Google+ Followers

Thursday, 18 August 2016

A Very Special Window

  Yesterday I gave a little peep through some of the doors into Lacock Abbey. Today I am showing another very specific part of this property namely some of the windows. I have chosen this because No. 12 on the list for The Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt is A Window. 
  My first glimpse of the Abbey told me that there was going to be some interesting windows. This petal window was clear to see above the front door.

What was very evident was that there is quite a selection of different styles and ages of windows. There is a Tudor courtyard with small lead light windows.

The abbey itself had an extraordinary collection of different windows just along one wall.

Like so many National Trust properties the blinds are tightly shut to minimise any damage from ultraviolet light. It is easy to see why this is necessary but the result can be very gloomy rooms.

This next window is particularly special although I didn't appreciate that when I took this picture. I shall reveal why later or perhaps you already know.

Not all were so grand.

Some are possible victims of the window tax when in the 18th and 19th Century when houses were taxed depending on the number of windows. It was common for some windows to be bricked up to minimise cost.

This turret is on the last corner before you enter the cloisters.

The cloisters themselves step back to an even earlier time with stone mullion frames which are all around the square and are not glazed.

The chapter house is another early part of the abbey with more ecclesiastical type windows.

Another room off the cloisters had a high up window that could be reached by stone steps and looked out onto the Tudor courtyard almost like a peep hole. The steps are now quite rough so I persuaded my friend's husband to climb up with my camera!

Once we entered the house most windows were as I have previously mentioned shuttered so were not worth photographing. We then however came to the very special window that we have already seen from outside. William Henry Fox Talbot was one of the owners of Lacock Abbey. He was a key figure in the invention of photography. The museum in Lacock outlines his inventions and the importance of this in early photography. This very latticed window was the subject for what is thought to be the oldest negative taken in August 1835 when he placed his camera on the mantle piece to take it.

What more appropriate picture of a window can there be for a Photography Scavenger Hunt? Something that really struck me in the Fox Talbot museum was a comparison of time in taking pictures over the years. An early photograph had an incredibly long shutter speed of up to 10 or 15 minutes when people had to sit completely still.This was then followed by a long and complicated process of developing involving various chemicals. Even in the 60s when shutter speeds were so much quicker we had to wait patiently for a week or so for our photos to be processed. Then came the 1 hour service if you were willing to pay a little more. Then today? The speed in which a photo is taken on a rapid shutter speed and saved is as little time as 1.6 seconds on a modern smart phone. An instant capture of every aspect of life!


  1. fabulous selection of windows and love the historic link - a beautiful window for a photo

  2. Lovely. Now I want to visit Lacock again..

  3. Oh yes, it definitely has to be that window for the hunt! Great that you got the light coming in too.
    Mary-Lou will be pleased to see all these following my failure to tour/photograph the abbey back in April!

  4. Spectacular - I figured out the special window. Loved the tour.