These are from a visit to Calke Abbey in Derbyshire. It's very much a place that evokes differing reactions. The National Trust took it over from the last scion of the dynasty that built it, an old man who'd retreated to a room or two in this massive mansion as the impossibility of upkeep overwhelmed him. Rather than restore the place fully, the trust stabilised the building and its contents at the point they took possession. To people wanting to glory in the possessions and hegemony of the ruling classes, it's a deeply unsettling place: to those for whom 'mutatis mutandem' holds no fears it's an object lesson in decay…or perhaps progress: the best the National Trust could do for the family was to note that one of them once declined to attend a public hanging. While they owned vast estates, they made absolutely no contribution to public life, preferring (as the endless rooms of taxidermy attest) to shoot anything that moved across several continents. It's enough to make one turn to Matthew Arnold whose habitual term for the toffs was 'Barbarians'.