Today we enjoyed a slideshow and talk on Newby Hall presented by Elizabeth Bailey Smith, who has been a guide at the Hall for the past 15 years. She talked in detail about the paintings, Robert Adams interior design and Chippendale furniture. The hall was at one time the home of Sir Robert Vyner who “lent” vast sums of money to King Charles II. Sir Robert was declared bankrupt in 1684 just before his death. Much later in 1870 the Vyner family suffered further misfortune when Frederick Grantham Vyner was captured by bandits whilst on a trip to Greece and held to ransom for £32,000 (now in excess of £1,000,000). In the ensuing rescue attempt Frederick was killed by his captors. His mother, Lady Mary Vyner, used the unpaid ransom money to build a church at Skelton in his memory.
In 2002, to help pay for repairs, the Barberini Venus statue brought to Newby Hall in 1765 by William Weddell was sold at Christies for a record price of almost £8 million.
Elizabeth’s talk was warmly appreciated and was followed by questions from the members.