Wimpole Estate is managed by the National Trust and located about a 20 minutes’ drive from Cambridge. Hannah Taylor and I were looking for a nice location for a photoshoot, and the Wimpole Estate offer a grand setting. After a bit of googling we found out that photography was allowed and the entrance and cab fare were not too expensive. We arrived just as they opened at 11:00 and stayed until they closed at 17:00, with a lunch break and a dress change in between.

Wimpole Estate's old library
The Old Library. The rug on the floor is one of the largest Axminster carpets still in existence, so no visitors were allowed into the room.

We took our first photos in the Grand Dining Hall. There were volunteers stationed around the floor in different rooms, and the lady in this room was quite encouraging and came with suggestions for poses and told us about the paintings and decorations in the room. For example Queen Victoria stayed for two nights at the estate, and gifted the owner with a copy of a portrait of her which now hangs in the dining hall.

Black and white photo of Hannah Taylor in the main dining hall
They have fresh flowers delivered and put on the table. The guide lady did however admit that there were no longer live candles in the chandelier, for practical reasons electric lights had been installed instead.
Hannah Taylor in the dining hall, setting the table.
Hannah setting the table. The colours and light in this room matched Hannah’s dress perfectly.
Hannah Grace Taylor at the head of the table in the old dining hall.
It is always important to keep an eye on the background when framing a photo, especially in a place like this where there were so many decorations. The Georgians were very peculiar about symmetry. The dining hall had four doors, two of which were fake. You can see one of the fake doors to the left in this photo.

I normally shoot with a 50 mm lens, but since we wanted to include the surroundings and there might not always be enough space to take a few steps back, I had brought with me the wider 35 mm lens as well, which we used for the first part of the photoshoot.

Hannah Grace Taylor looking down on the stairs.
Hannah at the top of the grand staircase.
Wimpole Estate reception room
There was a huge reception room. Wimpole Estate had been rebuilt many times, and at one point seven rooms had been demolished to make place for this big room. What you see here is the side entrance into the room designed by John Soane.
Hannah Grace Taylor in the doorway at Wimpole Estate
Here I placed Hannah a little off-centre so that we could see the staircase in the background.
Hannah Grace Taylor with red roses in a field
Time for a lunch break, but on our way to the lunch restaurant we stopped briefly for a few photos by the field. Hannah had brought some flowers as props.
Hannah Grace Taylor with a bouquet of red roses
One more photo from a bit further away.
Hannah Grace Taylor in an amazing dress by a window at Wimpole Estate
Lunch is over, and we are back inside again. This time with a new dress. We found this beautiful window light and took a few photos.
Hannah Grace Taylor sitting in a window frame at Wimpole Estate
After the success with the first window we decided to go on a window quest, and found a few more interesting spots.
Hannah Grace Taylor looking out a window at Wimpole Estate
Looking out through the window. I no longer feel compelled to always include the face, or a person smiling, in my photos. So here is one with neither.
Hannah Grace Taylor in the old library at Wimpole Estate
Back at the library, trying to place Hannah in the location without stepping past the rope at the entrance. At one point the owners fell upon hard times and started selling off some of the books. In the end the entire estate was sold off, but the gambling ex-owner was allowed to live in the house.
Hannah Grace Taylor in the library
One more shot of Hannah in the library. In front of the library they had a big book room, because they could not fit all the books in the first room.
Sad or thoughtful photo of Hannah Taylor by the widow
We found more windows. We were also playing with different emotional settings in the photos. Here Hannah is looking out through the window at something in the distance, while I am trying to frame the corridor to show how empty it was. Luckily no other guests were walking there at this moment.
Hannah Grace Taylor in the chapel at Wimpole Estate
Wimpole Estate might have lots of rooms (93 rooms in fact), but no estate is complete without their private bath house and chapel, this place had both. Here is a photo of Hannah in the chapel.

It was almost 17:00 and Wimpole Estate was closing. It had been a great day out, or should I say in. We had bought tickets for both the house and the gardens, but only saw the first. I guess we have to return at some point. Many thanks to Hannah for a great day!

Here is a link to my other photoshoots with Hannah.

— Johannes

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