Treasurer’s House, York: Celebrating the travels of Frank Green, the man who transformed grand townhouse
There’s a distinctly cosmopolitan air to the festivities at York’s Treasurer’s House this year, with influences drawn from places like France, Greece and Croatia – all places visited by Frank Green on his travels around Europe.
Frank Green came from a wealthy family (his grandfather Edward was an ironmaster who founded E. Green & Son, in Wakefield) and after moving to York he bought Treasurer’s House, originally three separate houses, and set about creating a single grand townhouse.
“He opened the house to the public in 1903, so it was very much a project to share the history of York with the public. He decorated each of the rooms to showcase a different time period,” says Rebecca Allott, visitor experience officer at the National Trust-run property.
And this year’s festive display, Gifts from Afar, takes its cue from this and his far flung travels and occasionally far-fetched tales. There’s a different theme in each of the period rooms that visitors can explore. The Blue Drawing Room, for instance, has the feel of a festive French soiree. “He visited Versailles and the story goes that our Blue Drawing room is based on his visit to Versailles, though it’s very much a toned down version,” says Rebecca.
Another place that left a lasting impression was Plitvice, in Croatia, a dramatic woodland landscape peppered with lakes, caves and waterfalls. “He thought it was the most beautiful place that he’d ever been so in one of our bedrooms we’ve gone for a waterfall. We worked really closely with the house collections teams and created a waterfall out of conservation materials, things like acid-free paper that we wrap things up in to protect them during winter while we’re closed.”
According to Rebecca, the house’s festive displays have become increasingly popular with many visitors returning year after year. “It’s a bit unusual and a bit different – I don’t think you will get a Christmas like ours anywhere else.”
Gifts from Afar runs to Dec 17, 11am to 4pm (last entry 3.15pm). For more details and prices visit Christmas at Treasurer’s House, www.nationaltrust.org.uk
This week: Our series continues with Castle Howard, Burton Agnes Hall & Gardens and Chatsworth