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In 1842 Charles Darwin sought refugefrom the rigours of London life when heand his wife Emma, six monthspregnant with their third child, moved toDown Housein the pretty Kentishvillage of Downe, six years after hisreturn from his epic voyage on HMSBeagle.Darwin soon set about adding to andaltering the Georgian house hedescribed as 'oldish and ugly,' doublingits size over 40 years to accommodatehis growing family. He and Emma hadten children, seven of whom survived to maturity.Down House provided him with asanctuary where he could concentrateon his experiments and writing, whileindulging the noise and laughter of hischildren as they grew up. Stepping into the house today, it is stillevery inch the Darwin family home. FromDarwin's original study overflowing withhis books, scientific instruments andpersonal items, to the intimate familyrooms, it is crammed with a comfortableclutter of period Victorian furniture,family portraits and photographs. It now also houses an exhibitiontracing Darwin's life and work, featuringrare original personal objects andmanuscripts and a full-sizeAbove:Horses atAudley EndHouse andGardensLeft, top:The OldStudy at TheHome of CharlesDarwin, DownHouseLeft, bottom:Thedomed EntranceHall at ElthamPalace andGardensreconstruction of the cramped cabinwhich was his home for five years duringhis epic adventure on the Beagle. Outside the 18-acre estatesurrounding the house looks much as itwould have done when it served asDariwn's 'outdoor laboratory,' where hetested his theories on evolution.The Home of Charles Darwin, DownHouse, Downe, near Orpington, KentBR6 7JT Open Wed-Sun until mid-Dec; closed mid-Dec-Jan, re-opensWed-Sun 1 Feb 2011. Furtherinformation: call 01689 859119 or visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/downhouseIn Greenwich in south-east London,Eltham Palace & Gardensbears thestamp of fashionable socialites Stephenand Virginia Courtauld. A masterpiece of1930s design, the mansion, which is onthe site of a Tudor royal palace, capturesthe glamour and allure of their millionairelifestyle. A show house of its day, theCourtaulds spared no expense byinstalling the very best and latest fixturesand fittings to impress their friends,attending the large parties and dinnersthey hosted. Cutting-edgeaccoutrements included electric clocks,push button phones and a centralisedvacuum cleaning system - still inworking order today. Architectural highlights include aspectacular domed entrance hall with amarquetry panel by Swedish artist JerkWerkmäster and Virginia Courtauld'sluxurious gold mosaic-tiled bathroomdesigned by Malacrida. The house adjoins the survivingmedieval Great Hall of Eltham Palace,childhood home of King Henry VIII andstands in a tranquil oasis of moatedgardens, with herbaceous borders,terraces, lawns and mature trees.Eltham Palace and Gardens, LondonSE9 5QE Open Sun-Wed until end-Dec (except 24-26 Dec); closed Jan,re-opens Sun-Wed 1 Feb 2011.Further information: call 020 82942548 or visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/elthampalacewww.nadfas.org.ukNADFAS REVIEW / AUTUMN201037English Heritage offers a generous 15%discount for groups of 11 or morepaying visitors. A tour leader and coachdriver are admitted free per coach. Group visits and guided tours must bepre-booked at each site - for moreinformation, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/traveltrade

38NADFAS REVIEW / AUTUMN 2010Christopher Lloyd, President ofNADFAS, likes to say with typicalmodesty that he lives in theunfashionable part of Suffolk far awayfrom the smart Constable Country andthe picture postcard villages ofLavenham and Long Melford. And ifhistoric, remote, quiet and breathtakinglybeautiful equals 'unfashionable', he iscertainly right.Masterful collectionClare Pardy, Fine Art Underwriting Manager at the specialist insurer Ecclesiastical, meetsNADFAS President Christopher Lloyd and his wife Frances at their Suffolk home to uncoverthe personal stories and friendships that lie behind their collection of artCHRISTOPHER LLOYDThe house is an old moated siterecorded in the Domesday Book andwhat was a relatively modest timberframed old hall house was 'Georgianised'in about 1810 to produce Frances'sdream 'little Jane Austen house'.Although rescuing it from its DIY past hasbeen a long and painstaking process,none of that hard work is evident whenwe visit on a perfect English summer'sday and are greeted by two Labradors,Pickle and the elderly lame Monty.Instead, we are immediately struck byhow comfortable and unspoilt the houselooks amid its barns and outbuildings,hidden from the road across the fields bya screen of trees.And, once inside, theapparent ease with which the Lloydshave succeeded in restoring its originalproportions and accommodating its richhistory in updating it to a family home arereadily apparent. Christopher refers to itas a palimpsest and as Frances talksabout the gulley in the kitchen floororiginally used for cheesemaking and thesluice gate in the cellar for washing andsoftening the flax (which explains thehouse's name of Linstead Hall), thehouse begins to reveal its many secrets.After we've had coffee under the crabapple tree, we start to talk about thepictures, prints and objects in the houseand what first sparked Christopher'sinterest in art history. An inspirationalmaster when at school at MarlboroughCollege, the Print Room of theAshmolean Museum (where he wentevery week in his last year at ChristChurch, Oxford), Villa I Tatti in Florencefor a year and an appointment at The ArtInstitute of Chicago have all contributedto his deep love of the Renaissance andwere the grounding for his subsequentpassion for the Impressionist artistCamille Pissarro and for much modernand contemporary art. But it is to theAshmolean that we return as we start totalk about some of the pictures thatparticularly caught my eye. "The PrintRoom job was so marvellous because itwas an opportunity to meet the greatestauthorities in the subject," Christopherconfides, as he begins to explain why heis so fond of the wonderful aquatint byGeorges Rouault of the Ecce Homo."Rouault was profound although prolific -in many ways 'the poor man'sRembrandt'." The print was bought for£30 or thereabouts in the early 1970sfrom Fred Mulder at the very start of hiscareer as a distinguished print dealer.Indeed, it is friendship that lies at theheart of much of the collection. When hebecame Surveyor of The Queen'sPictures and moved into St James'sPalace, Christopher began to forge linkswith contemporary galleries such asPurdy Hicks and through them took theopportunity to meet artists and visit theirstudios. Arturo Di Stefano was notableamong these and it is a large abstract byhim that I ask Christopher about next."Looking at contemporary art broadensthe mind," he tells me as he elaborateson the artist's technique of counter-proofing in oil and informs me that one ofArturo's principal sources of inspiration isthe poetry of TS Eliot.Photography: © Richard Proctor