Twenty-four Paviors and their partners and guests met at Waddesdon Manor for the Paviors’ Luncheon Club Day Out.
Waddesdon Manor is a beautiful 19th Century French Renaissance-style chateau-styled house, built by the Rothschilds as their country home. It houses their superb collection of 18th Century art treasures. It is now owned by the National Trust, but the Rothschild family still live on the Estate and have significant influence as to how the Estate and house are run.
As is traditional on these visits, the group first of all met for coffee and pastries. Once suitably refreshed, the group was very privileged to have a guided tour before the house was open to the public. There was one slight snag, as part of the house was being used for filming so, as compensation, the group were shown the new Madame de Pompadour Facsimile Exhibition, which is about to be opened. This includes a very high-definition digitally-generated facsimile of a painting of Madame de Pompadour in full relief.
Reverting back to the main tour of the house, the rooms are absolutely full of beautiful furniture, objets d’art and paintings. The objets d’art included a chandelier made for Marie Antoinette and a huge collection of Sevres porcelain. There are many portraits by Gainsborough and Reynolds and a beautiful set of Dutch scenes painted by Dutch masters in the late 17th Century. There was so much to see and the group were able to learn a huge amount from our incredibly knowledgeable guides.
Once the tour was completed, a visit was made to the Rothschild wine cellars to taste three different wines from across the world. The cellar was only built in 1995 but, amongst other wines, there are 13,000 bottles of Chateau Lafitte. Needless to say we were not tasting these wines – particularly as Peter Tomkins, the Waddesdon Wine Advisor, told us that a 1982 bottle of Chateau Laffite was sold for £70,000! The Paviors’ group tasting was more prosaic, but nevertheless very enjoyable.
After the wine tasting, a very enjoyable and relaxing lunch was taken. Following lunch, some went to see many more modern works of art belonging to the Rothschilds in the Windmill Hill Archive. This is a contemporary building, designed by Stephen Marshall built around an old farm. There are many interesting works including a reversible mirror by Anish Kapoor and a sculpture of giant umbrellas by Michael Craig-Martin: a really interesting exhibition and a complete contrast to the works of art in the manor itself.
Finally, Flint House in the Park was visited. This was commissioned by Lord Rothschild and was winner of the RIBA House of the year award in 2015. It was a very interesting design, but quite a number of the group was not sure that it was a place where they would actually want to live.
The day was full of contrasts and very enjoyable, and was yet another successful event organized by the Paviors’ Luncheon Club. Many thanks to Peter King for organizing such a great visit.