Returning historic collection

Croome porcelain

A unique approach has been taken to display the returning historic collection to the house. Historical objects from the 6th Earl of Coventry’s collection will be returning with some key pieces, absent from the house for over 70 years.

In 1948, an uncertain future for the Coventry family lay ahead with the sale of Croome Court and its collection looming.

Many of the contents of Croome Court were sold at an auction, and others were acquired by museums in the UK and America, after the Coventry family were forced to sell their ancestral home.  The remainder of the collection, only a fifth of the original contents of the house, returns in late October for visitors to see.  

Two artists were commissioned to create original works to present select pieces from the collection in ways that are thought-provoking and respond to Croome’s spirit of ‘expect the unexpected’.

The entrance hall is the first room encountered and it is here that three of the original 18th century hall chairs are displayed.  Croome has shifted away from traditional ways of exhibiting historic pieces to capture visitors interest and curiosity in objects. 

Artist Will Datson has created an eye-catching artistic installation, an entanglement of chairs, entitled 'Chair Play'. The other seven chairs from the set will be displayed later in the year when the rest of the remaining collection returns.

" It was my task to display the original hall chairs in a new way. We all see chairs every day, and usually ignore them, so I’ve attempted to create something out-of-the-ordinary, dramatic and playful, that’s hard to ignore."
- Will Datson, artist

Moving into the Billiard Room, visitors are taken on a poetic and visual journey with an introductory film about Croome's beginnings to it’s modern day setting.  

On entering the Dining Room, you are greeted by a giant reflective golden box….a ‘room within a room’.   Walking through the reflective cube, whose interior is encrusted with exquisite pieces of Meissen, Worcester and Sevres porcelain, enables visitors to view Croome’s porcelain collection.  Hundreds of plates, terrines, vases and teapots adorn its walls and ceiling, allowing up close inspection in a highly unusual setting. 

A video by Dr Rosalind Savill, a world expert on Sevrés porcelain, and well-known artist, Bouke De Vries, who created the dramatic installation both tell the story of the porcelain and the creative process behind the display of the pieces.

Taking pride of place in the centre of the atmospheric Lord’s Dressing Room are the ‘Treasures of Croome’.  Two beautifully crafted 18th century Adamesque commodes (taken from the French word ‘commode’ meaning chest of drawers) were made by famous cabinet makers Maynew & Ince and a short video shows their interiors and how they were once used.  

" Redefining the Country House for the 21st Century has seen some fantastic projects over the last few years at Croome, telling the stories in new, innovative and surprising ways."
- Richard Higgs, Croome’s Senior Project Manager