A Day In The Country…

While we were away in England, we had the opportunity to visit The Vyne, an historic manor house located close to Basingstoke in Hampshire. Originally built between 1500 and 1520 for William Sandys, Henry VIII’s Lord Chamberlain, the house was later acquired in 1653 by Chaloner Chute, a successful barrister and remained in the Chute family until it was acquired by the National Trust. Over the years, the house has been progressively added onto and is a pastiche of various styles ranging from early Tudor through the 19th Century. One of the most interesting aspects is that the house contained a small chapel, complete with stained glass windows.  The day we visited, it was cold, windy, and overcast but that didn’t deter us any, we managed to get a number of very nice pictures.

First is the exterior:

This is the back side of the main house. To the left is an outbuilding.

The front of the house.

The Vyne Tudor Mansion, National Trust

Here’s a better view of the house, courtesy of the National Trust.

And now some of the interior:

And now for us… 🙂

A little humor for the camera…my reaction after receiving the latest bill from Charles Worth.

Yes, it’s all mine (or so I’d like to believe)…

Karin modeling her latest creation- a late 1880s day dress.

Visiting The Vyne was one of the major high points of our visit to England and it was definitely worth braving the cold and damp. The estate provided a wonderful backdrop for picture-taking and we only wish that the weather had permitted us to get some more pictures of us outside. We would definitely love to visit again in the Spring when the all the plants are in full bloom. All in all, a special day. 🙂

Our Latest Visit to the V&A Museum

One of the high points of any trip to London is spending a little time visiting the V&A Museum and this past visit was no exception. What was a real stand-out for us this time was viewing some textiles and garments from South Asia. Here’s just a few examples:

This one is a chintz dating from the 18th Century which was essentially a glazed cotton print fabric that was originally made in India. This fabric was exported to England in quantity and it quickly caught on as a fashion fabric to the point where manufacturers in England was producing cheap knock-offs. The fabric was used to make this waistcoat from circa 1770-1775:

Waistcoat, c. 1770-1775; V&A Museum (IS.20-1976)

And here’s a close-up of one of the buttonholes:

This mantle/cape was also interesting:

Unfortunately, we were unable to find out more about it- there wasn’t any sort of card explaining it (or we might have just missed it). Here’s another interesting dress:

Unfortunately, all I could get was the side profile. Here are some other views I obtained from the V&A Museum website:

Gown, c. 1770s, reworked 1790s; V&A Museum (IS.3-1948)

Most of these fabrics were prints, although there was also a few that were embroidered such as this one:

And of course, we visited the regular costume collection… 🙂 In particular, the this Salvador Dali-inspired dress by Schiaparelli caught our eye:

And of course, we had to hit the bookstore:

This barely scratched the surface of what’s there at the V&A and we learn something new every time we go. For a little more, check out this post and this post.  If you’re in London, the V&A is definitely worth a visit. 🙂

Back In LA…

Made it home after a nice, smooth flight and a somewhat stressful experience clearing US Customs (if you have Global Entry, be sure to check that you’re in the right line). Naturally we came home with a lot of swag (and a few dirty looks from the agent at the Air New Zealand check-on counter).

Who can resist a book sale at the V&A?

And we couldn’t leave without replenishing our supply of rhubarb-flavored gin…

And Now Back Home…

Spending a week in London was very enjoyable if not exciting but now it’s time to return to LA. We saw some amazing places and bought a lot of fabric (don’t ask what it cost to ship it back to the States). The fabric offerings in London are simply amazing and there’s a lot of fabrics that are just not obtainable here in the States. In the months to come, we hope to turn that yardage into some brilliant designs… 🙂 In the meantime, we’ll be boarding soon for the 11-hour or so flight back home to the land of eternal sunshine. Stay tuned for more!