Ham House stars in Anna Karenina
Ham House in London hits the big screen in Anna Karenina, the latest adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s great novel.
Starring Keira Knightley in the title role with Jude Law playing her husband Aleksei Karenin and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Count Vronsky, the film is directed by Joe Wright who worked with Knightley on Pride and Prejudice and Atonement.
In this classic tale of love and adultery set against the backdrop of high society in Moscow and St Petersburg, Ham House, a sumptuous red-brick mansion on the southern bank of the River Thames, is transformed into Vronksy’s grand apartments.
Ham House transformed into grand Russian mansion
Camilla Churchill, Assistant House Steward at the property explained what it was like to play host to such a huge film:
'Situated within the M25, Ham is close to Shepperton Studios where almost all of the film was shot, so it was a privilege to be one of the few real locations in the film.
'The Long Gallery on the first floor of the house with its opulent Baroque decor, all gold-gilded wooden panelling, fine oil paintings and parquet floor meant it was picture-perfect to play the role of Vronsky’s grand but empty apartments in 19th century St Petersburg.
'The crew spent three days setting up, including frosting the outside of our second story windows and hiding all the modern light fittings. Eight scenes with Keira Knightley and Aaron Johnson were filmed over two days with several set changes.'
Film industry helps conservation work
Ham is one of the top National Trust places used by the filming industry, and has also featured in The Young Victoria, Never Let Me Go and Disney’s John Carter.
Camilla added: 'Thanks to production companies such as Universal Pictures choosing National Trust places as locations for their feature films people can follow in the footsteps of the stars and visit the ‘set’.
'But it’s not just visitors that benefit, as any film location fees earned at National Trust places, go in their entirety to maintain that specific site, to care for it in the future.
'Thanks to Ham’s role in Anna Karenina we’ve been able to replace the underlay beneath one of our oldest and most precious carpets – a really important piece of conservation work that we wouldn’t have been able to carry out for some years.'