Welcome back to an A to Z of discovery at Kiplin Hall and Gardens. With 400 years of history and 26 letters of the alphabet there is plenty to explore! Today we feature a wobbly subject, jelly!
When we think of jelly we may well picture children’s birthday parties, or recall our own ill-fated attempts to smoothly tip jelly from a novelty mould. While jelly is still made in homes today, it is also often purchased pre-made in plastic pots. This was not the case in the past. Jelly was time consuming to make and was often the crowning glory on formal dining tables in the upper classes. A book published in 1660, The Accomplisht Cook by Robert May, contains instructions to make colourful jellies in the shape of scallops and sea shells.
The wealthy guests at the dining tables of Kiplin Hall were bound to have enjoyed elaborate jellies, often made in moulds, as we discovered was the case with ice cream in the previous article. One such mould is this lion shaped piece from the Annie Marchant Kitchen and Dairy Collection, recently acquired by Kiplin Hall.
The design is reminiscent of the lounging loins on plinths featured in architectural sculpture. Coloured jellies would be layered in the mould to highlight the intricate design. Lions have been used in art and design as a symbol of English might or royalty as far back as Henry I in 1100. This object in the collection at Kiplin was made by Benham & Froud c. 1860, the maker’s mark represents the cross and orb at the top of St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Records, drawings and photographs show that there was once a large servants wing, kitchen and dairy attached to the main hall at Kiplin which has since been demolished. An 1887 inventory of the service wing lists ‘7 jelly moulds’, ‘2 tin moulds’, ‘1 jelly bag’ and ‘1 jelly stand’. The objects from the new kitchen and dairy collection fill a gap in Kiplins history created when parts of the estate buildings and their contents were removed before the site was a museum.
Work is now underway to fully document the Annie Marchant collection and an introductory exhibition is now open to visitors at the museum. As the museum reopens the feline theme continues with a new children’s trail searching for knitted cats hiding in the historic rooms. As well as her passion for antiques Annie Marchant was a cat lover and this trail takes place in her honour, welcoming her collection onto public display at Kiplin.
Kiplin Hall and Gardens is now open 6 days a week, closed on Thursdays. The historic rooms of the museum are now open as restrictions on indoor spaces have lifted, and the gardens are coming to life as the summer planting emerges. The tea room continues to offer a takeaway service with courtyard seating and 90 acres worth of picnic spots.
We look forward to seeing you!