Another trip I made as past of my FMP research, was to A La Ronde, in Exmouth, Devon which is part of the National Trust. A La Ronde is a sixteen sided house owned by two cousins, who took a ten year trip around Europe and came across a sixteen sided house in Italy. They then liked this house so much that they wanted their own built back in Devon, just like the one from Italy. But it wasn’t the unique shape of the house and its winding hallways, it was the shell gallery.
At the top of the house on the second floor, features a shell gallery, which is made up of souvenirs from the cousins travels around Europe, more than 25,000 sea shells embedded into the walls and wild bird feathers. Unfortunately the shell gallery is now closed to the public, which I was unaware of until I got to A La Ronde, due to the walls becoming very fragile overtime and the public coming into contact with them causing wear and tear. However if you stand in the centre of the house on the ground floor and look up, you can see the balcony of the gallery and a glimpse of the shell covered walls is caught. It was a shame to not be able to see the shells gallery up close, but still I was amazed by the vast amount of objects in the house that the cousins had collected over on their travels.
Each room in the house and even just along the hallways, there was always something to look at. Shells would appear in the most unexpected of places and little souvenirs were displayed in cabinets and on mantle pieces. I’m very pleased at how such a wonderful collection has been preserved and is open for the public to see. Collecting is a common thing, but never have I seen a collection of objects to this extent. The collection of shells and unique pieces was probably intended to preserve the cousins memories, a reminder of their exciting journey across Europe, but has now become their legacy, now that they are gone and the shell collection is left behind, a part of the cousins still lives on today.