I love my friend Elaine. Each summer, she takes me out on a visit to some lovely manor or stately home.
This year we went to Waddesdon Manor; a French château built between 1874 and 1889 for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild.
It was his weekend home and his place for entertaining.
“Oh,” he would say, “let’s away to the country for the weekend…don’t you know.”
This next photo pretty much sums up the manor.
Think gold, think rich velvet, think jewel tones, and imagine a priceless collection of paintings, furniture, and knick knacks.
Everything in this manor is so over the top that it couldn’t be any more over the top if it tried.
It feels like you stepped into a museum.
This is the ceiling in the front reception room.
It’s Hercules received into Olympus by Jacob de Wit (1695-1754)
It’s done in three panels and fixed to the ceiling.
Here is a ginger jar, Mrs John Douglas by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1728), and an art deco lamp.
And we’ve only just walked into the first reception room!
This room had four life-sized Gainsborough portraits.
There is a view from this red reception room to the grey drawing room.
This was the ladies’ drawing room.
And in the opposite direction, is a dining room.
Frech tapestries, marble walls, the hugest crystal chandeliers, and roses and roses and roses for days.
Can you get any more opulent than that?
Well, yes, as a matter of fact, you can always get 4 Titian paintings for the top of your 4 gold mirrors!
At this point, I thought I might just die and go to heaven…but these were only the first two of the 30 rooms open to visitors, so I decided I better not die just yet.
Down the hall is a little private library. This was the Baron’s personal space.
All along the carved marquetry of the walls are these small jewel-like paintings in opulent gold frames.
This one is Pastoral Conversation Under the Statue of a River God, one of seven John-Baptiste Pater (1695-1736) paintings in the house.
Here we are in the Baron’s drawing room under Dorothea Bland, ‘Mrs Jordan’ as ‘Peggy’ in ‘The Country Girl’ (1762-1816) one of four paintings by George Romney (1734-1802).
Under the Romney painting is Queen Victoria, who stayed in the house, plus family portraits and small treasure paintings. That’s Baron Ferdinand on the right.
Here is the tower room.
I can’t even begin to describe the treasures and the gilding and tapestries.
But these two beautiful portraits by John-Baptiste Greuze caught my eyes.
Here is the Morning room.
It was added so the weekend gentlemen and ladies would have a place to write and read their correspondence.
Here’s the brilliant thing about antique treasures and modern technology. Often sunlight has to be kept out of rooms to prevent further damage to tapestries, wood and painted surfaces, but modern LED lights offer bright light without any of the harmful sunlight effects.
Do you see those slim LED lights above and below the paintings? Look how they illuminate the paintings without disturbing the eyes.
I need those!
The Tête-à-Tête: A Lady Playing a Lute, and a Cavalier, by Gabriel Metsu (1626-1669)
Here is one of the desks you could use to write your correspondence at.
A Girl with a Basket of Fruit at a Window by Gerrit Dou (also known as Douw, 1613-1665)
Here is a view from one of the tower staircases down to the small library.
Me, looking absolutely overcome!
This, you guys, this is an automaton.
It was made in 1768 and plays a tune and various parts move.
It is rarely wound up these days but there is a movie playing so everyone can see it move.
here is a brief description: ”
“The elephant is operated by two keys inserted in the belly of the elephant and the base. The base plays a musical tune. The triumphal Emperor riding the elephant and the four musicians on the base move to and fro. The paste flowers, designed to imitate diamonds, rotate and open and close. Glass roundels in the base reveal revolving snakes and stars, as well as architectural scenes.”
Also, the elephant moves his trunk and tail and eyes from side to side.
Small sad story: Baron Frederic’s wife and child died in childbirth and he never remarried.
His sister took over the running of the house, and his sister decided that proper Victorian gentlemen didn’t smoke in the main part of the house and certainly, bachelors didn’t stay in the main part where the ladies were, so there is a dedicated bachelor’s wing of the house.
Here is one side of the sitting room in the bachelor’s wing…
John Nost Sartorius (1755-1828)
…and here is the other.
Tell you what, I might just be tempted to stay here the whole time!
Jon Nost Sartorius again.
Here is the play room in the bachelor’s wing.
Walking out and around the house to get to the wine cellars.
And deep under the house there are 15,000 bottles of historic wine!
Labels painted by Dali, Warhol, HRH Prince Charles!
I’ll leave you with this last painting deep int he wine cellars.
It is God’s Banquet by Gillis van Valckenborch (1570 – 1622)
I had to search for that one painting since there was no name on the frame. It seems that it was acquired by the estate a few years ago at auction for approximately $400K.
I guess if you have a Rothschild wine cellar it only makes sense to have an old master’s painting in it.
Hope you liked this glorious little peek into this French chateau.
I couldn’t get enough so I dragged Robbie back for a second look.
I came away with over 400 photos.
Still blissfully looking thru them.