You are here:- Home > Visit Reports > Abbey-Cwm-Hir Visit Report

Visit to the Hall at Abbey-Cwm-Hir (12th November 2014)

Abbey-Cwm-Hir Blue Room A party of members of Ross Decorative and Fine Arts Society undertook a rather atypical visit into Wales in mid-November to experience the eclectic charms of the Christmas-themed decorations of The Hall at Abbey-Cwm-Hir, near Llandrindod Wells.
Cwm-Hir (the long valley) is remote, in glorious Welsh borders country and the village is tiny, with a charming church. By the winding stream are the ruins of a 12th C. Cistercian abbey said to be at one time the largest in the Wales, though it was never completed. The Hall adds considerably to the economics of the village; the proprietors of The Hall have unearthed and encouraged notable artistic and practical talents there, and have created employment in an otherwise farming and forestry community.
Abbey-Cwm-Hir Presents Every room in the 52-roomed Hall, open virtually all-year-round, is decorated each October for Christmas: for ten weeks or so, visitors can appreciate the peculiar interior decorative skills of Victoria Humpherston - who owns the Victorian mansion with her husband, Paul - and her small team of helpers. Having bought The Hall in the mid- 1990's, Paul and Victoria spent some nine years restoring, decorating and furnishing the empty shell. Outside the Christmas period there are other decorative themes.
Abbey-Cwm-Hir Table Decoration For Christmas, every room has a different decorative display - to an overall loosely interpreted theme - and each has a decorated Christmas tree (of all shapes, origins and sizes). No half-measures are apparent; there are toys and dolls galore, books, pictures, photos, lamps, advertising material, candles, clothing, accessories, fashionable materials, hats, mannequins and numerous other artefacts - almost all accumulated from antique shops, flea markets, house sales and other sources all over England and Wales. The only obvious unit of measurement is "by the gross". It may sound "gross", too, but everything is in its place, and fits in and blends in surprisingly well in an over-the-top sort of way. Victoria has an eye for the unusual!

All this is fitted into a grand and tastefully-furnished, Grade 2* listed building with elegant rococo moulded ceilings, some Maws antique-tiled flooring (and otherwise carpeted throughout), marble fireplaces, expensive wallpapers, a fine main staircase and collections of some good modern porcelain and glass. It also has a well-maintained hillside garden created by the Humpherstons. Somehow it remains a family home.

Is it decorative? Certainly. Is it Fine Art? In parts. Was it enjoyable? 38 members can't be wrong!

Philip Blunden

© The Arts Society Ross-on-Wye or the originator