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Monday, 27 January 2014

Outfit(s) of the Day at Waddesdon

Anyone who knows me can vouch for the fact that i'm a super fashionable lady.

Check out my OOTD: 

Spot the Rothschild in this photograph
Hint: it's not me

White is in at the moment. And black. Look, even Vogue says so. Monday to Friday, I turn up to Waddesdon dressed for the catwalk. 'Back' in the monochrome I never left. 

But what are those sneaky purples I'm pulling out, you ask.
'They are thermals' I answer, slightly shivering. 
In the closed season, Waddesdon tends to be a little bit chilly. We keep the heat down to conserve the artworks, and it's not unusual to see curators wandering around the Manor in their coats and scarves.

Unlike the people who work there, the portraits in the house (being inanimate objects) do not change their clothes with the seasons.
Despite their fashion insensitivity, there are some pretty great outfits on display.

Léon Bakst, The Sleeping Beauty: The Good Fairy's Promise, 1913-20; Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (Rothschild Family Trust)
On loan since 1995; acc. no. 89.1995.2 © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

This is one of the seven panels painted by early C20th Russian artist Léon Bakst. Best known for his fantastical theatrical designs, he painted these panels for James and Dorothy Rothschild and included them, their dog and himself in the works. Paris was apparently short on models.

But the focus of these paintings isn't on his patrons and their canines, it's on the textiles. Three panels later, he almost evaporates a looming dragon to concentrate on the drapery of the frightened courtiers.

Equalling Bakst in 'swag', is Callet's diplomatic portrait of Louis XVI, the last Bourbon King of France. The experimental red pigments that were used to paint his cloak are 'fugitive', which means that over time his clothes are going to look bluer and bluer (Lucky for Louis, Glamour Magazine thinks blue is 'refreshing'). 

Unfortunately for the dead King, this is making his rosy cheeks appear to be turning redder. It's as if he's enjoying covert glasses of port when the lights go out. 

Antoine-François Callet, King Louis XVI (1754 - 1793), 1781-82; Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (Rothschild Family Trusts)
On loan since 2006; acc. no. 57.2006. Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Perhaps my favourite 'fashion moment' in the house is this little number being modelled by Emerentia von Berensteyn. A portrait to be displayed to potential suitors, a real fash' blog would say that 'her red/gold dress is perfectly accessorised with a cheeky smile'
But I'm most interested in her 'huik'- the Dutch name for the hat and veil she is wearing. The veil could be pulled over the nodule of her hat, and would have covered her very like a burka. In fact, the 'huik' was still being used in Holland as mourning clothing this century, and was used as an argument against the banning of burkas in the Netherlands. Topical stuff, this 'art'. 

Pieter Claesz Soutman, Emerentia von Berensteyn (c1623-1674), c 1634; Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust)
Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957 © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

And there we go. My Waddesdon fashion round-up. 

Apologies for wimping out of bird-watching. More blue tits next week!



  1. I just found out about your blog via g0stparties! I really like your posts, so keep on doing them! ;)

    1. Thanks! That's so sweet. As you can see i'm totally new to it, so means a lot.