Looking through art and architecture blogs on tumblr this weekend I saw this picture posted on several sites, identified as Charlecote Park. But Charlecote Park is a rather severe Tudor construction, and this looks nothing like it. Curious, since I like this building so much, I started searching around, at first hitting a bunch of dead ends. I eventually traced it back to the travel blog of the man who took it, and from there identified it as Waddesdon Manor.
Waddesdon Manor comes up when you search for "Tudor Manor," but it is not. It was built for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839–1898) in the style of a French Renaissance château. The architect was Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur, who had previously worked on restoring a couple of original French Renaissance châteaux. It was built between 1874 and 1889.
What an astonishing house. Sad to think that our current generation of robber barons will leave no legacies like this, since our architecture is so ghastly.
Nineteenth-century interior views. Although the outside had a Renaissance look, the house was in some ways very modern, with a steel frame and electric lights -- it was here that Queen Victoria first encountered electric lighting, and according to Rothschild family lore she spent ten minutes turning a chandelier on and off.
And modern views.
Two views of the Smoking Room in the Bachelor Wing, a whole wing of the house set aside for all-male gatherings. Much of the famous Rothschild collection of Renaissance arms and armor was displayed here.
The last member of the Rothschild family to own Waddesdon was James de Rothschild (1878-1957). He bequeathed the house and its contents to the National Trust, and he also set aside a trust to maintain it. So it is still in marvelous condition, and visited by more than 300,000 people a year.