A la Ronde features a cabinet of curiosities as its object of the month

EVERY month staff and volunteers from National Trust property A la Ronde choose an item from the collection to be specially featured.

EVERY month staff and volunteers from National Trust property A la Ronde choose an item from the collection to be specially featured.

This month the chosen object is the rare surviving 18th century cabinet of curiosities, which overflows with its jumble of family souvenirs - consisting of shells, beadwork, semi-precious stones and votive statues which are piled on to raked shelving papered with Italian gouaches and prints.

These were bought in Switzerland when the Parminter cousins, for whom A la Ronde was built, did a grand tour of Europe lasting 10 years.

Volunteer room guide Cherry Prescott said possibly the most bizarre item in the cabinet was a squirrel's tail, pinned almost out of sight at the top

She said: "This is something decidedly odd and eccentric which people never notice for themselves, but are always highly amused and interested when it is pointed out to them.

"Children in particular are fascinated by it, and I tell them to look at the squirrel in the silhouette in the drawing room, which shows a squirrel sitting on a table."

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For further information, and to find out more about volunteer opportunities, contact A La Ronde on (01395) 265514.