International Museum Day: 30 Objects – Victorian Freshers Week

16 May 2017

For International Museum Day on 18 May our Head of Collections, Alice, has chosen her top 30 objects from Mount Stuart’s Collections which we’ll bring to you throughout the Month. Ranging from books, furniture, silver-work, paintings and documentation from hundreds of years of Stuart family life, this barely scratches the surface of our Collections so make sure to plan your visit and experience it for yourself!

The 3rd Marquess of Bute attended Oxford University between 1865 and 1868 as a member of Christchurch College and despite being a very unusual, and wealthy, student there are some details in our archive of his time at uni that might bring memories of your student days screaming back!

In an entrance book from the college Archive his entry is listed under that year’s intake of ‘Nobles’.  So you can assume he had an entirely different experience to what most people expected at university, with his student digs including a dining room, drawing room, bedroom and a snug all opulently appointed to designs which we still have in the collection today.  Not only were his rooms professionally decorated for his stay but many of the objects would have come from the grand houses that were his inheritance.

In the design for what was to be his Drawing room you might have missed a Victorian silver mounted beer barrel cask (things haven’t changed that much, an essential thing if you want to make friends at university!) which today resides in the dining room at Mount Stuart 150 years after it was put to good use at Oxford.  No dodgy landlords, mold or irritating roommates for the 3rd Marquess! In fact he shared a staircase (number 7) with a Mr Charles Dodgson, better known by his pseudonym Lewis Carroll who moved into the Marquess’s rooms on his departure.

We also have lots of photographs of the Marquess and his mates from his university days. Including this one of the Marquess wrapped in a duvet?! Not so straightforward to get a photo like this without an iPhone.