Last month I had friends staying from Paris who had visited London on numerous ocassions and so had already seen most of the major sites in the city. Wishing to give them an extraordinary experience I decided to venture out of the metropolis and offer them a little piece of France in the English countryside.
Waddesdon Manor is an imposing country house built in the the Neo-Renaissance style of a French château between 1874 and 1889 for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839–1898). Designed by Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur, the house was based on the Baron’s favourite chateaux at Maintenon and Chambord, however, it included many modern features of the time including hot and cold running water in the bathrooms and an electric bell system to summon servants. The site for the house, a hilltop overlooking the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside, was purchased in 1874 and the main house completed in 1883. Once complete, the Baron installed his vast collection of French 18th-century tapestries, boiseries, furniture, ceramics together with English and Dutch paintings.
Upon the death of Baron Ferdinand in 1898, the house passed to his sister Alice de Rothschild, who further developed the collections, including on of the most impressive collections of Sevres porcelain outside of France.
In 1957 Waddesdon Manor was bequeathed to the National Trust and opened to the public in1959.