My wife is a woman not prone to exaggeration and says that our recent visit to Rokeby Hall and Park must rank as among the best ‘big houses’ she has visited in recent times. Being a mere man, who am I to disagree? I suspect she was influenced by the
collection of fine needlework pictures by Anne Morritt which date back to the 1700s while the rare surviving ‘print room’ decorated with 18th century prints, the death mask of Mary, Queen of Scots, and copy of Velasquez’s ‘Toilet of Venus’ (the original is in the National Gallery) in Rokeby Hall’s salon were, I have to say, much more to my taste. The hall is open only on certain days and so it would be wise to check in advance. It’s also worth noting that there’s nowhere to acquire refreshment on site. For my money, these are the only downsides to what is a delightful place to visit. Just a short and very pleasant stroll from the house is a gorge with the River Greta flowing through it, an area that attracted legendary painter JMW Turner and is still popular with local artists. Another big plus has to be the quality of the commentary given to our party of ‘Friends of St Edmund’s Church in Sedgefield’ by our guide, a most interesting and knowledgeable chap. I very much regret that I cannot remember his name.
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