061106.Nympsfield, Woodchester Mansion Stairs to the Cellar Ceiling

November 6, 2006 at 12:24 AM | Posted in Architecture, Chisel Marks, Conservation, doorways, Gloucestershire, Mansion, Nymsfield, Ruins, Vaults | 13 Comments

Isn’t this an odd and interesting ceiling? It reminds me of Radio City Music Hall in NYC.

I remember hearing that “cellar door” word combination/sound was the voted the most beautiful in the English language.

061013.071.Glos.Nympsfield.WoodchesterMansion.Cellar Stairs
“Swallow” was voted the most beautiful word in the English language.

When told of this, Winston Churchill supposedly asked, “Which one–the bird or the gulp?” So perhaps “cellar door” too is influenced by the listener’s background with idealized versus grungy mold-ridden basements.

To me, the term sounds more like it belongs in a Gothic novel.


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  1. that surely is an interesting ceiling….so is the interpretation of “cellar door” being influenced by the listener’s background…. hmmm….thinking of it ….thats so true

  2. Nice shot!
    I am recalling my memory about the interior of Woodchester Mansion, and wondering why I didn’t find as many beautiful places as you found.

  3. Thanks. Yeah, I’m kind of trapped with Woodchester until this paper is done. It’s a beautiful place…but I’m getting sick of it fast.

  4. When I visit DP sites of native English speaking DP members its like a language course to me. Gosh…”grundgy mold-ridden”…you made spend long minutes in front of the dictionary and I still dont know what does it mean.:) But swallow is really a word which sounds good.

  5. the repeated arches and shadows provide a good composition, like it!

    swallow is lovely sweet looking bird, so yes it can be the most beautiful words

  6. Sorry, it was a simple misspelling. I guess it should be grungy and mold ridden….

  7. Grungy or not, this ceiling is stunningly beautiful here.

    As for swallow, the gulp leads me to the X-rated world as in: Are good girls supposed to swallow?

  8. “Summer day” according to Henry James=the two most beautiful words in the English language.

    Swallow and cellar door sound nice, too. I thinks it’s the hissing syllables that do it. It’s the same sound (“SIT”) that makes dogs heel.


  9. ooh, isnt nathalie a bit crude?

    i hadnt thought of it before, but saying cellar door is quite nice. it rolls off the tongue like a malteser would if you were made to laugh uncontrollable shortly after you had tossed one in, and before biting. i want to be in a film and say to someone on the phone ‘by the cellar door’ in a deep and slow voice.

    and as for swallow, two of my favourite songs contain the word. kate bush – night of the swallow (she does a very interesting thing with her voice), and saint etienne ‘like the swallow’

    your posts are always very interesting


  10. thanks all. always learn something from the comments section…and it seems like Aussies are crude and cool people. Had no idea what a malteser was….google search claimed it related to the Knights of St. John and the Order of Malta…then I saw an image of what we call “a whopper.” Er, chocolate covered malt ball something. I guess malteser has “malt” in it so that makes more sense. Now that Adrian writes “summer day,” I do remember that being a winner somewhere. I suppose the fact that Churchill swallows/gulps suggest that vote is somewhat dated, or perhaps different people can have different opinions. Again, thanks for everyones posts.

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