Susanne Atkin

Photography and Local History

Croome  in art

Croome Court is a National Trust property in Worcestershire surrounded by a landscape park and estates originally owned by the Coventry family; the house and landscape were both designed by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown in the mid 18th century.


Monochrome images were printed on to textured paper and hand-coloured. In the grotto image below, taken some years ago, small holes were punched through, then backed by coloured tissue paper, resembling a technique used in the 19th century.


The grotto by the lake had been constructed in the later 18th century for Barbara St John, the second wife of the 6th Earl of Coventry, using tufa and Coade stone decorated with corals, crystals of quartz and 'Blue John': the effect must have been quite magical. Descriptions of Its original appearance gave a context for the coloured light shining through the rocks. The coloured image was re-photographed against sunlight; the red on the fake tree trunk resembles the original colour.

The image of the Court below, with no punched holes or tissue, is one of a number of explorations of the hand-colouring technique using the Croome landscape.

cr065 moon

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With thanks to Jose Forrest-Tennant for introducing me to the hand-colouring technique during her time as artist-in-residence at Croome Court.