Glorious gardens grace great houses, and one of our local stately homes is giving us a real chance this summer to sample the life of those who visited it in the past. By using modern technology, Waddesdon Manor will be able to allow visitors to sample the Red Drawing Room as guests did in the Nineteenth Century. Even in those days, the guests of Baron Ferdinand were able to see carpets and furniture from earlier centuries and so may you when you visit.
The Red Drawing Room is one of the central rooms in the house, it both connects the main entrance with the formal gardens or allowed guests to congregate and admire the furniture before entering for dinner. Visitors will also be allowed all over the room, as a reproduction of the seventeenth century Savonnerie carpet has been laid. Together with that, new blinds will bring light and sight of the gardens into the room, whilst filtering out UV radiation that could damage textiles and light-sensitive materials.
As you stroll around the room, you will also see close-up elements of Baron Ferdinand’s original room arrangement. A set of tapestry covered seats, a folded screen painted with scenes of monkeys and as a reflection of the garden glimpsed through the windows, a fireplace full of ferns.
Also in the Manor for the summer is a spotlight on the work of Jean-Henri Riesener. He was court cabinetmaker to Louis XVI, and perhaps one of the most celebrated cabinetmakers of the eighteenth century. The chests of drawers on display are richly decorated with marquetry patterns of trophies and flowers together with geometric patterns, and mounted with chased and gilded bronze.
These works some owned by members of the French royal family are some of the dozen items of furniture at Waddesdon which were originally at the Palace of Versailles. The exhibitions will allow visitors to marvel at these splendid pieces, their design, construction and fascinating history.
For further information on both the exhibitions and Waddesdon Manor, please see their website www.waddesdonmanor.org.uk
Photo credit: View of the Red Drawing Room from Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild’s Red Book 1897. Copyright The National Trust