My favourite object at Knole currently – although this does change from time to time – is the Buzaglo in the Orangery.
Built in 1774 in a neo-classical style, it has Mr Buzaglo’s name proudly stamped on it, quite stylish I think. Reputedly there are only two complete systems left in the world, this one and one other in Virginia, USA. This is something else I like about it – exclusivity!
The stove was patented in 1765 and became a fashionable, effective and, due to its high cost, an exclusive method of heating. There is a picture dated 1796 of it in its original location at Knole – the Great Hall. Its enormous size looks quite at home in the grand proportions of the Hall and I’m sure would have warmed the room up a treat.
It was moved to the Orangery during the 19th Century and as this area gradually became more of a storage space, the stove fell into a state of disrepair. As part of the reopening of the Orangery a couple of years ago, the Buzaglo was conserved and repaired to its current magnificent condition. Sadly we are unable to light it due to modern ventilation rules, but as it looks now it’s easy to imagine how it must have looked fully working.
The Buzaglo is very good to look at. At a first glance it is easy to miss the intricate detail in its design, but the closer you look the better it gets. At one end are the doors enclosing the furnace areas, in ascending size. The top is finished off in each corner with a grand looking finial. On Orangery cleaning days, it is my especial pleasure to give it a good brush up, and if only it wasn’t such a weighty beast, I’d be delighted to bear it home with me!
Here is some more info on Buzaglo’s: http://www.hevac-heritage.org/electronic_books/buzaglo_stove/buz1.pdf