This week I have had the unique opportunity to visit the birth place of photography, Lacock Abbey, the home of William Henry Fox Talbot, the inventor of photography with the positive, negative process. This was a brilliant opportunity to see first-hand the home and places of experimentation of Talbot and were photography came from, also to see the where the first photograph was taken.
The village of Lacock have been preserved, with some buildings built in Medieval and Tudor times, the last owners (before the National Trust) being the Talbots. In some of the rooms there are possessions of the last living owners, this provides a unique and informative view of how they lived in the Victorian period. It was very interesting to see how the time periods changed throughout the Abbey, from when the nuns ran it and how the rooms where simple yet useable without lavish furnishings and how it developed into a lavish home with multiple styles of furnishings, with the multitude of books spread throughout the Abbey.
When looking around and going room to room as the time periods progressed I was stuck with a sense of awe; as I couldn’t ever imagine living in a home that grand with a vast collection of books and furnishings. The detail in everything was beautiful from the door frames, to the chairs and beds, it shows the pride and care that has been taken to produce this home.
I spoke to several of the volunteers about the rooms but the one that stood out to me the most was the great hall, the last room on the tour of the Abbey. The size and the décor with the figures made me think about living there and how empty it must have been with only a small handful of people living there. The volunteer told me that these figures where made cheaply as they were running out of money but still had to have the most in style living spaces, however you wouldn’t know this. The last member of the family to live here had used this room as a main living quarters, like a living room.