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Friday, 14 February 2014

Valentines Shmalentines at Waddesdon Manor

I'm not the biggest fan of Valentine's Day. I love Valentine's Day cards-  this year I wrote an article about my obsession with them for XXY Magazine- but the actual day I can give or take.
Basically, I have spent the last two Valentine's Days in a library, and I'm not sorry. 

Working at Waddesdon, though, I decided to try and get myself out of that Valentine's funk. And it turns out that the art collection here is pretty effective emotional therapy. Unfortunately for you single laydeez/gentlemanz the house is closed until March, but for those who really need a stint on the couch, here's my summary of Waddesdon's least romantic offerings. 

Some day my prince will come? 

Alice de Rothschild (1847-1922), the long suffering sister and live-in companion of Waddesdon's patron Ferdinand, loved flowers, so much so that she was said to walk around the garden with a pair of secateurs to wrench out any weeds that had struggled through the parterre beds.

This week, appropriately, the first snowdrops were spotted peeking through the frozen ground

Birds eye view of snowdrops

Alice's preference for the floral is also evident inside the house, particularly in the State Bedroom, which was used by Queen Victoria when she rested on her visit to Waddesdon. It's a sort of proto Cath Kidston design. As rosy as a box of Cadbury's roses. 

The room's rosy-ness is, in a roundabout way, down to Alice. It was she who imposed a stringent housekeeping regime after her brother's death, known as 'Miss Alice's Rules'. This meant shutters down, even in the presence of royalty: when Edward VII paid a visit to Waddesdon she refused to raise the blinds to let him see the paintings. Pretty badass. 

It is very Victorian

But Miss Alice was not only interested in flowers and housekeeping. A permanent bachelorette, she took over the running of the estate after her brother died, and organised the garden into allotments to feed the less fortunate during WW1.


She was also good friends with Queen Vic herself, who affectionately referred to her as 'The All-Powerful One'. Who needs Valentines, Alice might have said, when you have a collection of pipes and guns to play with in your country mansion? 


Happy Valentine's Day y'all!! 


  1. So beautiful! I love the ornate detail on the walls!
    Josie xoxo Fashion Mumblr

    1. Thanks Josie, you're such a sweetheart. You need to come and visit when we reopen! The walls get more ornate than these, I can promise! Xxx

  2. I just discovered your blog and I'm really enjoying the tone, it's well interesting and also funny and totally different. :)

    1. Ahhh cheers. That's really good to hear! I feel a bit of a nut-job writing it most of the time!

  3. This place looks awesome. Wish we could visit! Thanks for sharing! Xo, M&K at