RPS East Midlands at Clumber Park

I organised a visit to Clumber Park yesterday and invited members of the Royal Photographic Society East Midlands Region. It was the first trip of the year, and it was a blast.

As I drove to Clumber from home, the skies were blue, then grey, then rainy, and then blue with a rainbow. I feltĀ  unsettled, but by the time we started to group together for coffee the skies had decided on blue, and the temperature was really warm for February. It stayed like that all day, as this image I took of the church in the afternoon proves. We felt lucky.

RPS Visit Clumber Zine Coming Soon

After coffee, we ambled over to the Clumber Heritage Hub for a guide walk put on my NT volunteers, Sue, Christine, and Benedict. Graeme, one of the RPS photographers was especially pleased to see Sue, as it turned out they have known each other for 34 years.

After an initial briefing by the NT volunteers we set off for the Walled Garden to hear about the love-life of the Dukes and their ladies. Well it is February!

As we walked around the walled garden Sue, Christine, and Benedict took it in turns to tell us the story of the Dukes and their ladies. My only dissapointment of the day is that they could not share the script they read from, because the intellectual property of the content belongs to the National Trust. I would have really enjoyed studying the detail in my own time, instead I turned to my research assistant ‘Chat GTP’ who wrote this for me:

‘The saga of the Dukes of Newcastle under Lyne is steeped in scandal, intrigue, and betrayal, with each generation adding its own twist to the family’s colorful history. At the center of this drama lies the most notorious tale of all: the ill-fated union between the heir to the dukedom and Lady Susan Hamilton.

Lady Susan Hamilton, a figure of beauty and charm, captured the heart of the Duke’s heir, igniting a passion that seemed destined for eternity. Yet, fate had other plans in store. Their once-promising marriage took a tumultuous turn when Lady Susan’s affections strayed to the captivating Horatio Walpole, setting off a chain of events that would reverberate throughout high society.

The scandalous affair between Lady Susan and Walpole rocked the aristocratic circles of Newcastle under Lyne, leaving tongues wagging and reputations tarnished. Despite the fervent whispers of disapproval, Lady Susan brazenly abandoned her husband for Walpole, plunging headlong into a passionate but ultimately fleeting romance.

However, the euphoria of newfound love soon soured as Walpole, too, turned his back on Lady Susan, leaving her adrift in a sea of heartbreak and humiliation. The divorce that followed was nothing short of sensational, captivating the public imagination and cementing Lady Susan’s notoriety as one of the era’s most scandalous figures.

In the aftermath of her shattered marriage, Lady Susan found herself thrust into the limelight once more, this time as one of the fallen women rescued by the esteemed William Gladstone. Her redemption story, though tinged with the scars of her past indiscretions, offered a glimmer of hope amidst the wreckage of her personal life.

The tale of the Dukes of Newcastle under Lyne and the infamous love triangle between Lady Susan, her husband, and Horatio Walpole, serves as a cautionary reminder of the precarious nature of love and desire in the rigid confines of Victorian society. It is a story of passion, betrayal, and ultimately, redemption, echoing through the annals of history as a testament to the enduring allure of scandal’

There was a lot of talk about Rhubarb, and its connection with love and marriage. I caught Gordan on his kness at stalk height. Not sure if he was photographing or proposing …

We also visited the Glass House, which was spectacular. Tony in his red trouser was easy to spot amongst the crown, which Rob spotted the Duke, and Malcolm focussed in on the lovely smells of the flowers.

After lunch, which was lovely and the staff at Clumber looked after us really well, I headed off to the path down to the Pleasure Gardens. I was looking for Lichen (see below), which I had read about in the Nature’s Calendar. I think I found some, but I need to do some reseach to double check.

I spent quite a while on the path to the pleasure gardens creating what I hope will be an interesting project.

Looking forward to our next visit to Clumber, when the seasons have once again changed the photographic studio we will find ourselves in,

Regards for now

Stewart