2008 Simon and Sarah: pillars of the National Trust.
|Simon and Sarah get into some serious culture. Look where they went recently as fully paid up members of the National Trust - Waddesdon Manor!|
Waddesdon Manor was built (1874-1889) by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild to display his outstanding collection of art treasures and to entertain the fashionable world. Fascinated by the history and culture of France, he commissioned a French architect, Gabriel Hippolyte Destailleur, to build him a Renaissance-style chateau, based on those in the Loire Valley, and employed a French garden designer, Elie Lainé to lay out the grounds. Like other members of his family he wanted a retreat outside London and chose Buckinghamshire because several of his cousins already had houses there (it was known as "Rothschildshire" in the late 19th century). The Manor was only used for weekends in the summer months, for Ferdinand's famous house parties, and was the last word in luxury with electric lights, lifts and under-floor heating. Single or unaccompanied male friends stayed in the Bachelors' Wing, complete with Billiard and Smoking Rooms. Couples stayed in one of the 9 suites in the Main house.
View of Waddesdon Manor from the top of the drive. Despite the puddles and the clouds we enjoyed a rain free visit. The chateau was designed by Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur. The design sought by Ferdinand Rothschild was inspired by the Chateaux of the Valois kings and to the ill educated (me) it is a mini Versailles (I wouldn't have guessed that if Sarah hadn't mentioned it though! The foundation stone was laid on 18th August 1877.
Shot of the North Fountain at the top of the drive
Itinerant Gnome taking up space in the 'Parterre'.
Shot of the rear of the house or more properly described as a view of the rear elevation of the Manor taking in the fountain and 'Parterre' (water feature and garden to you and me..).
A lovely shot of the rear of the Manor taken from the wonderfully named 'Frog Fountain Steps'. I only had this one chance of the photo as I was told "hop it" (Sorry, couldn't resist).
Lovely shot of the 'Parterre'. A perfect balance between house and garden (well that's what it says in the guide book). A winner in 2000 of the coveted Europa Nostra diploma for 'the extraordinary recreation with modern techniques of a major Victorian garden'.
The itinerant yet adorable Gnome is back (ruining the landscape) and appears to have something interesting in his pockets.
"Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"
The Waddesdon Garden. These 3 dimensional creations date back to ideas from the late 1890's. Formed with a framework of iron, filled with soil and moss and closely planted with such things as alternantheras, lobelias and spergula, to represent the colouring seen in some tropical birds (yep, guide book again-it was five quid well spent).
The Aviary and pleasure grounds. A cast iron aviary built in 1889 restored after a two year project in 2003. It is fashioned on the French and German garden pavillions like those at Versailles and Potsdam. Of course, most of the birds here have a beautiful plumage (but not a Norwegian blue in sight).
Far from just housing exotics, this aviary is used for breeding programmes for a number of rare and endangered species (but not the Norwegian Blue).
A solitary Sarah in the middle distance taking a load off and wondering what pleasures were available in the Pleasure Garden. I looked but could see naff all, not even an ice cream vendor or a wandering minstral. All I could see was a statue of a goat, a water filled trough with loose change at the bottom and some very appealing gravel. The Victorians had a strange idea about pleasure methinks.
Here we see the Gnome (and fully paid up member of the National Trust) looking smug at the end of a hard days sightseeing. Looking particularly smug as he had just eaten mushroom soup with trouffle cream and a loverrly rare beef salad washed down with homemade lemonade.
Needless to say, about 1 hour 20 minutes later he was quaffing a 'cold one' (or two) at home.
Last Updated (Friday, 03 September 2010 19:34)