National Trust, Mottistone Manor

National Trust

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Mottistone’s house, village, estate of farms, woodland and gardens, date back to the fifteenth century. It was bought in 1861 by Charles Seely (1803–1887). He was a Liberal politician and philanthropist who had made his fortune in the Industrial Revolution, trading in pig iron, and in the acquisition of coal mines and property. It was inherited by his son, Major General John ‘Jack’ Seely (1868–1947), 1st Baron Mottistone, who in turn passed it to his heir and namesake, the 2nd Baron (1899–1963). He and his business partner, Paul Paget (1901–1985), were the architects responsible for the remodeling of the whole house in the 1920s. It was given to the National Trust in 1987 by Mrs Paul Paget, in memory of her husband and John Seely who had ensured that the countryside, coast and downland in this area were protected from overdevelopment. There are few pictures at Mottistone, most of which are thematically linked to the Isle of Wight. The two highlights at Mottistone are undoubtedly the two portraits by Gilbert Joseph Holiday: ‘General Jack Seely (1868–1947), 1st Baron Mottistone on His Horse, “Warrior” (1908–1941)’; and ‘The Seely Family on Horseback, on a Moor’ – a striking image that emulates that of Sir Alfred Munnings in the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, in which they are shown looking out to sea from the Island’s cliff tops. The lifetime of the 1st Baron’s horse rivaled that of its fictional counterpart in Michael Morpurgo’s ‘War Horse’. He survived four years at war, fighting at the Somme and Ypres, and lead one of the last ever cavalry charges against the Germans at Amiens in 1918. He cheated death on numerous occasions and recuperated from the war on the Island. On his death, he merited an unprecedented obituary in The Times, captioned ‘The Horse the Germans could not Kill.’

Mottistone, near Brighstone, Isle of Wight PO30 4EA England

01983 741302

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