.
    I am still struggling with the concept of running 10k being ‘leisurely’.

    • Oh, I agree. Not at all ladylike!
      I don’t think running 10k will ever be ‘easy’ but I am definitely getting better. JUst as well as I have entered a half marathon in September. What was I thinking!

  2. sewbussted says:

    How much does the management pay you for those those pajamas? πŸ˜‰ Please forgive me, I just couldn’t resist, with a post that contains the reminiscent shoes of servants and a pair of pajamas for “the management.” Just my weird sense of humor!
    What a great exhibit. There’s just something about shoes that really touch me. It’s as if they carry not only our feet, but our soul, and truly depict our life. Would love to see this exhibit, but no plans for a trip across the ocean πŸ˜”

  3. Fadanista says:

    Oh I enjoyed this post so much, although I got distracted between the shoes and the pyjamas and thought they were somehow part of the exhibition! I adored the shoes, so thank you for showing them, some of them were amazing – those blue ones!

    • I loved the shoes – there were even shoes to handle and try on if you were so inclined. Yes, the blue shoes with house martins were lovely. I honestly don’t think I could pick a favourite shoe as they all had a certain appeal.

  4. Love the shoes, what an interesting exhibit! And I’m so glad you got to see Grayson Perry! Cotton pjs are the best, I’m always so impressed with a properly made collar! πŸ˜‰

    • The shoes were great, but it was the tapestries we were actually there for. After your post I couldn’t ignore such a close exhibition!
      Thanks for the comment on the PJ’s. I’m hoping that if he’s cooler I will be too – anything for a good nights sleep πŸ™‚

  5. What a fantastic exhibition. I’d seen Celia’so post and enjoyed it so loved what you shared with us. Fabulous pjs and I am lusting after those white lace shoes!

  6. Roxane says:

    What a wonderful exhibit! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Trisha says:

    Croome Park is one my favorite places for a nice walk and to see how the house renovations are coming along, last year we had a cup of tea on the top of the scaffolding! I must go and have a look at the tapestries.

    • Tea on the scaffolding sounds amazing. The house wasn’t open when we first visited Croome, and clearly there has been a lot done. I’m very glad it’s not going to be a standard NT property – I loved way it was being used as a gallery. Hopefully there will be many more exhibitions.

  8. CurlsnSkirls says:

    First time I’ve seen modern tapestries & haven’t quite digested the. Quite . . . umm, different, aren’t they! The shoes are quite a display, and again different from what I’ve seen. Thank you so much for sharing your visit!

  9. sew2pro says:

    I’m really enjoying your retirement! All that activity, interesting visits and you’ve found the time to make the perfect pyjamas too.

    I once bumped into GP in a fabric shop! I think he was with his dressmaker. We went to his exhibition at the British Museum (at the same time I as I started blogging I think so 2012?). The children were outraged – but not traumatized πŸ™‚

    The crumbling house that changes hands and the servant girl’s shoes remind me of a novel I read you might enjoy called Little Stranger. It’s set after WW2.

    • I will look out for that book. Thank you Marijana.
      If you are enjoying this imagine what it’s going to be like when we actually retire! We are just getting into the right headspace at the moment (but enjoying it enormously πŸ˜ƒ)

  10. sewruth says:

    Great day out, lots to see and do and then come home and slip into something more comfortable. No wonder he hurried you along…

  11. I saw those tapestries a few years ago in London, aren’t they fabulous?

    Love the idea of the shoes exhibition too

  12. Carolyn says:

    It looks like a fabulous and very interesting exhibition, just my cup of tea πŸ™‚

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