It’s hard to believe Savage Manor is finally here. I have been envisioning it for years, ever since a relative told me our ancestor, Thomas Savage, had been Archbishop of York during the 16th century. He was appointed by Henry VII and served from 1501 until his death in 1507 and needless to say, I was quite intrigued. My genealogical research fueled that fascination even further and after I discovered that the family had a 16th century residence in Cheshire called Rocksavage Manor, I went full steam ahead on re-creating that ancestral home in miniature.
The home was long gone—demolished in the late 1800s, but my longing to re-create the lives of those who lived in it was unabating, almost obsessive. Now, after two years of collaborating with Mulvany & Rogers, the home of my ancestors in 1/12 scale has made its debut and it is even more magnificent that I could have imagined. Since there were no visual interpretations of the family home, it was designed by taking structural and decorative details from several prominent British estates from the same area that are still in existence. What emerged was an architectural masterpiece in miniature. I am proud to welcome you inside Savage Manor. Here’s a preview of just some of the rooms in the KSB Miniatures Collection’s newest commission.
The Winter Parlour: Here I imagine the fire dying down. A female member of the house has just finished a letter; others have ended their game of backgammon. What a warm and inviting room to do just about anything! The palette is driven by Frances Peterson’s gorgeous rug and accented by Lucy Askew’s green settee and checkered stool, but for me, the focal furnishings of this room are the tapestry chairs. Made by Alan Barnes and upholstered by Raffaele Tiozzo with antique needlework fabric, I simply cannot take my eyes off them. Alan also made the secretaire. Marquetry chest by Chris Malcomson. Silver tea kettle and stand by Mike Sparrow. Lantern clock by Malcolm Hall. Robert Ward made all the chandeliers in the home.
The Great Chamber: The Great Chamber of a manor has served many purposes over the centuries—as a reception area, a dining parlour, a private study for the lord of the house among them. In Savage Manor, I can see lively political discussions taking place here accompanied by fine cigars and a smooth vintage port. Truly, any activity in this room would be centered around the spectacular chimneypiece, inspired by the 1600 original in Wiltshire’s South Wraxall Manor. You can see it here, or take a peek inside the entire estate in The Country House Revealed, more or less a British version of the old Robin Leach series, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous sprinkled with bits of history and ancestral intrigue.
Just some of the outstanding pieces to note are the marquetry chest on stand by Chris Malcomson, gold gilt candelabra by Aurélie Masselin and silver bellows by Jens Torp. The addition of Phyllis Hawkes’ Armada Portrait of Elizabeth the 1st is perfect.
The Bedchamber: This is one of the most mesmerizing rooms in the manor. I envision myself retiring here—sinking into David Hurley’s Tudor bed, but not before admiring the rich tapestry scene so artfully created by Nicola Mascall and the finely stitched bed hanging by Isabelle Mulvany. The colors and textures of this room are spellbinding. You really need to see it in person to feel the vibrancy and warmth of it all. Mirror by Jens Torp. Galleon by Paul Briggs. Needlepoint sewing casket by Annelle Ferguson. Robe by Susan Parris.
The Great Hall: Savage Manor’s Great Hall is flanked by massive windows in the front of the structure. Like the Great Chamber, this enormous space would also have been multi-functional. In the miniature, there is a dining area, as well as a sitting area. Near the alcove, I portrayed where the lady of the house was doing needlework, aided by the illuminating light that would surely be shining through the amazing leaded glass.
Also featured is an important aspect of the story behind my ancestors’ home—the clerical clothing of Archbishop Savage. My vision for the manor was to portray a time frame after the lifetimes of the archbishop and his brother Sir John Savage, who built Rocksavage, but to include items throughout the home as a family tribute. The archbishop’s silk robe, miter made with genuine pearls and gems and slippers by Susan Parris are displayed in a trunk here to imply that they are treasured heirlooms from the Savage family history.
The Dining Parlour: Imagine a candlelit dinner in this room with the light flickering off the gold gilded leather wall hangings. These wallcoverings are undeniably beautiful and the focal point of this room. Created by Andrew Bembridge and enhanced by Mulvany & Rogers, the hand painted embossed hangings were inspired by those in Dyrham Park, a Baroque 17th century country house near Bath. Porcelain by Henny Staring-Egberts.
The Kitchens: The goings-on in a centuries-old English estate kitchen are mind-boggling. So many activities to keep a household running happened behind the scenes and there was so much work that we, in this era, could never comprehend. On the kitchen level of Savage Manor there is a pastry kitchen, a cold cellar, a roasting kitchen … even a room where floral arrangements and potpourri would have been made. Also included in this miniature is a game larder. While this storage area of freshly killed game was usually off-site for several reasons, I thought it was important to include because it was such an integral part of life during these times. All these areas emanate activity showing what life was like for all who lived and worked here.
There are so many other areas of Savage Manor that are not pictured here … the attic, hallways and passageways, the staircase, the views from unexpected places. There’s a visual surprise at every turn, which makes this piece so much fun to explore. Each setting provides a storyline and I hope viewers will make their own interpretations, as has always been my intent. Yes, this piece is special to me because it represents a part of my heritage, but it’s also a look into Tudor-Jacobean life and adds such a unique historical aspect to the collection. I love this piece and hope everyone who sees it will, too. Thank you to all the artisans who contributed to it.