Canons Ashby isn't the most exciting or interesting of the National Properties I've seen lately, but it has a warmth to it. It's not dripping in expensive pictures or porcelain, but it has an interesting history and pleasant gardens. The restaurant is also good, being cheap compared to other NT properties in the area, and much nicer. Two courses for £7.50 (chicken pie and veg, fruit crumble and cream)
Henry Dryden had the oak bookcases made in the 1840's. Most of the important books from the Book Room were sold early in the 20th century, including a celebrated copy of the First Folio of Shakespeare, which was recently re-sold in New York for £4.2 million.
You can see that the fireplace above, has 2 iron rods in it. This is to support the weight of the the fireplace above it and also a bit of the ceiling.
The whole room was apparently moving into the garden and the external walls were in the lead on the journey, being 18 inches out of true, before the NT stepped in to rescue it. The ceiling has a wooden frame underneath, from which the plaster work hangs. They've had to build internal scaffolding behind the walls and above the ceiling. You can't see any of it of course, and it seems to have done the trick.
The top pictures are scenes from the bible, but with clothing and landscapes from the area at the time of painting.
The biblical scenes are done in grey, and where you can see a white outline, this was originally thick black lines. The paint has fallen off to reveal the plasterwork.
I thought the donkeys ears were a little large, but what do I know??!
Nothing was said about how successful it was.