Sunday, 26 April 2009
Knole Park - a day out
Last Saturday I visited Knole Park in Kent with family friends who have recently moved to Bromley. The day started off a bit grey and cold but by the time we had visited the house and started to wander in the grounds the sun had started to shine.
Knole Park was the childhood home of Vita Sackville-West who in later life would become a close friend of Virginia Woolf. It is also the place that inspired Virginia Woolf to write Orlando, a fictional biography, in 1928.
I wont say too much about it now as I want to come back when I am reading Orlando, but I was very excited as I saw the original manuscript for Orlando. Virginia gave it to Vita as a present and she in turn gave it to the National Trust to be kept at Knole Park. It is shown in a display case in the great hall. Whilst we were there most people were looking at the large paintings on the wall and admiring the decorative wood panelling. If you didn’t take the time to read the label on the case you wouldn’t know what is there, but for me it was a real treat.
The manuscript is in a large leather bound book and it is open at the passage where Knole Park is described for the first time. Virginia Woolf’s handwriting is quite neat but tricky to read in places and there are lots of words crossed out and revisions to the writing. I can see why she was inspired to write about the place, it is absolutely huge and full of character and history.
I will definitely be coming back to Knole Park, to read Orlando in the place that inspired it to be written and also just to enjoy the park itself. There are deer living in the park and it is very relaxing to wander about the grounds and watch the deer.