Friday, August 16, 2013

It Looks As Though We Are In France

I know, I know - here I go again.  I thought the little beeskep would be a good train-ride project. 

Looking at this photo you might be forgiven for thinking we are in the Loire Valley in France.  But no, we're in Buckinghamshire. 
This is Waddesdon Manor, the home to Ferdinand de Rothschild and his sister, Alice.

Waddesdon Manor was purpose built in the 1870's to showcase Ferdinand's extensive art collection and to host his lavish weekend parties.

It certainly is an elegant home - both outside...

...and inside.

Ferdinand was devastated by the death of his wife in childbirth after just 18 months of marriage.  He never remarried.  He did however, enjoy surrounding himself with portraits of feminine beauty as the collage above clearly shows.
 
Ferdinand did not collect just paintings. He amassed amazing clocks, and books, and tapestries, and furniture as well.  The urn on the bottom right was a gift from Emperor Alexander II of Russia.

This charming little bedroom was one of my favorites.  Bedrooms like this were used by husbands who'd partaken of too many cigars and too much port and thus did not want to disturb their already sleeping wives when they finally stumbled up to bed.

From the Conservatory, to the Red Drawing Room, the Baron's Room,  the Morning Room, and Galleries - Waddesdon Manor is an amazing home.

I don't think I've ever seen such an array of chandeliers before.  Note the modern addition on the bottom left!
 
Ferdinand was famous for his parties.  The Prince of Wales was a regular as were the elite of society including prime ministers, members of parliament, business leaders, and actors. Queen Victoria visited in 1897 and this was her bedroom.  She dined separately from the rest of the gathering, but apparently loved the food.  The butler report she ate most hardily and later had her cook from Windsor come and study under Waddesdon Manor's cook.
 
Ferdinand's sister Alice ran the house and inherited it after his death.  She was very hands on and did much to make sure that the art and furniture were cared for and conserved.  For example she outlawed smoking in the house, and closed the drapes against the sunlight protecting fabric and paintings.  

This exhibit of folded linen appeared in several of the rooms throughout the house.  In the 1700's examples of complex folded linen designs were all the rage at lavish dinners.  All of these were done without any stitching - just starch!
 
No visit to Waddesdon Manor is complete without a walk about the gardens.  Here Ferdinand's passion for statuary is instantly obvious.  When he purchased the property to build the house and garden much needed to be done - including leveling 9 feet of the hillside to create enough space to build!  I cannot imagine the number of people and horses needed to make the changes. The building project took over seven years.

Ferdinand wanted instant effect and purchased mature trees to transplant on the property.  They were brought in by railroad and then transported by a team of 8 Percherons in special carts that then could drop the trees directly into the holes already dug for them.

While much of the extensive property is planted out to a natural effect, there is an Aviary and a Rose Garden.
 
The back of the house is planted out in a much more formal style to reflect and compliment the house.
 
I like the ivy pattern on the tower.

There are wonderful views of the house from this part of the garden.

And once again you might be forgiven for thinking you were wandering about at Versailles or a French chateau.
 
The Parterre is an explosion of form and color.
 
We had a great day at Waddesdon. An amazing man, amazing house, and lovely landscape. 

14 comments:

Ann at Beadlework. said...

Buckinghamshire is a lovely county. My sister lives on the border of it and when we visit her we travel through lots of "chocolate box" villages. A lovely house with so many beautiful things to see.

cucki said...

So beautiful x

Margaret said...

Wow! Thanks for the tour -- I thoroughly enjoyed it! How do you find out about all these wonderful places?

Vickie said...

Wow! Love it all! Especially the red horses and chariot!!

Melissa said...

What a lovely place to visit!

BTW, I hear Susan Branch has a new book out about her visit to England "A Fine Romance". It seems you can compile your own book from your vacation!

hazel said...

Another lovely place to visit.

Several years ago I had a national trust holiday at Waddesdon manor alas not in the manor but nearby. We changed the bedding over from summer to winter at the back of the manor in the formal garden it was a brilliant week.

Wond what will be your next outing.

Hugs
Hazel

Melanie said...

Stunning. Truly truly stunning. One knows hardly where to begin. Every room is a treasure rich with history.

Andrea said...

A wonderful place. This is one place I would love to go back to see again. Looks slightly rainy, it was when we went! They were just putting out the bedding at the end of April a few years ago after a terrible Spring. So I must go back and see all of that glorious bedding.

Samplings from Spring Creek said...

Amazing manor and history

Barb said...

Thank goodness for Alice who made sure everything was preserved. I agree, the little bedroom was quite delightful.

summer breeze said...

beautiful, I love visiting these old places and seeing all the paintings etc, i've been to hampton court palace and its beautiful with the painted ceilings, kew gardens is another must, but I just have to go back to hampton court as there was not enough hours in the day to see it all :) wonderful post :)

Chris said...

What an amazing place. Such wonderful things to seen. I am very taken with the folded linens.

Mouse said...

gosh ... fabulous place .. another on the need to go and visit list :)
and those napkin displays are amazing :)
off for another tour round the garden :) love mouse xxxxx

Annette-California said...

WOW! I loved everything you shared:) The grounds are spectacular - amazing home. Fancy Napkin Folds? Isn't this what you do at home Beth:)))? lol WOW!
love Annette
love your newest beeskep wip!