OVERVIEW Charlecote Park and Compton Verney were both built as grand private houses, occupied by their founding families until the 20th century. They are now both open to the public, but offer contrasting visions of Britain.
This article, by S A Mathieson, is of particular interest because I have links to both of these places. I work at Charlecote and my husband at Compton! The piece also nicely references the RSC production, Love’s Labour’s Lost. We saw this late 2014 and I am hoping we manage to see the follow on, Love’s Labour’s Won soon.
Here’s what the Mathieson says about the production.
The two plays also share one of the most spectacular stage sets the RSC has built since reopening its main theatre. This set is modelled on Charlecote Park, a Tudor house a few miles upstream of Stratford on the Avon, where the young Shakespeare may have been caught poaching deer. The house was still in private hands at the time of the First World War, having been
remodelled in the 19th century, and nicely links Shakespeare’s era with that of the staging.The Charlecote set also allows the RSC to show off the capabilities of its main theatre: just before Christmas I was part of a Love’s Labour’s Lost audience that found itself enthusiastically applauding not actors but the entrance of a facsimile of the building’s roof (below), floating up from the depths to replace what had seconds previously been a neatly-striped lawn.
and further into the article…
Compton Verney could equally have inspired the RSC’s staging, as it was still inhabited before and after the First World War. But the tenure of the Verneys didn’t last much longer. The 19th baron wrote a book about Britain’s great houses being sold by impoverished aristocrats to men of commerce – having done this himself in 1921, when the house was bought by Joseph Watson, who had made a fortune selling the family’s soap business to the Lever Brothers. This business was one of the foundations of the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods group Unilever