Wednesday, 12 August 2015

A French Renaissance-style château

The front
The rear
overlooking the extraordinary flowered parterre pioneered by the owners

Every season the flower planting scheme is completely different using influences from tapestries, luxurious fabrics and carpets within the house.  This summers planting was inspired by a C17th Italian hanging of embroidered velvet on a cloth of gold 
You could be forgiven for imagining that we popped across the Channel to France for a few days, but this house lies within the heart of Buckinghamshire a little over an hours drive from where we live
This is Waddesden, built in the 1870s by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild to house his superb collections of art, furniture, and precious objects. It is where he entertained both the fashionable and influential at that time
I have an aversion to ivy growing up house walls,
but what is not to admire here where the ivy has been trained to both enhance and embrace the golden stonework and looks simply stunning
Two-dimensional and three-dimensional garden features using succulents and various coloured small leafed bedding plants were also pioneered by the Rothchild family


Although Waddesden was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1957 by his cousin, the current Baron retains an apartment and is a major benefactor. He is actively involved in major restoration works at the house, and  his great interest in the arts, style, and design are evident everywhere. He owns Château Lafite Rothschild situated in the wine producing village of Pauillac in the Médoc region of Bordeaux. Across all vintages Lafite Rothschild is one of the most expensive wines to buy. It is available to purchase in the shop at Waddesden, along with some interesting antique pieces, and a range of goods designed by students from the Royal College of Art which were inspired by the collections at Waddesden
representing a giant candlestick symbolising the family's connection to the world of wine and a reminder of Waddesdon's tradition of hospitality. The bottles are set on a steel armature and lit from within by fibre-optic strands as daylight falls
en masse planting not a speck of soil to be seen
The Aviary is an eye-catching feature and home to rare and endangered birds, many with Rothschild associations
via 
A Rothchild's Myna bird from Bali
Sumptuous decor in the dining room where lavish diner parties were held
The Red Drawing Room was the main reception room for guests arriving at Waddesden
After dinner at Baron Ferdinand's house parties, the ladies would withdraw to this the Grey Drawing Room whilst the men enjoyed port in the Dining Room before re-joining them for conversation, cards and music
There are two towers housing spiral stairways - one for going up and one for coming down
An enormous neo-classical polished malachite urn presented to Baron Lionel de Rothschild in 1873 by Emperor Alexander ll of Russia
This magnificent neo-classical silver service comprising 120 pieces is a supreme example of the goldsmith's art. It was commissioned by George lll in 1770 and is one of only a handful of royal silver services to survive worldwide
The Waddesden collection continues to grow and a fairly recent commission is this contemporary chandelier made from broken china and bent cutlery. It is the central feature in a deep blue room,  conceived by German lighting designer, Ingo Maurer. It is called Porca Miseria which roughly translates as 'Oh my Goodness' in Italian
Most of the house can be visited, but two thirds into our viewing we abandoned the tour as we both began suffering from image overload
We journeyed onwards to a C16 Coaching Inn where we stayed on an 'Amazon Deal' which I have mentioned previously as being fantastic value 

44 comments:

  1. WOW! Amazing! No words to describe the beauty. Each and every part looks good. The sculpture made from wind bottles and bird made from flowers looks very beautiful...

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    1. Thank you for visiting and for your kind comment which I appreciate.

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  2. Stunning place and photos, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you - I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing them

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  3. Waddesden is wonderfully French in style, Rosemary, and obviously well worth a visit. The building looks like a fairy-tale palace sitting there in the sunshine with those fabulous gardens. I love the idea of the garden inspired by a tapestry, and it looks magnificent. I can understand the overload - even viewing the photos causes something of that sensation. The silver service and the grey drawing room particularly appeal to me, as very stylish and elegant. And I love the bird too, of course :)

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    1. You are right Patricia - I omitted lots of the photos in order to prevent overload, but everything was so wonderfully kept, sparkling, and manicured.
      I am disappointed now that they did not make a Cardinal bird especially for you, it would have looked spectacular made out of red begonias and geraniums.

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  4. What a feast of lovely and interesting photographs! You are always reminding me that I should get out more and see some of these places. It's been years since I visited Waddeston. Just walking around the gardens and looking at the amazing structure of the place would be a treat. Hope all is well with you. x

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    1. Lovely to hear from you LeeAnn and hope all is well with you.
      I had not been to Waddesden either for years, and it has changed a great deal.
      You can book the house online - best to get there early as soon as it opens to see the beautiful gardens uninterrupted by other visitors.

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  5. Wow!!! It's good to be rich. I see what you mean about sensory overload.

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    1. This is just one of the many, many grand houses owned by the Rothschilds

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  6. That is magnificent. The outside building and garden plus that ivy look spectacular. The inside, it all goes so well together.
    Your photos are excellent as is your composition.

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    1. I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing it all Margaret - it is an overwhelming place to visit as everything is so well maintained and perfectly manicured.

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  7. Goodness what a place - imagine the wealth needed to build and interior decorate such a place - out of this world.

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    1. There was a very large oil painting in the house showing vignettes of all the Rothschild homes and there must have been getting at least 50 beautiful houses.

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  8. Dear Rosemary,

    You were very clever to hold off on the location and lead us to believe that the chateau was in France, because that was certainly my impression. The staircase towers are certainly a nod to Chambord, and I think the additional Neoclassic pilasters make it especially elegant.

    Years ago I read about the rise of the Rothchild family and their way of doing business, and it's fascinating reading. Their couriers were the first to bring back news of Wellington's victory at Waterloo.

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    1. The Rothschilds are such a talented family, not only in the banking world, but have other diverse talents and achievements in many other fields at which they are very successful.
      I see the nod to Chambord too - Waddesden is a glorious building to visit and admire.

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  9. I knew from the first picture where you had been! It is a wonderful place isn't it. Your photos show it off beautifully. I love that malachite urn, it is amazing isn't it. Also, I see in one of your photos one of the pot pourri boats from Sevres, they are quite something aren't they. Like you I am not an ivy on buildings fan, but I agree, this trellis is wonderful isn't it. Glad you enjoyed the visit, thank you for sharing it with us! xx

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    1. It is years ago since I last visited Wadddesden - back then you parked near the gates and wandered down with hardly a soul around, and I recall that the aviary was building restored. Now they have a bus service at the far end of the estate to keep the cars away. Glad that you thought my photos did it justice.

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  10. Oh my, what an incredibly lavish home and gardens! This is your summer place, right?

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    1. It is lavish I agree, but all is kept in tip top condition - not a speck of dust or cobweb anywhere to be seen.

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  11. Wow, a castle for me! Love it! Imagine people living there...
    Thank´s for sharing this place with us Rosemary!

    Titti

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    1. It is extremely lavish Titti but gloriously so

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  12. Just amazing, love the exterior, the luxury, the gardens and certainly the art with empty bottles.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. Thanks - glad that you enjoyed visiting Waddesden with me

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  13. Dear Rosemary, Sensory overload, yes, but in a good way. The flower beds are very unusual, red and yellow combinations...not my favorite.
    It was almost a relief to see a photograph of your charming Coaching Inn.

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    1. I agree that the colour combinations in the flower beds are not ones that I would use either, but it is an interesting concept using tapestries, fabrics and carpets within the house itself for inspiration. Next season the colour combinations used will be completely different.

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  14. Such a beautiful house Rosemary! You fooled me. I really thought the house was in France! Didn't the Rothschilds own a villa in cape Ferrat as well, which you can visit? I think I saw a blogpost on it recently. The house and interior of Waddesden manor look very impressive.

    Have a good weekend!

    Madelief

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    1. Yes, you are right Madelief - they own Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. They have built and owned so many wonderful houses, but also have very generously given a great many of them away which are now in trust so that the public can visit.

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  15. Yet another magnificent place to remember and wow that interior! Like an explosion of wealth and richness, almost unbelievable, never seen anything like it but then I've never visited a chateau like this, just old castles or forts in ruins, since that's what our kids loved. The older and barer, the more they loved it. I guess their imagination could go wild then ;) But now that they're older and go their own way more and more, I think I might start to visit gardens and chateaus like the ones you're showing here so often. Think I'll start with Versailles or Chantilly you visited recently.

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    1. Dear Marian - Versailles and Chantilly are great places to start - you will fall in love with them both.
      Children love an old ruin it excites their imagination and brings history to life.

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  16. What a lovely short break! I’m envious of you, Rosemary, that you have an easy access to France and still you have French flavored place like this close to your living place. The castle is so beautiful both inside and outside that made me feel overwhelmed. The color of the flowers are so powerful, too; I wonder the gardeners wanted to give the visitors energy not to lose their strength under the strong sun.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - in Europe we do have lots of different cultures on our doorstep. I did not appreciate this when I was younger but do now. Within 3 - 4 hours we can be in Marrakech or Istanbul - on our doorstep and yet so very dissimilar from a life lived here.

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  17. I don't know how you managed to select the best photos for the post of this amazing place...it must have taken ages!

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    1. Spot on Suzie - choosing which to show was very difficult and in the end I have probably shown too many.

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  18. Wow! Absolutely breath taking Rosemary. Your photos are stunning and I love how you've captured it all. I'm so glad they've kept castles like this going, even though they must be an absolute nightmare to run financially. So much history and a lovely visit I'm sure. Thank you for bringing us along sweet Rosemary.♥

    Charlie
    xx

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    1. Thank you dear Charlie - knowing what lovely photos you show I particularly appreciate your very kind comment. Waddesden is kept in pristine condition - it is difficult to take it all in as there is so much to see.

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  19. Oh my goodness, I am drooling. probably the most beautiful post I have ever seen!

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    1. Dear Janey - so pleased that you enjoyed seeing this fabulous house and its gardens - thank you.

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  20. Oh my .. what a beauty. This is one of the most beautiful castle and garden.
    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. You are right Orvokki - it is a stunning place to visit, and everything is so immaculate

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  21. It's many years since I visited Waddesdon, so I very much enjoyed being reminded of its wonders, Rosemary. The gardens are extraordinary and I really don't remember them being so elaborate. It is looking extremely well cared-for.

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    1. I saw a programme about the current Baron Rothchild and he is extremely particular about the way things are presented and kept which shows all around Waddesden. It must be 20 years since we last visited ourselves

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  22. Your photography, inside and out, is breathtaking! Waddesdon is on the list. I appreciate the precision with which the red/yellow parterre is executed but not my favorite color combination. I look forward to your visit next summer!

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    1. The flower parterres change with each season, may be next time they will show colours that have more appeal.

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