Book launch & bath buckets

Enjoyable evening hosting a book launch at the Plus OneGallery for The Country Houses of Sir John Vanbrugh; the gallery has an exhibition of paintings and models devoted to the influences of Palladio, guests get especially excited by the model of the Pantheon by Timothy Richards. Aurum Press are out in force and sell a good number of the book, and I am warmed by the numbers of friends, writers, including curators, photographers and architects who turn out. – especially Paul Barker whose wonderful recent photography has helped make the book so beautiful.

This week I have been to Waddesdon and made a close inspection of the kitchen offices and servants’ quarters, and found much of interest for my servants’ book which is coming to a close soon; I am continually fascinated by the detail of people’s lives in great houses, and Waddesdon is full of such things, from internal telephone systems to the covered buckets for carrying hot water for baths. Everything is done so well here, and all the curatorial team immensely helpful with information and advice.

It was always a house for weekend entertaining, though, and there was never a nursery, or indeed any children brought up in the house. I am moved by the sad letters between Alice de Rothschild and her head gardener Johnson, about plants, but also about the sad losses of younger gardeners and family members killed in the First World War.

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