Friday, March 1, 2013

A Teddy Bear's Picnic... and a Historic Home

Bright and early last Sunday morning. I once again packed up the car and headed off to the historic Rippon Lea mansion for their annual Teddy Bear's Picnic. It was the second time I attended as a stall holder, and despite my initial hesitations about going, and the less then favourable weather forecast (32 degrees!), that morning I felt a sense of calm come over me. I had done my best to prepare for it, and no matter what challenges the day would throw at me, I was determined to make it a good day. And for the most part it was.

Sharing a stall with four other local designers - BabyButton, Fourzero, Piccaninny Rugs and LimeDaisy Design - we stocked our stall with a variety of goodies to please both boys and girls of all ages.

Our Combined stall. And, Yes, we remembered our teddies!!
One side of our stall showing delightful play rugs, balloon bags and cute softies by Piccaninny Rugs.
And the other side packed full of goodies by Fourzero, LimeDaisy Design, BabyButton and, of course yours truly, Minky Minx!

Of course, besides the many other market stalls on offer, there was plenty to keep the kids entertained, including rides and bear hugs, ice cream and parades...


But there were also things for the grown ups to enjoy too, such as visit the historic mansion. Thankfully this is something I too managed to do, and was most certainly the highlight of the day for me, especially as I had not done so for quite some time.

The historic Ripponlea mansion - built in 'polychromatic romanesque' style.
The grand entrance way with original marble pillars and stained glass window doors.
The living room - restyled in Hollywood glamour during the 30's.
Lovely period details - a stunning parquetry floor and gilded fireplace mirror. 
The dining room.
The grand staircase, with original Victorian wallpaper, over-painted in white in the 1930's. Can you imagine how it might have looked in the 1800's when it was embossed in gold?
The 'green' bathroom - in the 'jazzed up' style of the 1930's. Oh, did you spot Mr Ripponlea Bear??
The master 'best' bedroom overlooking the lawns. Note the original Oriental screen given to Frederick and Marian Sargood as a wedding gift in 1858.
The master bathroom, complete with 'modern' plumbing.
A rocking horse (which may have been ridden by the Sargood family children) and elaborate cast iron plant stand.

I'm not sure why, but it was only really until I explored the servants' quarters downstairs, that one of my favourite period dramas - Downton Abbey - came to mind. It felt as if, at any moment, Mr Carson or Mrs Patmore might come around a corner, and ask me what I was doing there. After being locked up for fifty years, it was wonderful to get a glimpse at the beating heart of the house, and see how it might have been 100 years ago.

The original Victorian kitchen.
The pantry and cool room.
Although used as a laundry in the 1930's (hence the sink under the window??), this was originally the servants' sitting room, where they could spend their 'time-off'. 

While the house has undergone much change in it's lifetime, and sadly only a few of the original furnishings remain, it is still wonderful that it remains today along with much of its extensive gardens, in much the same way as it's last occupant, Mrs Louisa Jones, left it. It therefore is a magnificent example of how such stately homes changed and adapted with time.

Now in the safe hands of the National Trust of Australia, this is a property well worth visiting for yourself. By doing so, you will not only get a glimpse at life now long gone, but also help preserve this unique house for others to enjoy.

~ ♥ ~

Congratulations too, to the winner of our fabulous 'Baby Hamper' - N. Brain!! We hope you enjoy your prize!