Out And About At Hampton Court

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Second day in England and today we decided to head out to the countryside and visit Hampton Court Palace. Originally belonging to Thomas Wolsey (aka Cardinal Wolsey), construction began in 1515 and in 1529, Wolsey gave it to King Henry VIII. The palace is most noted has having been one of Henry’s principal residences but it was gradually expanded over the years by succeeding monarchs, most notably William III and Mary II and George II.

Ann Boleyn’s Gate

Hampton Court is not only a palace, but it also has extensive gardens such as the Rose Garden…

And extensive forested areas such as “The Wilderness”…

The Wilderness is especially interesting in that it was originally built in the 17th Century as a place for courtiers to “get lost” and encounter others “by accident”…one can draw many conclusions from this but when we visited, it was more like a series of jogging paths. 🙂

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After looking around outside for a bit, we decided to go inside and naturally we homed in on the Tudor section first, most notably Henry VIII’s apartments:

The courtyard leading up to Henry VIII’s apartments.

And finally, inside to the Great Hall:

The interiors are largely stone and brickwork with wood paneling in places and while it was moderate weather on the day that we visited, it didn’t take much imagination to realize just how cold Hampton Court could get in Winter (perhaps it’s a good thing that we were not able to visit the last time we were in  England in December 2018).

Stained glass windows in the Watching Tower- It turns out that the these windows were installed during the 19th Century.

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The Chapel Royal- Picture-taking wasn’t allowed inside so this was obtained off the net.

The Chapel Royal, looking south east

And here’s some portraiture we encountered as we worked our way through:

Charles V, 1500-1558; An early portrait by an unknown artist- Not the most flattering of portraits.

Francis I, King of France, 1494-1547

One of the most interesting things was the living history interaction programs that are presented at Hampton Court. One such program was when two interpreters portraying Anne Boleyn and Catherine Parr answered questions from the public in regard to their relationship with Henry, life at Court, et al. It was both entertaining and educational.

There’s a lot more at Hampton Court Palace that we explored but unfortunately, the battery in our phones were diminishing rapidly so we were unable to get anymore pictures. Just for completeness, below are some borrowed pictures of a few of the expansions that were built on after Henry’s reign:

The Fountain Court, designed by Christopher Wren during the reign of William & Mary.

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One of William III’s private apartments.

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The King’s Staircase

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The Queen’s Staircase

Overall, it was a wonderful experience and there’s far more there than we were able to view. It’s definitely one of those places that has to be experienced a few time over. 🙂

 

Holiday Greetings From London!

This year we decided to change things up for Christmas so we’re spending it in London. 🙂 Yes, you heard right, London like in London, England. 2018 has been an exceptionally busy year for us, between various projects and travelling, it’s been a crazy but fun time for us. We want to take this moment to with all our clients and followers Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas! We’ll have more soon so stay tuned. 🙂

 

In The UK- Part 4

GoldHawk Road1

Today’s adventure involved another fabric safari, this time to Goldhawk Road in the west of London. Like Soho, Goldhawk Road is known for having a high concentration of fabric stores although more moderately priced that then ones found in Soho. We really didn’t have specific locations in mind, rather we were just going to explore and see what popped up. 🙂 softer a short bus ride and walk past Shepherd’s Bush, we were finally ready to dig in. One note before beginning: if you want to shop here, it’s highly recommended that you take a sum of cash- many places only take cash and even if they take cards, you can usually get a better deal paying cash.

The first place we stopped at was Misan West which offers a wide variety of silks and cotton prints. The variety was a bit overwhelming and there was a lot to choose from…here’s just one that we found there, a blue/lavender cotton brocade:

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There’s definitely a dress in there…. 🙂

After all the fabric buying, we were definitely in the mood for a break so we repaired to the local Brewdog Pub for a late lunch:

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All and all, it was a productive day and we picked up some amazing fabrics that will hopefully soon be turned into the beautiful items. 🙂

In The UK- Part 3

Today we took a train trip out into the English countryside and met up with some friends and visited Waddeston Manor. Located close to Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, the house was built between 1874 and 1889 by the Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839–1898) as a weekend retreat for entertaining plus as a venue to house his art collection. The architectural style is a Neo-Renaissance (or Renaissance Revival style) and is quite elaborate and not the usual Victorian style that one normally sees in England.

To get an idea of the scale of the house, here’s an overhead view:

 Aerial view of Waddesdon from the north

And from the front:

The above images are borrowed from Wikipedia since my cell phone camera just wasn’t working right that day. And here’s mine:

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And now for a few interior views:

The Red Drawing Room:

 

Waddesdon Manor

Waddesdon Manor

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And there was quite an extensive collection of chinaware of all kinds…

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And then, unexpectedly, there were some Elizabethan era portraits by Nicholas Hilliard:

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And here are some close-up views of the portraiture. First, there Queen Elizabeth:

Sir Amias Paulet:

Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester:

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It was an interesting tour and the crowds weren’t too bad (it was a weekday). Style-wise, the house was mostly decorated in 18th Century style- Rothschild had acquired a large amount of furniture, decorate elements, paintings, et al., mostly from France a la William Randolph Hearst but with much better taste. What also amazing is that the Waddesdon Manor was much more than just a big house, it was a whole self-contained community complete with it’s own workshops and even a power plant- basically, the manor was one of the largest employers in the area and the work was steady even during the Depression of 1893.

One newly-reopened area of the manor were the wine cellars and they were amazing:

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And yes, they offer wine tastings on a periodic basis…. 🙂

For us, touring Waddesdon Manor was an amazing experience and it exposed us to a lot of things that we normally just see in pictures or in museums, devoid of context. The richness of colors were very inspiring and it reinforced our current leaning towards saturated colors and jewel tones- it’s such a contrast to Southern California. We’re still thinking about this marvelous place and we’ll be commenting on it in future posts.

After our visit, we retired to a local pub for dinner and then caught a late train for London…

(To be continued…)