, ,



Friday, November 27, 2015


As our coach drew into Windsor, our tour group was greeted by the sight of draft horses delivering beer to a nearby pub. From that moment, we knew that our visit to Windsor would be something special, and I'm glad to say that it was, indeed.

Our group stayed at the Castle Hotel, above, where Victoria and I had both stayed before and which is a personal favourite. The hotel is directly across from some of Windsor's landmarks, including the Guildhall, below, and the Crooked House. 

A Guildhall wedding, above, a la Prince Charles and Camilla, who were married here in 2005.

Side view of the Guildhall with statue of George of Denmark, Queen Anne's consort

Click here for a tour of the inside of the Guildhall and the history of the building, which we covered in a prior post.

Windsor's Crooked House, built in 1592 and reputed to have a secret passage in the basement leading to Windsor Castle that facilitated trysts between Charles II and Nell Gwynn.  

The statue of Queen Victoria which stands at the end of the street leading to the Castle. 

It was a glorious day for our group visit to the Castle.

We even got a peek at the van belonging to "Her Majesty's Supplier of Lighting Fittings and Allied Components." 

You can read Victoria's prior post on the Waterloo Chamber at Windsor Castle here. 

After our tour of the Castle, a pub lunch was enjoyed at The Horse and Groom, the very same pub that received the delivery of ale courtesy of the draft horses. 

Our table afforded us a birdseye view of the Town, but unfortunately we didn't get a glimpse of the Guard's Band that day - these photos were taken a few days later by Victoria during our extended stay after the conclusion of the Tour.

More on our stay in Windsor coming soon!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


All the magic of an English Country House sale will come to town when Bonhams auctions the selected contents of Hooton Pagnell Hall in London on Tuesday 1 December.

View the video of the history of Hooton Pagnell Hall and it's collections here. 

Hooton Pagnell Hall is one of Yorkshire's most important and oldest country houses with a history stretching back to the Doomsday Book. It has been home to the Warde family for more than 300 years. Over the centuries successive generations have added their stamp and the house is a treasure trove of objects.
Now the current owner and ninth generation of the family to live at Hooton Pagnell Hall, Mark Warde-Norbury, has decided to sell a selection of the contents. As he explained to the arts journalist Philippa Stockley writing in the winter edition of Bonhams Magazine: "we have five grand pianos and six grandfather clocks. We have to clear some things out in order to move forward."
"This sale has everything you'd expect from an English Country House sale", says Bonhams Director of Valuations, Harvey Cammell. "An important view of Windsor Castle, for example, by the renowned watercolourist Paul Sandby; a gruesome - and still functioning - man trap used in the 19th century to deter poachers; a truly remarkable Pietra Dura marble chest inlaid with exquisite birds and vases of lilies brought back from the Grand Tour; and correspondence from the Lady with the Lamp - Florence Nightingale - and the Iron Duke himself the Duke of Wellington."

Among the most fascinating items are letters to the explorer and scientist Edward Wilson who reached the South Pole with Captain Scott in 1912 only to die with the rest of the party on the return journey. The owners had a close association with Wilson through his brother who was the Hall's estate manager. A poignant letter to him from Julia Warde-Aldam wishing him a safe return, sent after his death but before the news of the tragedy was known, is included in the sale together with rare first editions of the polar expeditions of Scott and Shackleton.
Julia Warde-Aldam was also at the center of Hooton Pagnell Hall's role during World War I when, like so many country houses, it was converted into a hospital and convalescence home. Several items in the sale attest to that melancholy period in the Hall's history none more so perhaps than the crewel work bedspread made for her by a grateful patient with the words: 'LOVINLY WORKED FOR MRS WARDE-ALDAM BY LK BEGUN IN 1913 FINISHED IN THE YEAR OF PEACE 1919.' Mrs Warde-Aldam received many gifts at this time including a large stuffed crocodile.
The sale consists of more than 600 lots. It will be held at Bonhams Knightsbridge on 1 December and available to view there from Saturday 28th November.

Details of items mentioned in the text:
Windsor castle from the Thames with figures in the foreground by Paul Sandby (1730-1809), £40,000-60,000.
An Italian 17th century ebony, pietra dura and specimen marble cabinet, £20,000-30,000.
Warrant document signed by the Duke of Wellington, £200-300.
Handwritten letter from Florence Nightingale, £400-600.
First edition of Scott's Last Expedition, 2 vol., including correspondence from Edward Wilson, £2,000-3,000.
Scott's The Voyage of the Discovery, 2 vol., £1,000-1,500.
Ernest Shackleton, The Heart of the Antarctic. Being the Story of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909, 3 vol., £8,000-12,000.
South Polar Times, vol. 1-2 edited by Shackleton, £5,000-7,000.
A 19th century iron mantrap, with eighteen inch jaws and a tilting footplate, £400-600.
An early 20th century crewel work bedspread, £400-600.