Portrait of Henrietta Howard at Marble Hill


Test your knowledge about the objects in our collections with this quiz

  • 3. Answer

    Answer: Corbridge Roman Town in Northumberland

    During 350 years under Roman occupation, Corbridge Roman Town near Hadrian’s Wall grew from a military outpost into a bustling, cosmopolitan town with its own local identity. The exquisite sculpted lion discovered at the site in 1907 is the best preserved of five lion statues from Corbridge. The detailed carving depicts a male lion ferociously pouncing on its prey – the identity of which has confused sculptural experts. The horns and ears would suggest the sculptor was depicting a sheep or goat, but the size in comparison to the lion is that of a cow.

  • 6. Who or what is Roaring Meg, and where would you find her?

    Answer: Roaring Meg is the only surviving Civil War mortar in England and can be found at Goodrich Castle in Herefordshire

    When Civil War broke out between King Charles I and Parliament in 1642, many castles that hadn’t seen action since the Middle Ages were pressed into service for one side or the other. Goodrich Castle was one of them, and soon became a Royalist stronghold. In June and July 1646 it was the scene of one of the most hard-fought sieges of the conflict. Parliament finally won with the aid of a huge mortar, Roaring Meg, reducing the castle to the picturesque ruin that survives today.

  • 7. Madonna of the Pomegranate at Ranger’s House in London is a studio copy of Botticelli’s masterpiece. But where can you see the original?

    Answer: The Uffizi, Florence

    Bought by Julius Wernher in 1897, Madonna of the Pomegranate (Madonna della Melagrana) shows a pensive Mary holding Christ as a baby and surrounded by four angels. The pomegranate is symbolic of the future suffering of Christ. The version in the Wernher Collection was thought to be a later imitation of the c1487 masterpiece, but X-ray testing, infrared studies and pigment analysis have shown that it did come from Botticelli’s workshop in Florence. It is impossible to tell, however, how much input Botticelli himself had into this version, as multiple assistants were employed to help with his paintings.

  • 8. Answer

    Answer: B - a dress lifter

    Dating from between 1840 and 1899, this copper alloy dress lifter was used to stop skirt hems from getting muddy and also to display decorative petticoats. Norham was a popular site for wealthy people to promenade around

  • 9. Whose boots are on display at Walmer Castle and Gardens?

    Answer: The Duke of Wellington

    In the early 1800s Arthur Wellesley, then Viscount Wellington, asked his shoemaker to make boots in this style because they were easier to wear with trousers. After his victory over Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, Wellington's boots achieved the status of must-have fashionable footwear and duly became known as 'Wellingtons'. This particular pair is made of soft calfskin, polished black, with tan soles. Walmer Castle is also home to the Duke’s campaign bed (originally a piece of furniture that was used on the battlefield) and his death mask, created by portrait sculptor George Gammon Adams.

  • 10. What transformed Hailes Abbey in Gloucestershire into an important pilgrimage site in the 13th century?

    Answer: A holy relic believed to be a portion of the blood of Christ

    While in Germany in 1268, Edmund, son of Earl Richard of Cornwall, the founder of Hailes, obtained what was believed to be a portion of the blood shed by Christ on the Cross – the Holy Blood, which was held within a crystal container. A 16th-century seal, used to grant admission to the abbey’s confraternity (or brotherhood), gives us the best impression of what the relic would have looked like. A priest is depicted holding an orb with a cross on top, which contains the Holy Blood of Hailes.

  • 15. What is unusual about the map surrounding the fireplace in the Map Room at Eltham Palace and Gardens in London?

    Answer: It’s made of leather

    Made specifically for the room in the 1930s, this leather map shows Eltham Palace in the centre, with local landmarks such as the Crystal Palace and the Royal Naval College also depicted. It was assembled by sewing together many small square pieces of leather. It’s part of the larger Map Room, whose walls were adorned with maps from around the globe, along with murals depicting everything from St Paul's Cathedral in London to Santa in his sleigh. The maps and murals had been covered over with wallpaper after the Courtaulds left Eltham in 1945, but they underwent extensive conservation work in 2015 and are now on show to the public.

  • 16. Answer

    Answer: Henrietta Howard, 9th Countess of Suffolk

    Henrietta Howard was an influential courtier and patron of the 18th century. Her London home Marble Hill was inspired by a Palladian villa and furnished in the fashions of the day, including blue and white porcelain and lacquer furniture. The contents of the house were dispersed before the property came into public ownership in 1902, although some have made their way back. The paintings, furniture and porcelain on display in the house today still evoke the 18th-century love of east Asia, and suit Henrietta Howard’s taste and status.

  • 18. In Chiswick House and Gardens in London you’ll find a pair of porphyry vases from the 16th century. But what is porphyry?

    Answer: A hard purple volcanic rock

    Porphyry was a highly prized material in 16th-century Italy, and Roman columns and sculptures were reused to create new pieces such as these vases. They were bought by the owner and architect of Chiswick House, Lord Burlington, when he was on a Grand Tour of Europe in 1715. Lord Burlington was known as ‘the Apollo of the arts’, as he was one of the greatest 18th-century patrons and art collectors. He hung so many paintings inside the house that they almost obscured the velvet wall hangings.