Thursday, 3 April 2014

Waddesdon Manor

This is a repost. I accidentally deleted the original one! thank god for google caches. This was originally written on the 26th of February.

On Monday I visited Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire. It was part of an extensive collection of stately homes owned by the Rothschild family.

The family were fond of Buckingham as a place to set up shop because, apparently, it was their favourite place to go hunting. The Rothschild that had this Manor built in 1874-1889 was Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild.

The building is absolutely beautiful and is another example of an eclectic use of styles in England. As a little island tucked away on the edge of Europe, Italy and French architectural style reached us a bit late and had seemingly lost some of it's intensity along the way. Our original Renaissance was at its height in Henry VIII's court and it was never used as compulsively by the English. So, fast forward 3 centuries and our 'Neo-Renaissance' took on board gothic and baroque elements along with the Renaissance design. For example, the building itself is comparable to the barroquial obsession in convexing and concaving the perimeters of a building and all the architectural elements therein. In terms of Gothic influence, the design incorporates turrets and numerous pointed motifs. However, because of the clear division between the top half of the building and the bottom, rustication and loyalty to the classical orders, this building is in a Neo Renaissance style. Elsewhere on the continent though a building in this supposed style would probably be less eclectic.

Look closely at the last photo, made me laugh that the window has a hello kitty toy hanging from it.

Unfortunately we didn't get to take a tour of the whole house. This may in fact of been quite lucky for us because what we did see took us 5 hours. The reason for parts of the house being closed is because it is actually closed season for them and because they are filming Frankenstein there and if we'd gone today Daniel Radcliffe would have been on set!!!!!!!!! Gutted.

But yeah, because of this the room we saw were mostly quite modest in comparison to what you might expect. However, even though the house has fairly large Galleries in general it is smaller than you might assume from seeing the outside. It is long indeed but narrow as well.

The painting pictured above was placed in a room opposite George III's silver service. The silver is all incredible in itself but more interestingly it is so weird to think how people went about a dinner. We have recently gathered in the news that rich men today's idea of good hospitality is taking a girl to Nandos so really it's time to take note boys of how to wine and dine. Luckily, it will only set you back a few million if not more... They even had an ice cream cooler to put on the table. It had a lid that was openable itself and to be filled with ice which then sits on top the bottom half of the pot to cool the ice cream beneath it!

The painting itself is a 10th copy of a painting of 12. Therefore not particularly valuable. The frame however is so important that the item is a 'starred item' and will be the priority to save in a disaster. The frame is important because of its meaning. Despite the image, the whole painting was a diplomatic gift. Beforehand, tensions where high when France took America's side in the War of Independence, so once ties had been mended this image was whisked off to England. The four roundels in the corners say King Louis XVI of France. The top bit has a crown and the extending hand of justice or friendship while the two heraldic crests are that of France and England : The Bourbons and the Hanovers.

Not part of the service but pretty all the same. Some kind of dessert ornament I think. One of the walkways in the house.

The main point of the photo is to show you how amazing the curtains are.

A vase given to the family as a gift from Tsar Alexander II.

Another room we visited housed some of the family's collection of porcelain.

R for Rothschild

Boy Building A House of Cards by Chardin !

Another room full of lovely porcelain from Sevres, the Razumovsky Service. All pieces have individual painter marks on the back of them and the Sevres mark to match which is so useful for a collector.

Afterwards we had the lovely curator take us upstairs to where they store some of their textiles. She curates the entire collection but specifies in textiles. She explained how the issue of restoration vs. conservation is proving difficult to resolve. The trust uses netting to slow down the ageing process and act as an extra layer between the object and the environment around it. She said that so far it hasn't done an awful lot of good. With the pieces we saw most of them were fragments of dresses or furniture that had been unpicked or were too delicate to be on display. The interesting thing about these objects is that although the house is a 19th century construction, the interiors were largely 18th century and were akin the tastes of many to look back on 'Le Ancien Regime'.

I recommend you visit this place, go go go. X

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