Welcome to British Hills
Sir Christopher Wren was a distinguished architect who was best known for the design of many churches including London’s renowned St Paul's Cathedral (a portrait of him is hung in our library). The Stuarts and Hanoverians reigned from the 17th to early 18th century and architecture at the time favoured late Renaissance and Baroque styles. At this time, Japan was finally open to Dutch trading and interest in the world was beginning to emerge.
This guest house was named after Cambridge University's Regius Professor Richard Bentley, who was well known for his work in British classical studies throughout the 17th century. The paintings in the lounge are based on Greek mythology and encapsulate the spirit of this guest house. At the same time in Japan, the Tokugawa Shogunate was laying the foundation for its government.
Henry II is well known for his political influence during the 12th century; he unified England by reclaiming royal lands and paved the way for modern common law. The paintings in the lounge depict the glorious times of knights. The time of Henry II corresponds to the Genpei era in Japan.
Holbein was a notable early 16th century portrait painter who worked in the Tudor court during the reign of King Henry VIII. The painting displayed in the lounge is a replica of one of Holbein's portrait “Henry VII and his Queens”, currently kept in Hampton Palace. Holbein lived near the beginning of the Sengoku period in Japan.
Mathematician, physicist and the greatest scientist of his era, Sir Isaac Newton is noted for his discovery of universal gravitation when he watched an apple fall from a tree in his parents’ orchard. Newton's portrait is featured in the British Hills library. The architectural style of this building (17th century to early 18th century) shares the same era as the first British Hills’ house (Wren).
Born in the 14th century, Chaucer was a famous poet and writer whose best-known work is 'The Canterbury Tales', which is reflected in the painting displayed in the lounge of this guest house. This was at the time of the Nanbokucho period.
Sir Joseph Turner was a well known landscape painter from the late 18th to mid 19th century, whose romantic landscapes quickly made their way to Japan, making him a house-hold name in the Meiji era. He even appeared in the well-known novelist, Natsume Soseki's work, 'The Son' or ‘Bocchan’. At the time, the Industrial Revolution was in full swing in Britain, while it was the peak of Japan’s Edo era or Bunka-Bunsei period. The painting in the house lounge is a reproduction of Turner’s work. Note that even the Royal Navy warships on the horizon are painted in intricate detail.
An English explorer and privateer from the Elizabethan times, Admiral Sir Francis Drake was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe. Along with the British navy, he also defeated the Spanish Armada during the reign of Elizabeth I, the successor to Henry VIII in the 16th century. The painting in the lounge is a representation of the battle between Drake and the Spanish Armada, along with images of sailing ships and nautical charts from the time period. In Japan, it was the eve of the Battle of Sekigahara, just before William Adams (also known as Anjin Miura) appeared to cement Anglo-Japanese relations.
The interior of the Barracks is designed in the image of a British public school. However, the external façade is modelled on medieval castles in Wales and the rest of the UK such as Caerphilly Castle. In these times, forts were built in order to protect the village and provide a peaceful setting for the manor house at its centre. This building is a modern-day school that brings to life the stately spaces that were once home to the knights and soldiers of old.