Located in the Dining Hall, this month’s ‘Castle Object of the Month’ is the 19th century painting of the ‘Yule Log’ by Robert Alexander Hillingford.
Hillingford was born in London in 1828, and studied in Dusseldorf. He then travelled to Munich, Rome, Florence and Naples, where he married and worked for several years, producing paintings of Italian life. He exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and while he was attracted to history painting, he also included some contemporary military scenes.
The ‘Yule Log’ shows the Dining Hall before restoration and the installation of the Minstrels’ Gallery by William Waldorf Astor in the early 20th century.
Pagan Scandinavia celebrated a winter festival called Yule, held in the late December to early January period. Yule logs were originally lit to honour Thor, the god of thunder, with the belief that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year. Feasting would continue until the log burned out, which could take as many as twelve days. During the medieval period the yule log was lit on Christmas Eve.
View the painting of the ‘Yule Log’ by Robert Alexander Hillingford whilst taking a tour of the Castle.
To find out more about Hever Castle’s interesting history, please see our archives.