Chatsworth, Interior July 2018

Greetings! I have taken a slight hiatus from writing to do some traveling.  Now that I am home again, I thought I would start to share some of my latest adventures.  I was fortunate enough to get another chance to travel to England in July.  During our trip, we went to Chatsworth.  Now Chatsworth, is, frankly,  the epitome of the stately home.  It is the gold standard of country houses.  (Sorry to the other beauties out there: Blenheim and Burghley.) 

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There is so much to cover, that I know I will not do Chatsworth justice.  It is hard to get a photo which accurately shows the the magnificence of this house, but  you can see above the view from the gardens which somewhat conveys the scale.

The painted entrance hall alone is breathtaking…

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I think one of the aspects of this house which makes it stand out, is the vast collection of treasures it still contains.  It has a very personal feel, there are small objects as well as famous paintings which are displayed everywhere and the attention to detail is extraordinary.

 

The gold leaf window frames and the contemporary art in the interior court yard show how this house seems to mix the modern seamlessly with the past.

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Above is a picture of one of the state rooms.  The gold is really breathtaking.  I believe that these rooms rarely inhabited, which is a pity.  Below is a portrait of Georgiana Cavendish, the wife of the 5th Duke.  I read the biography by Amanda Foreman before coming to see Chatsworth, which gave great insight into what life was like in this house during the Georgian period.

 

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The amount of art is also really staggering.  What I will call the “secondary staircase” is nearly covered with portraits….(and of course the two malachite urns are stunning.)

Chatsworth boasts 40 bedrooms which might seem excessive, until you remember that these country houses acted largely as hotels for invited guests, and they are, in many cases in the middle of nowhere.  (According to my good friend Wikipedia, more that half of the house is closed to visitors, which, considering the number of rooms on display to visitors means that this truly a giant.  Interestingly, it did not feel as vast as it actually is…I myself could live there quite comfortably 😉

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So many small details were what made this place special.  They had put down special foam rubber matts on the floor which looked exactly like the floorboards and matched the real rugs on display.  The servants staircase, which we took at one point in the tour, was decorated with empty picture frames to illustrate, in my opinion, the number of works of art which had been sold. (*Note: I have no basis for this, it is just my opinion.)

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The library (above) was also spectacular.  We were not allowed to enter, but as you can see from the doorway, it is really stunning.

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Finally, we saw the dining room.  The ceiling was, again, gold leaf.  The silver service, I think speaks for itself.  The detail on the candlesticks was astounding- there were intricate figures and representations of stags as well as tiny curled leaves.

I loved Chatsworth.  IT has been called “Britain’s favorite country house” and it is easy to see why.  In addition to being very grand, it also has a personal feel, and the visitor gets the feeling that they are visiting a home in which people actually live (albeit on a very grand scale.) Until next time!

Musée d’Orsay, Paris May 2018

During our visit to France, we spent a Sunday afternoon at the Musee d’ Orsay.   This is one of the best known museums in the world, so there is not too much I can contribute, other than my experience.

We bought tickets ahead of time, in a effort to beat the crowds and it turned out that many others had had the same idea… we waited for almost an hour to get in. However, it was not raining at the time, and we had just arrived in Paris, so the experience of waiting was not at all unpleasant.  We made friends with some fellow museum goers waiting with us.

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There are no words to describe the collection of Impressionists.  (By the time we got inside, we only had an hour and a half to see everything, so we went for the most popular, of course).  It was truly astounding. Room after room of masterpieces.  The only down side was that we were not alone.

This was our experience of trying to see Starry Night Over the Rhône:

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(I have included a link to the actual painting so you know which painting I am talking about.  Its impossible to tell through the fog of tourists.)

My favorites however, were the lesser known paintings by Monet:

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And, my personal favorite, the Turkeys:

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We also were able to see some lesser known VanGogh Paintings also:

 

(Apologies for the strange angles, it was challenging to get clear pictures that did not have other people in them.)

Sadly, as the museum was closing, things got less crowded and we came across this lovely little painting, The White Cat, by Pierre Bonnard

 

(As a cat lover, this was a highlight for me).  I wish you Merry travels!