Hampton Court Grapevine Comes Home to Valentines Mansion

The iconic Great Vine of Hampton Court Palace, the largest grape vine in the world, has been admired and marvelled at by millions since it was first planted back in 1768 by Capability Brown, the famous garden designer. It’s the oldest productive grapevine in the world, producing on average, an impressive crop of about 272kg of black dessert grapes, which are sold in the palace shop every September. Now in its 250th year, the vine measures a colossal 4 metres around the base and the longest rod is 36.5 metres.

The fact that the original cutting was taken from a Black Hamburg Vine at Valentines Mansion is a lesser known piece of information. This year, to mark 10 years of the Mansion being open to the public, the great vine has made an exciting comeback to Valentines, its original home.

A cutting of the Hampton Court Vine was presented back to the Mansion and planted in a special vase, created by Valentines Mansion Studio Artist Cinzia Castellano. The vase and plant will go on display at the Mansion for the artists’ summer exhibition, ‘Decade’ which will mark the tenth anniversary of the Mansion being open to the public.  A cutting was also gifted back to the Mansion in 2008 after the restoration, and this grows in the kitchen garden.


“While reading about the Hampton Court Vine, I found that the initial cutting was taken from Valentines Mansion. This fascinated me, and I wanted to create a vase which would chromatically represent the plant itself, whilst at the same time being an abstraction of the Mansion with its grand portico and windows” comments Cinzia. The end result is an impressive three part structural vase, the perfect home for the new cutting.

The brown vase, with its rough and unclean finish, is masked buy two glossy panels. Representative also of the actual plant, with its soil and roots which are not visible, to the shiny exterior symbolising the parts that everyone sees – the leaves and fruits.

Coincidently, the structure of the vase, with its tarnished vase covered by the glossy exterior, is also symbolic of another part of the Mansion’s history – it’s links with The East India Company. Three of the Mansion’s previous owners were involved in the EIC, and it was during the time of Charles Raymond, a retired ship’s captain, who lavished his fortunes on the house and gardens, that the original cutting was presented to Capability Brown, the famous gardener, who was at the time, in charge of the gardens at Hampton Court.

The cutting has been presented back to the Mansion by the Royal Palaces representative during a private event. Ian Tocher, the Nursery and Plant Production Manager at Hampton Court commented. “I’m delighted to have brought back our vine plant, propagated from our Great Vine, to Valentine’s Mansion & Gardens and thrilled that a special vessel has been made for it. It’s great to continue the historical links with the gardens and park, where our famous Great Vine plant originated as a cutting.”

The vase and plant is now on display at the Mansion during public open days.

For more information contact Valentines Mansion on 0208 7088100.

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A Unique Dining Experience at the Mansion

The supperclub rage is still going strong, and it’s heading to the Mansion very soon! These unique dining experiences combine fine food and interesting themes and provide a great way socializing with like-minded foodies over a delicious meal.

Valentines Mansion has teamed up with a Michelin trained chef to bring you a special dinner inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. That Hungry Chef, Pratap Chahal, has created a tantalising four-course menu celebrating Shakespeare’s magical comedy of errors.

The starter will transport you into fairy woods with its delicious combination of wild mushrooms and truffled goats cheese. The next two courses won’t take long to devour, and you’ll fall totally in love with the dessert, featuring violets and rose petals.

Supperclubs are ticketed dining experiences which started off with people holding special dinners in their own home, but have evolved to interesting venues such as unused churches, bell towers, and even train carriages, with celebrated chefs also joining in the craze! Also known as Closed Door Restaurants, a Supperclub is the next best thing to a restaurant fine dining experience.

That Hungry Chef will be coming to Valentines Mansion for one night only on Friday 7 June 2019 for this dinner unlike any other. Tickets are now on sale via https://www.exploretock.com/thathungrychef/, and cost just £40 per person. Full details also available on this web site.

For more information, contact Valentines Mansion on 020 8708 8100.

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Celebrating with Ceramics

Ten years ago, Valentines Mansion opened its doors to the public for the very first time in its 300 year history. After standing empty and derelict for many years, a Redbridge Council and Heritage Lottery Funded Project breathed new life in to the grade II* listed building. It was during this restoration that the top floor the Mansion, historically the servants’ quarters, was transformed into six contemporary artists’ studios, and one of the local makers to take up a place in one of the largest studios was Amanda Seljubac, a multi–disciplined artist, ranging from fashion/textiles to glass and ceramics.

Ten years on, Amanda is still exploring a variety of artistic disciplines. Her latest project, ‘Decade’, brings together a number of techniques, including ceramics, bisque firing and glazing to create a striking set of exhibition pieces, in celebration of Valentines Mansion’s 10th anniversary.

‘Decade’ will showcase cleverly crafted porcelain plaster cast replicas of Victorian bottles decorated with imagery of the mansion & gardens, taken over the last 10 years. The Victorian bottles used as inspiration have been on display in the Mansions’ pantry since 2009.

“I’ve made a few slip casting moulds over the years, and I’ve always liked the different ceramic bottles in Victorian kitchen and have wanted to make some moulds of them for a while. The 10 year anniversary of the restoration and the opening of Valentines Mansion seemed like the perfect opportunity” commented Amanda.

Victorian Bottle ready for mould making

Mould ready

Mould prepared for the slip cast







The intricate process of creating finished pieces involved making a plaster cast of the Victorian bottles in two sections, then using the moulds to make the porcelain bottles, before firing the images onto them in the studio’s kiln. “With a lot of testing I’m now extremely happy the results” said Amanda.

Bottles ready for firing in the kiln.

There will be ten bottles on display around the Mansion between now and during the studios artists’ collective summer exhibition, also entitled ‘Decade’, in which the eight artists will come together for a special show to mark the 10 year anniversary of Valentines Mansion. This collective exhibition will take place between Sunday 4 August and Sunday 1 September, with free entry.

Some of Amanda’s bottles are already on display around the Mansion – come in during one of our open days and take a closer look!

One of the finished bottles, featuring the iconic bird wallpaper from the Mansion’s bedchamber.

For more information contact Valentines Mansion on 0208 7088100.

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Easter Eggs-travaganza at Valentines Mansion

Valentines Mansion is hosting a fun-packed programme of events during the Easter school holidays.

It all starts with Hedgehog Fun on Wednesday 10 April, in which kids will learn fun and interesting facts about our prickly friends, before making their own cute cone hedgehog to take home. ‘Hedgehog Fun’ takes place 11.30am-12.30pm and costs £5 per child.

The fun continues with ‘Flower Power’ on Wednesday 17 April, in which children will create personalised gardens using their favourite paper blooms. 11.30am-12.30pm, £5 per child.

Taking place on Sunday 21 and Monday 22 April, the Easter Trail promises children a mini adventure as they go exploring to uncover hidden eggs and bunnies around the house and gardens.

There are also lots of tasty rewards to be won along the way. The trails take place between 11am and 4pm (last trail 3pm) and cost just £3 per child. There is no need to book, just turn up and join in on the day of your choice.

Pre-booking is essential for all the events listed apart from the Easter Trail. Our Easter events are incredibly popular so please book your tickets early on: https://thelittleboxoffice.com/valentines

All children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Valentines Mansion will be open for the school holidays between Sunday 7-Wednesday 10 April and Sunday 14-Wednesday 17 April, 11am-4pm, free entry (events charged for separately).

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Who lived in a house like this?

Join us as we go through the keyhole and delve into the fascinating history of Valentines Mansion. Built in 1696, the impressive Mansion served as a family home to many individuals, each with their own story and each leaving their personal mark on the Mansion.

Did you know that three of the Mansions previous owners were involved in the East India Company during the 18th Century? Or that the Mansion was originally built for the niece of Oliver Cromwell? Find out how Sir Charles Raymond, a retired ship’s captain, lavished his fortunes on the house and gardens.

You’ll learn this and so much more as you step back in time and take a walk around the house with our costumed guide, who has a wealth of knowledge on the history of Valentines. Feel free to ask questions as you go from room to room, look out for interesting pieces of architecture and imagine what it would have been like to live in a house like this.

Choose from three dates: Thursday 4 April, Thursday 9 May, Thursday 13 June. Tickets are £5 per person, including tea/coffee and are on sale now through www.valentinesmansion.com.

For more information contact Valentines Mansion on 0208 7088100.

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Step into the land of make believe for a spell-binding day at Valentines Mansion

A very special spell has been cast to transform Valentines Mansion and Gardens in to an enchanting world that brings to life the world’s most famous fairy tale characters.

Little wizards, witches, princes and princesses from the Kingdom of Redbridge and beyond are being invited to ‘Once Upon A Time’ on Sunday 5 May for a magical day of fun.

Doors open from 11am with activities, games and stories taking place until 4pm so get your little ones to grab their capes, wands and crowns and let their imagination run wild!

There’s plenty to do including following the fairy dust and clues to uncover the hidden objects in the elf trail, sitting down to stories with Old Mother Hubbard, meeting fairy tale characters and a dazzling performance by some very special performers.

There are also lots of wand waving opportunities and spells to be cast in our fun-filled arts and crafts activities as well as rides, face-painting and more!

And don’t forget to dress up the little ones as their favourite fairy tale character to take part in our parade at 2pm for a chance to win the crown for having the best costume.

Tickets are £5 per person and currently on sale via www.valentinesmansion.com

Please remember this is Valentines Mansion’s largest event of the year for children and tickets are limited. Please book early to secure your tickets and enjoy a happily ever after!

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Grab a unique piece of the past at Valentines Mansion

One of Redbridge’s most historic buildings is hosting a Vintage Fair bursting with original and bespoke retro finds.

Grade II* listed Valentines Mansion and Gardens, on Emerson Road, will be opening its doors for a day of retro shopping on Sunday April 28.

The Fair, running from 10am to 4pm, is free to enter and brings together some of the UK’s finest vintage traders.

Discover a unique selection of wares from stalls selling handmade crafts, vintage reupholstered furniture and home décor, to jams and chutneys, fashion, jewellery, accessories, collectables and more.

The fair is a retro shoppers dream and offers something for every vintage taste at affordable prices. And after bagging all your bargains, don’t forget to unwind and grab yourself a spot of lunch, or cream tea at the Gardeners Cottage Café, set on the Mansion’s stunning grounds.

For more information contact Valentines Mansion on 0208 7088100.

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Treat your mum to a ‘Touch of Glass’ this Mother’s Day.

With Mother’s Day approaching why not treat your mum to a day of creative fun and relaxation where she can discover her inner artist!

Valentines Mansion is running its popular ‘Touch of Glass’ workshop on Sunday March 24, a perfect early treat for Mother’s Day.

Budding artists will have the chance to learn the techniques used to create beautiful fused-glass artwork during this special workshop led by the mansion’s talented resident artist Amanda Seljubac.

Amanda, an established artist in the field of pottery, stone carving and most notably stained glass, will be exploring specialist fused glass techniques and materials including frit, stringers, metal inclusions and compatible glass. There will also be lots of top tips and handy hints on working with fused glass.

Armed with their new knowledge and skills, attendees will create their own fused glass art work to take home after being heated in the in-house kiln.

‘A Touch of Glass’ takes place at Valentines Mansion on Sunday March 24 and runs from 11am-2pm. Tickets costs £47 per person and includes the cost of all materials used on the day.

Tickets must be pre-booked via  www.valentinesmansion.com/whatson.php

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Make your own lino print designs at Valentines Mansion

Explore your creative side at Valentines Mansion this March as you learn to make your very own exclusive lino print artwork.

Led by our resident artists Amanda Seljubac and Sadia Ur-Rehman, this one-off workshop will teach you everything you need to know about the art of carving and printing linocuts in a number of colours.

You’ll gain the skills and knowledge to create your own unique designs on lino which will then be printed onto high quality material in a choice of different colours and backgrounds.

Your masterpiece will be available to take home at the end of the day to showcase to family and friends!

The workshop takes place on Wednesday March 13, 11am – 2pm and costs £45 per person which includes materials, as well as tea and coffee on the day.

Places are limited so book now via the What’s On section of our website http://www.valentinesmansion.com

lino printmaking    lino printmaking2

This workshop is part of ArtLab – a collaboration between the mansion’s resident artists Amanda Seljubac and Sadia Ur-Rehman who will be bringing their creative skills and expertise to a series of 10 workshops throughout the year to celebrate ten years of the mansion being open to the public.

For more information contact Valentines Mansion on 0208 7088100.


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Fall in Love with Valentines Mansion this February

Cupid won’t be very far this February as the aptly named historic Valentines Mansion opens its doors for a year of celebration to mark their ten year anniversary, starting with its Made with Love Fair.

Following a short winter break the charming Grade II listed building, nestled in the heart of Valentines Park in Ilford, will be re-opening to the public again until October.

2019 marks a decade  since the mansion was completely restored back to its former original glory, and opened up to the public for the first time as a free historic visitor attraction.

Once the former home of Oliver Cromwell’s niece Elizabeth Tillotson, the mansion now stands as a proud tribute to the past for visitors to enjoy.

The mansion will be hosting its first event of the year – Made with Love – on Sunday February 10, with doors opening at 10am.

Guests will have the opportunity to browse stalls from some of the UK’s finest traders of beautiful handmade arts, crafts, food and drink in the run-up to Valentine’s Day.

The perfect opportunity to buy something unique for the one you love, or simply spoil yourself!

The event runs until 4pm, and is free to attend. After snapping up the treats on offer, don’t forget to unwind and grab yourself a spot of lunch, or cream tea at the Gardeners Cottage Café, set on the Mansion’s stunning grounds.

For more information contact Valentines Mansion on 0208 7088100.

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