Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild built Waddesdon Manor because he wanted a place to entertain friends and show off his collection of arts and antiquities, which he’d acquired on his trips around Europe.
Waddesdon Manor is a stunning 19thcentury residence in England, designed to look like a French Renaissance château.
It’s 51 miles from London, and has always attracted important visitors and royalty. Queen Victoria visited for dinner in 1890, and was fascinated by the electric lighting—a new invention at the time.
Every Christmas, the house is extravagantly dressed for the season. The theme this year will be ‘Christmas Carnival’ and decorations in the house will reflect the carnival spirit. Christmas is always a special time at Waddesdon Manor, with dramatic decorations inside, as well as lighting displays in the grounds. Each year there’s a different theme related to the house, its history and its collections.
Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild built Waddesdon Manor because he wanted a place to entertain friends and show off his collection of arts and antiquities, which he’d acquired on his trips around Europe. The collection comprises paintings by renowned artists from France and England, 18th-century French furniture, Sèvres porcelain, and other decorative pieces. He became famed for his weekend parties at Waddesdon. They were attended by society’s elite, the great and the good, and his growing collection of unusual treasures became something of a talking point.
After living a life as a prominent politician, banker and one of Britain’s most remarkable party hosts, Ferdinand passed away in 1898, leaving Waddesdon Manor to his sister, Alice. When she died, it passed to their nephew, James Armand de Rothschild. Then, in 1957, the manor, its grounds and collections, were bequeathed to the National Trust to be preserved for posterity.
Every year for Christmas, the house is adorned with ten 15-foot Christmas trees, which are decorated with over 10,000 lights and 3,000 baubles. The Carnival theme for 2018 highlights Waddesdon’s role as a party house. Ferdinand entertained royalty, politicians, writers and celebrities in his country home, so the Curators have drawn inspiration from carnivals and masquerade balls, looking at historic books, prints and drawings for ideas.
The house is brought to life in a completely new way every year. Large parts of Waddesdon Manor are ‘put to bed’ for the winter, to allow for precision cleaning and conservation work. However, other rooms are opened up, especially for the season. The rooms dressed for Christmas create an entirely new visitor experience. Festive decorations are displayed in the Manor’s East Wing and
Ferdinand entertained royalty, politicians, writers and celebrities in his country home.
The Blue Dining Room stands resplendant, decorated for Christmas 2016. The theme was Magical Materials. The snowflakes were made from porcelain and were hand decorated.
Right: Here, we see the Blue Dining Room decorated for Christmas in 2017. The theme was Enchanted Menagerie. It featured small blue and red butterflies all around the room and on the tree.
Above: This table is in the Blue Dining Room. It’s decorated for Christmas every year and this shot was taken in 2016 when the theme was Magical Materials. The gingerbread man is a traditional Christmas biscuit, while bottles of Rothschilds wine grace the table.