The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Castles, Butlers and Tea on the Lawn

Simeon Rosset is a freelance butler - the real kind, not the strippergram, although he says he periodically gets enquiries about it. He served his time as head butler at Leeds Castle and now hires out his services for events such as exclusive gatherings, weddings, and shooting parties, and can be found butlering anywhere from Scottish castles to European palaces to Super yachts.

Our paths crossed when he was looking for a photographer for a particular event, and although I was unable to help him on that occasion, we subsequently met up for morning coffee, which merged into lunch. What was going to be a general introduction to each other turned into a few hours of questions, storytelling and idea swapping. It wasn't long before we started talking about creating a butler-in-action shot.

And so a couple of months later I found myself out at Craufurdland Castle near Kilmarnock.

Although this castle was built in the 18th century, the land has been in the family for nearly 800 years. The current descendants/owners/custodians are Simon and Adity Houison Craufurd and their two daughters, Indra and Manisha.

We decided to do the shoot in the library, as a wall full of books would make a timeless backdrop. Many of those tomes dated back hundreds of years.

Simeon also runs a Butler School service, training potential butlers to the high standards required. On this day he was completing the training of Alistair, which gave us a 2nd butler to include in the shots.

The shoot went well. Everyone adopted their roles and got into the part, and it wasn't long before I managed to get a couple of photos I was really pleased with.

And what better way to end the day than butler-served tea on the lawn?


hope said...

Ah, a peek into how the other half lives...being a public servant, I felt kinship with the butler. :)

Nicely done. The family portraits look like oil paintings which belong in a castle.

Kim Ayres said...

Hope - it's a whole different world, isn't it? One I'm happy to move through, but can't imagine settling in :)

Allen Capoferri said...

Cool castle, great photographs!

Pat said...

You made them all look so interesting I wanted to know more about them. All.
Well you know by now I'm congenitally nosey

Kim Ayres said...

Allen - thanks :)

Pat -you can find out more about the history of the place and the family on their website here - :)

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

I am enjoying myself, reading blogs, and being stingy with my comments cos I'm just reading, reading and enjoying.

Being nosy, I will check out that website later :-D

I love the way people take what they have and make it into an art. You with photography and story-telling, the butler and his work.

Kim Ayres said...

Neena - you do the same with your writing :)

Pat said...

Thanks Kim. It looks great place for a visit.

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - :)

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