A peak at Hinton Ampner, Bramdean, near Alresford, Hampshire, England
What would you do if a serious fire damaged your house? Rebuild it in the Regency style, with a few allowances for modern comfort. That's exactly what Ralph Dutton, the 8th and last Lord Sherborne did in 1960.
Now under the care of the National Trust, Hinton Ampner is a wonderful house to visit. It contains a fascinating collection of Georgian and Regency furniture, Italian paintings and objets d'art - just the sort of items one would bring back from a Continental Grand Tour. Rgency purists might dismiss this house as merely a 20th century copy of Regency life, to me as an author who loves the Georgrian and Regency periods it conjured up a feeling of, "Yes, I'll move in now." The entrance is inspirational, I could imagine one of my heroines peering over the banister rail, glimpsing perhaps the hero coming to call.
I ambled through the well-furnished rooms, stopped to sit at a desk, excuse the telephone in the picture, well we are really in the 21st century, aren't we? I could image myself writing notes to neighbours, answering my correspondence to relatives and friends in town and penning my own invitations to my next ball.
The house isn't large, but a gem not to be missed if you should find yourself in Hampshire.
I often set my novels in real houses, usually those now open in England through the National Trust, in my next blog I shall be talking about the houses featured in my debut novel, "Marrying the Admiral's Daughter" whic also feature in the sequel "Captain Westwood's Inheritance" due out in February 2013. Both under the Aurora Regency imprint of Musa Publishing.