Greenway's cabinet of curiosities

The cupboards in the Winter Dining Room at Greenway are filled with collections

We're highlighting curiosities of Greenway's collection throughout the year and inviting you to respond creatively to them. Perhaps an object suggests a character to you, a subtle plot, or a poem?

Greenway's curious collection

Traditionally a cabinet of curiosities might have contained curious objects from around the world, items from nature, and other intrigues. We have searched the collection at Greenway for things that are usually hidden away, and each month are bringing them into focus. In the Winter Dining Room each month's items will form the centre of a display in our 'cabinet of curiosities' and will feature here on the website along with a writing prompt.



A writing box at Greenway
A writing box on display at Greenway

Let's start with this delightful writing box, to inspire you to get your pens and paper at the ready.

Writing prompt for the month: consider a character associated with this box. It could be the person who made it, the person who commissioned it, the person it was made for, a person who was interested in buying it. Write a short description of this person, and a paragraph of their thoughts when they first saw the finished box. 

Find out more about the writing box by clicking here


The shell image usually hangs to the left of the fireplace
The Morning Room at Greenway

In honour of Valentine's Day, February's curious collection item is a shell picture with a heart at its centre. It is usually found hanging in the Morning Room, but for this month is the centre of the exhibition in the Winter Dining Room. It's one of a pair of shell pictures, circa 1800. Similar pictures are thought to have been produced in shipping ports, for sailors to buy to bring home for their sweethearts. 

Writing prompt for the month: what do you think is special about Greenway? Could you write a love letter or poem to it, or choose another special place and dedicate your love letter to that? What is your special place like? Why do you love it? How does it make you feel?

See the shell picture in more detail by clicking here

March and beyond

In March, when Mother's Day is in our thoughts, the exhibition will be reflecting on family relationships and special friendships. You'll soon be able to see here what the key item will be, and find out about the writing prompt for the month. Throughout the year, the curious collection's key items will be listed here before they go on display, so please do check back to find out what's coming up.