‘As the Second World War draws to a close, a group of six friends pool resources in order to rent a sizeable House in the Country – capital H, capital C. Their list of requirements is exacting. It has to be ‘one of those houses that’s been built bit by bit, for hundreds of years’. It has to have acres of land and dozens of outhouses. As it turns out, such a house does exist, a pretty, rambling but rather rundown Tudor manor house in deepest Kent. And so they move in . . .’
In Issue 57 of Slightly Foxed Antony Longden introduced Ruth Adam’s A House in the Country, published by the Country Book Club in 1957. Claire Dalby’s wood engraving ‘Nettlecombe: Garden in October’ provided the perfect Country House to illustrate the article.
About the contributor
Claire Dalby was born in St Andrews, and Scotland is the subject of much of her work. She has been roaming Shetland since 1978, and many of her wood engravings from the area focus on buildings within their context of the landscape. As a botanical illustrator, she produces portraits of plants as well as more scientific studies, and in her watercolours she explores landscapes and still lives, and their textures, forms and colours. She says ‘it can be maddening to sit outside with paper and watercolours in a strong, cold wind. […] But perversely it is often the weather and lighting that makes me want to paint a particular subject. Even fog has its own special quality of softly revealing shapes and colours without shadow or recession of headlands.’