The homecoming of the long-lost portrait of John ‘The Magnificent’ Smith Barry was celebrated this evening (Thursday 23rd August 2018) at Fota House. The painting was jointly acquired by Fota House in collaboration with the Royal Cork Yacht Club Continue reading →
When you enter the green door into the Frameyard, you are immediately met with a wonderful smell of vanilla. Straight in front of you is a fabulous shrub/small tree and it’s called Azara Microphylla ‘Variegata’.
An arboretum is a collection of different trees that can be cultivated for pleasure and beauty – such as in a very large garden or plantation. Or it may be used for the botanical study of the tree specimens contained in it.The name comes from arbor, the Latin word for tree.
In the second half of the 19th century there was a craze for ferns.This obsession came to be known as ‘fern fever’ or pteridomania – named after the Latin name for ferns which is pteridophytes. Ferns were collected, studied and admired on a very, very wide scale.As well as becoming a feature in gardens and as houseplants the fern was ubiquitous as a decorative motif.Fern patterns could be found on glassware, china, fabric, pottery, stucco and much more.In fact if you look carefully at the corbels in the billiard room in Fota – now the café- you can see ferns in the plasterwork.
The Dining Room at Fota was created by the Morrisons (architects Richard and his son William Vitruvius) in the early 1820s; the plasterwork on the ceilings and frieze on the higher parts of the walls is very decorative. On the ceiling, the usual motifs associated with wining and dining – perfectly formed grapes and vine leaves – are in abundance.
John Charles Beswick’s Philips’ London School-Board Atlas
Whilst research was being made for the Irish Heritage Trust publications Aspects of Fota, a very kind donation of archival material was made by a gentleman in England who had connections to the Beswick family. The Beswicks lived and worked on the estate around the turn of the 19th/20th century, William Beswick (b.1854) being Head Gardener.
Among the items donated is a school atlas which belonged to their youngest son, John Charles Beswick, born in Cork on the 8th October 1888. His name is inscribed and stamped on the title page of the book, published in 1901. Apart from being an interesting document in itself, where one can see the Ireland of 1901 with its then major rail and high ways, the atlas is part of a collection of items pertaining to Charles.