Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood

Text

There was another door into the garden - into the orchard - through the New Study. The New Study had been left just as it was when my grandfather died, to be shown to the occasional sightseers, and often the shutters would be left shut all day. If we wanted to go out that way we used to dash across it at full speed, for it was rather an awful place, faintly holy and sinister, like a church. There were many mysterious things on the tables and shelves, including a baby in a bottle; or at least something in alcohol, which I took to be a baby. But sometimes when the whole house was full the room would be humanized by being used for a dressing-room by one of my uncles; and then there would be a round bath of cold water there.
The faint flavour of the ghost of my grandfather hung in a friendly way about the whole place, house, garden and all. Of course, we always felt embarrassed if our grandfather were mentioned, just as we did if God were spoken of. In fact, he was obviously in the same category as God and Father Christmas. Only, with our grandfather, we also felt, modestly, that we ought to disclaim any virtue of our own in having produced him.

Commentary

Period Piece is Gwen Raverat’s memoir of her childhood. Raverat (artist and writer, b.1885) was a granddaughter of Charles Darwin, and her father a Cambridge academic. This is Gwen’s description of her famous grandfather’s study at Down, her grandmother’s rather old-fashioned country house in Kent.

Themes

Time
Identities
Labour

Dominant Representational Strategies

Context

Dwelling

Type
Residential
Detail
Country House
Historical Terminology
Specified Social Level
Unspecified

Activities

Type
Intellectual, Cultural and Spritual
Physical States and Actions
Detail
Remembering
Thinking
Running

Rooms

Type
Work Space
Historical Terminology

Inhabitants

Type
People
Detail
Adults
Children
Female
Male

Objects

Type
Furniture
The Arts, Recreation and Ceremony
Detail
Supporting, Storage and Display

Bibliography

Direct Cross-References

Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood

Raverat, Gwen 1952; 1883

Book, CG1

Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood

Raverat, Gwen 1952

Book, CG1102

Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood

Raverat, Gwen 1952

Book, CG1103

Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood

Raverat, Gwen 1952

Book, CG1104

Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood

Raverat, Gwen 1952

Book, CG1105

Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood

Raverat, Gwen 1952

Book, CG1106

Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood

Raverat, Gwen 1952

Book, CG1107

Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood

Raverat, Gwen 1952

Book, CG1108

Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood

Raverat, Gwen 1952

Book, CG1109

Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood

Raverat, Gwen 1952

Book, CG1110

Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood

Raverat, Gwen 1952

Book, CG1111

Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood

Raverat, Gwen 1952

Book, CG1112

Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood

Raverat, Gwen 1952

Book, CG1114

Indirect Cross-References

Names
Raverat, Gwen
Date(s)
1952
Country
United Kingdom
Historical Region
Description
Format
Book
Type
Genre
Other Non-Fictional Prose
Publication
Faber and Faber, 1987, pp.152-3
Copyright
Reproduced by permission Sophie Gurney
Location
Record ID
CG1113