14 January 2011

Get Inspired: Sydney Redesdale

Wilbury House, Wiltshire, England, as seen in Vitruvius Britannicus, 1715. Considered one of England's greatest Palladian residences, it was skillfully restored over the last decade or so by Miranda, Countess of Iveagh, who died last month.

"... [Wilbury House] made a lasting impression on [my mother] at an age when sensitive children notice the details of their surroundings. Muv never again lived in a fine eighteenth-century house like Wilbury, her ideal, but her ability to make her succession of houses attractive and original on little money was one of her outstanding talents. She did not bow to fashion, mixing furniture and objects from different periods which many people would have thought unsuitable for their surroundings. She used what was available .... Junk shops drew her like a magnet .... She never employed a decorator or sought advice; she knew what she wanted and got it done."

So the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire wrote, about her mother, Lady Redesdale (née Sydney Bowles), in her recently published and highly entertaining autobiography, Wait for Me! Memoirs (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2010). As a child in the late 1880s and early 1890s, Lady Redesdale lived at Wilbury, when her father, publisher Thomas Gibson Bowles, and Wilbury's owners, Sir Henry and Lady Mallet, agreed to save on expenses by sharing the house.

9 comments:

TOPSY said...

Wasn't there a story on Wilbury in US House & Garden in December of 2003 ?

ArchitectDesign™ said...

I received this book for Christmas and can't wait to dig in; I'm saving it for my cruise next month (if I can wait that long!).

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Yes, according to the website of the house's renovation architect, Peregrine Bryant, Wilbury appeared in House & Garden in December 2003. The article was titled "Sleeping Beauty."

pat in california said...

I, too, recall this article I think. Lots and lots of $ spent restoring. Around the top of the wall was a plaster frieze in the form of ivy, a play on the name "Iveagh." There was no photo of Miranda, but there was picture of a small child (grandchild, or great-grandchild) named Honor, presumably after Honor Guinesss, wife of famed diarist Chips Channon. (They divorced, she to marry her Polish pilot, he to indulge a different kind of passion.)

Penelope Bianchi said...

I bought this book. Cannot wait to read it.

How totally civilized and lovely to share a house in times of privation and sadness.

Please find "Pat in California" and invite her to your house or mine.....we need to "debrief' her.......she has way so much information and understanding of that information......... Lordy! Where in California is she?

She can stay in my guest cottage! How does she know all this?

I have always said...California is a "gold mine" in many ways.......

Penelope

Penelope Bianchi said...

I will say again and again!

thank you for coming back!!!


Penelope

Topaz said...

I finished "Wait For Me" the other day. Charming memoir

Reggie Darling said...

And what a handsome house Wilbury is, indeed! Would that one were so fortunate as to call it home.

Joseph said...

I'm an art collector obsessive who is also quite fearful to make the commitment of framing and hanging. Thus many boxes filled with perfectly lovely, but never seen, artwork. hopefully this will quell my fears and motivate me to decorate my walls!


Kitchen Benchtops