a bit of a catch up… starting with the filming at Bramhall Hall

Hello there

I have a bit of blogging to catch up on to say the least, having not done a post since August.  Lots has gone on since then, which I have tried to tweet about as much as I could along the way.

In September, ITV used Bramhall Hall as one of the locations for a one-off period drama, which will be shown on Boxing Day this year.  It is a screen adaptation of the 1901 novel ‘The Making of a Marchioness’, by Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett; a Manchester-born writer most famous for ‘The Secret Garden’.  Bramhall Hall was used for two weeks, with filming taking place in many of the rooms. Two members of the curatorial team needed to be present at all times.  This was to be on-hand in case any of the collection objects, small or large, needed to be moved by the prop team or others; to monitor what was being used during filming (making a note of the change in location for objects) and behind scenes (lots of moving laptop cases off the settles etc.), as well as conservation issues (lighting candles for only short period of time before being snuffed out with a damp cloth to minimise the smoke).  Once filming had ceased in a particular room, we were able to give the rooms a good clean, re-display the objects, and update MODES as to which items had been used in the filming and where they were now being put back to.  I worked on the laundry room – displaying flat irons and linen sheets alongside wooden washing dollies and wicker baskets.   It was such an interesting experience to see a period drama being filmed, a real eye-opener for the work that goes into producing a period drama.  I haven’t been able to watch Downton Abbey in the same way since, thinking about the props team who set up the scene, for the curatorial staff at Highclere Castle guarding their collections, or for the endless times someone will have shouted “quiet please, turning!”.

Some of the actors we saw filming scenes were Linus Roache, Lydia Wilson, Hasina Haque, James D’arcy, and Souad Faress.  A few photographs were taken by myself and Janny during our ‘shifts’ at Bramhall, including the dressed rooms, rehearsals, and during the publicity photograph shoots. I will include some here.  Make sure you watch ‘The Making of a Lady’ on Boxing Day! In some of the scenes, I may have been on the other side of the room….

Rehearsals with input from the Director Richard Curson Smith, taking place in the Withdrawing Room. Seen here are the actors Lydia Wilson as Emily, Linus Roache as Lord James Walderhurst and two young actors as the children.

Filming in the Great Hall.

Filming in the Kitchen.

My re-display of collection items on the table after filming in the Kitchen had finished.

My re-display of items in the Laundry Room after filming had finished.

Photographer Stuart Wood taking publicity shots of some of the cast in the Withdrawing Room; Hasina Haque as Hester and James D’Arcy as Captain Alec Osborn.

Publicity shoot – Hasina Haque as Hester.

Publicity shoot – Lydia Wilson as Emily.

A false wall in the Neville Room

The Anteroom (a small but beautiful room adjoining the Neville Room) was used for a scene where Emily writes a letter.  Here you can see the props used in the scene.

Take one! L-R, Helen, Janny and Katie with ‘The Making of a Lady’ clapperboard.

Lots of time was spent setting up the Library by the props team. It was even painted red for the purpose of filming. The room was used for a scene but probably won’t be shown in-depth in the final cut.

Another view of the props in the Library.

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