|Cowper and Newton Museum, Olney.|
Summer seems a long time away, so I thought it would be nice to look back at my visit to the Cowper and Newton Museum at Olney last year.
|Cowper House rear view, showing the two buildings' junction.|
In Mansfield Park, Fanny Price mourns the potential loss of the trees at Sotherton, and quotes from Cowper's poem The Task: “Cut down an avenue! What a pity! Does it not make you think of Cowper? ‘Ye fallen avenues, once more I mourn your fate unmerited.’”
The museum is a real gateway into the past - as you explore the Georgian house and garden, you can really imagine what everyday life was like in Jane Austen's England. The museum is actually two buildings joined together; you enter through the original kitchen, then move on through Cowper's hall, parlour, bedroom and so on.
|Cowper's summerhouse, Olney.|
William was a very keen gardener. The gardens are very beautiful, and Cowper spent many hours in the summerhouse composing his work in peace and quiet.
He famously kept three tame hares called Puss, Tiney and Bess.
Cowper was greatly affected by the poverty endured by the local lace-making families, and there's a lace-making gallery at the museum.
There's also a room devoted to John Newton, Cowper's friend and fellow hymn-writer.
The museum re-opens in February 2018; you can find out how to become a Friend of the museum here.
All photos copyright Sue Wilkes.