The Long Weekend


That wonderful feeling on a glum Monday when Amazon reminds you they are sending you an amazing book that you forgot you pre-ordered in January. The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House, 1918-1939 by Adrian Tinniswood is available now! And will be arriving at my house on Wednesday. Love the cover….the dog is my favorite!

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Good news on Wentworth Woodhouse! 

I’m late to this party, but one of my biggest country house bucket list houses has been saved! Wentworth Woodhouse is being purchased by a preservation group. They are still giving tours and hosting events this summer, but the article says it won’t be really ready for prime time for 10-15 years. Just in case you forgot how amazing this house is, here is a pick from the Daily Mail….


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Getting ready for the ball!

Design a wig to wear to your next ball! The V&A Design a Wig is very fun, but kept crashing when I tried to save my wig. What shall I do?

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Country House Furniture

The National Trust usually has an appeal running for one of its properties, but the newest fund raising is for furniture across their properties. The National Trust Curator of Furniture (I swoon at that title) has put together a nifty Google map to highlight certain properties with especially wonderful furniture collections.

I thought at first they were crowd sourcing their furniture collections…having crazed Country House visitors take pictures and do some research. But, alas, no. Sounded like fun to me! What they did do is pretty neat, but I want to like it more than I actually do.

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Returning to Sledmere House

“When I come back here, all the time I have been away seems like a dream. Everything is exactly the same here; the same conversation, the same jokes, the books in the same place on the same tables. My rooms just as I left them. One cannot believe that five months of incident and excitement have passed away. Home seems very calm and comfortable; a refuge quite inaccessible to any of the vexations and troubles of the world.”

Christopher Sykes, March 1854 from The Big House: the Story of a Country House and its Family by Christopher Simon Sykes, 2004.

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Country House Decorating


Another beauty from the Cleveland Museum of Art. A covered urn by the Wedgwood Factory c. 1900. I think this would look lovely in any room, but perfect in an Adamesque style room. In case any of you doubt me, Adamesque is a word, and I love that word and all it represents.

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Country House Movie Set: Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan

Greystoke, the country house of the Earls of Greystoke, is represented by a number of different houses in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan (1984). Even as a teenager, I realized this movie is goofy in many ways, but the cinematography and settings are gorgeous.

Blenheim Palace is one location, but Floors Castle was used for the exterior of the house. These photos are from Wikipedia….

and a more impressive panoramic view:

Hatfield House is used for interior shots, and certainly deserves its own post.

SPOILER ALERT: One of the interior scenes is where the Earl of Greystoke (Tarzan’s grandfather) rides down the grand staircase on a tray and accidentally kills himself. I’ll leave this photo here in case you never saw the movie.

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TBT Country House Visiting!


Here I am at my first country house many years ago….I’m guessing 1991. My first trip to England and my first house was Blenheim Palace. Not bad, right? I mean, my matching floral early 90’s ensemble was not up to snuff for tea, but no one kicked me out.

I was there to take a class in Oxford, but I found a classmate to go with me, figured out the bus schedule, and made it happen. I’ve ditched taking someone with me all of the time, but doing what it takes to see what I want to see is still number one on the agenda. You only live once and my bucket list is long.

I wanted to write a post about the Duke of Marlborough when he passed away last year. As a young kid from the US, he was the first real, live aristocrat that I saw on TV and read about. I love to read about the heroes, ghosts, and every day people who populated Blenheim through the years.

The Vanderbilt/American connection drew me in also. My own answer to royalty were the Vanderbilts and Consuelo was Queen in my eyes. Now that I’ve read so much more and learned so much more, I know that Consuelo was not a saint, but visiting Blenheim was the ultimate for 20 something me.

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Country House Movie Set: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell 

I am really enjoying Jonathon Strange & Mr. Norrell, currently on BBC America, which has some fabulous Country House locations.

Fountains Abbey stands in for Mr. Norrell’s Yorkshire home.

The BBC explains all the locations used. My favorite scene so far was filmed in York Minster. I will let you watch and figure out why the scene is so fun with just the right amount of creepy.

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My Country House Boyfriend


Ok, so he’s American, but he would still be an awesome Country House Boyfriend. This particular boyfriend is Nathaniel Olds, painted by Jeptha Homer Wade in 1837.

He wears those groovy green glasses to protect his eyes from the harsh light of oil lamps (specifically whale oil). I imagine Nathaniel and I would be an intellectual couple…more interested in reading, intense political discussions, and long walks than gambling, gossiping, and dancing the night away.

You can see Nathaniel in the Cleveland Museum of Art. Please ignore the portrait of his wife. And just in case you end up on Jeopardy, Jeptha Homer Wade decided to give up his artistic career and formed the Western Union Telegraph Company. He eventually donated the land for Wade park, which is the center of Cleveland’s University Circle (which includes Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Western Reserve Historical Society and the Cleveland Botanical Garden.)

Remember what I said earlier about rich industrialists?

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