Monday, February 19, 2007

Violets on the Wall

On Saturday we visited the excellent Abbey House Museum, just across the road from Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds.

I've been there many, many times before - it was a favourite haunt when Emily was little - but they refurbished it a few years ago and it's always worth a visit.

There's a street of 1880s Leeds shops:

There are also some exhibits of typical Victorian rooms. My favourite used to be the Victorian parlour upstairs, but sadly that went with the refurbishment of a few years ago and it's now downstairs and smaller:

What I particularly liked about it before was its size: it was the size of an actual room, not just part of one, and I loved, as a child, to imagine the ladies in crinolines actually living in it.

But my favourite room now is this one:

Why? It's the wallpaper. When our family moved to the house where I live now, when I was three, my bedroom was the little one just at the top of the stairs - now our spare room for visitors - and my parents decorated it with identical yellow wallpaper with its pattern of bunches of violets. Very faded now, of course, in the museum - and in our house it's long gone and now the walls are plain white.

I loved that wallpaper - even as a very small child I loved the violets because they reminded me of the Lake District and the violets there.

It's very well-known that smells can take you back to a certain time, a place - - in fact there's a whole exhibition in the museum about smells. Wallpaper isn't, perhaps, so well-known on the nostalgia front. But in most of my years as a young child I would wake up and see that wallpaper and every time I see it now I am seven again, waking up and looking at the violets and then drawing the curtains to see the apple tree outside the window.


Blogger Silverback said...

THAT'S what Smelly Aisle in Sainsburys needs. Some wallpaper along the shelf edges !!!

12:26 am  
Blogger AmyTree said...

I love that museum!!!! Was very pleased when it opened - the Abbey so deserves a visitor centre - enjoy it for me!!!


8:33 am  

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