At Kiplin Hall you’ll encounter of stories about adventure enjoyed by members of the four families who lived there – the Calverts, Crowes, Carpenters, and Talbots. During the current lockdown we’d like to share a glimpse through the keyhole, exploring a different room each week. This week we take a peek inside the Traveller's Bedroom

From the crumbling yellow bathroom visitors once again step across the servant’s corridor and are transported to a room gilt with golden glamour. The Traveller’s Bedroom is filled with fabulous furniture and artefacts from far flung lands. Members of the extended families who owned, lived at, or visited Kiplin travelled all around the world at different periods and brought back items from their travels.

The spectacular bed is Italian and dates from the late 18th century. It is said to have been brought by Bridget Talbot (the last owner of Kiplin Hall) from Ashridge Park, the home of her aunt, Lady Adelaide Talbot, in the 1930s. The bed is painted and parcel gilt and contains an extraordinary mixture of symbols and mythological figures. The four finials on the upper corners have double-headed eagles, symbols of the Byzantine and Habsburg Empires, among others. On the base, at the corner of each side, is a Talbot hound from the Talbot coat of arms. An inscription in Italian on the top of the bed indicates that it once had a canopy, the hangings are late 19th century Arts and Crafts.

On either side of the bed are two Chinese paintings of an elderly man and his wife, with other family members, shown on a house terrace and in the courtyard. In Chinese culture, a long, healthy and prosperous life is most admirable. Pine trees symbolise longevity, steadfastness, and self-discipline. The Crane is the most valued bird in Chinese culture and is the ancient symbol for longevity because of its exceptionally long life span. The Peacock symbolises dignity and beauty. The Lotus flowers on the pond symbolise purity of the heart and mind and represent longevity, humility, honour and tranquillity.

The Northern Echo:

Kiplin Hall can reopen its doors to the historic house museum on Saturday, July 4 in line with new government guidance. The gardens have been open since early June

The painted leather screen appears to be Chinese but is actually English Chinoiserie (made in England) and dates from about 1750. The Savonarola (X-frame) chairs are mid-18th century and come from Goa in India. They are made of ebony with delicate ivory inlay, including the figures of a 17th century lady and gentleman on the chair backs. The telescope made by Dollond, may have belonged to John Delaval Carpenter, or Admiral Carpenter’s father.

The wonderful mid-17th century paintings of Japanese ships belonged to Bridget Talbot’s elder brother, Humphrey, and hung in his Elizabethan house, Swakeleys in Middlesex, in the 1920s. They depict the visit of a Korean Embassy to Japan and were originally one long scroll. Between 1607 and 1811 there were 12 diplomatic missions from Korea to Japan. More ships from the same scroll survive as a screen in a private collection in Japan, and a further four paintings hang in the Servants’ Corridor.

The Northern Echo:

This little Irish souvenir is a salt and pepper shaker but was actually made in Japan, so probably travelled further than the people who purchased it on that trip

The cabinet in the corner of the room contains a number of souvenirs. The provenance of many of the items is unknown; however, we can make assumptions as to where and when some of the items may have come from. One novel item is a ceramic salt and pepper pot from Ireland made in the 1950’s. Inscribed on the back in Irish ‘An Tseapain Tir a Dheanta’ which translates to ‘Made in Japan’! As it turns out this item may well have travelled further than the people who purchased it.

  • Kiplin Hall can reopen the doors to the historic house and museum on Saturday, July 4, in line with new government guidance. Visitors will experience a slightly different route around the hall to ensure social distancing. Contact tracing will also be taking place, and a number of other measures to keep visitors, volunteers, and staff safe. Always check opening times online or social media as these may be subject to changes should government advice shift.