New: Objects from the collection

The Stricklands have lived at Sizergh for over 750 years, so it’s no surprise that the castle is home to a large and diverse collection of over 2400 objects. Each item gives us a glimpse through time, telling the story of the family’s faith, tastes and even royal connections. With items varying from Australian boomerangs, shields and spears to a lock of King James II’s hair, every month we’ll add something new to the list to give you an idea of the weird and wonderful items in our care.

Fish bowl

June

As bright and as decorative as this Chinese mid-18th century porcelain might be, it’s doubtful that your average Goldfish would have appreciated this back when these were all the rage. Somewhat lacking in a view from the inside, this fish bowl, one of a pair, would have been used in the 1700s as an ornamental feature, with fish swimming and splashing around inside. You can see the fish bowls in the Drawing Room, where today, and perhaps thankfully, the only creature to be found in this bowl is the occasional confused spider.

sizergh sword

May 2019

Senior House Steward Matt, has selected an object with a lot of clout! This huge sword, of German origin, stands at 5ft tall and is proudly displayed in the medieval Banqueting Hall. An early 16th century sword made in the style of Edward III c1350, it would have been used either as a ceremonial sword or as a defensive pike against cavalry – “it’s way too big to be wielded so has no real practical use in battle other than as a pike. It’s so big that if you were to swing it around to strike the enemy on the battlefield, you would need such a large area to do so that you would end up completely exposed to attack.”

sizergh paintings

April 2019

This month, our Project Curator Georgina has selected her favourite painting in the collection. “Sizergh is known for its impressive portraits of the Strickland family, but this easily forgotten work is the oldest painting we have at Sizergh, and for me, the most beautiful. An oil on board, painted in 1574, it sits in a relatively humble frame. Depicting the darkness that fell at midday, the foreboding skies, the darkened sun and the crescent moon, this composition is packed full of symbolism and allegory. It hangs in the Boyton Bedroom, and is a wonderfully preserved reminder of the Catholic faith carried with the family through eight centuries of history.

Flemish tapestry depicting Antony and Cleopatra meeting

March 2019

The tale of Antony and Cleopatra may be a seductive story of power, manipulation, war and death, but at Sizergh, the couple face a very different battle. The Meeting of Antony & Cleopatra is one of a set of five 17th-century Flemish tapestries that still hang in the Library today. It is in urgent need of specialist conservation, which in total will cost £77,000, and is at the centre of Sizergh’s fundraising this year. Cleopatra is known for her extravagances. She bathed in donkey milk daily and drank a huge pearl dissolved in vinegar - the sort of luxury a Queen with a net worth estimated at $95.8 billion is able to indulge in!