For Carlton Hobbs, a torchère lights up an episode of Downton Abbey

February 27 2013, 11:49am

While watching the season finale of PBS Masterpiece’s “Downton Abbey” last weekend, Carlton Hobbs staff member Dana noticed something curiously familiar in the background of one scene: Scene from "Downton Abbey"   A porcelain-mounted torchère very much like the pair by Louis-François Bellangé in the Carlton Hobbs collection!   Carlton Hobbs LLC   For those not familiar, Downton Abbey is a British period drama about a fictional aristocratic family and their country house in England in the early 1900s. The house used for Downton Abbey on the show is actually  Highclere Castle in Hampshire. Various other filming locations are used, and in this particular episode the family visits relatives at a Scottish hunting lodge, with many of the interior and exterior scenes shot at Inveraray Castle in Scotland.   A closer view   In researching our own pair of torchères, we became aware of nine others by—or attributed to—Bellangé, but had never heard of a pair at Inveraray.  To solve the mystery, we contacted the secretary at Inveraray for more information on their interior furnishings, and were graciously informed that these particular scenes were actually filmed at  Wrotham Park, Hertfordshire. These we had known about! The Wrotham torchères formed part of the old collection of the Greville family, the Earls of Warwick, and were sold at Christie’s London on April 30, 1830. They were purchased by a Mr. Johnson for George Byng of Wrotham Park and have remained in that family since:   The Wrotham Park torchères.   It was exciting to catch something so significant on an everyday TV program, so keep your eyes peeled—you never know what treasures you might spot in the background!