Hello everybody and welcome to my new blog location on my sparkly new website! My new website, as you can probably tell, is the location for my blog now and will bring you all my latest news and updates. I must also apologise for not blogging this month at all! I have been very busy working on my world domination plans so haven’t had a moment to sit down to update you all. But I went somewhere very special last Wednesday that I HAD to share with you all.
It was of course the title of this post, Eltham Palace. Eltham Palace is the most spectacular Art Deco house in the whole wide world. As a result it has been featured in many a TV programme including my personal favourites, Poirot and Miss Marple. Eltham Palace is to Art Deco enthusiasts their Mecca. Before I get onto the almost porn like photos of Art Deco glory here is a little history about the Palace that I learnt whilst there. Ellen (of B Millinery) and I went on the special Art Deco tour that they put on at the Palace. You have to pay a little extra on the ticket price but actually it was well worth it and excellent value for money. We learnt all about the Palace and its former owners.
The most recent owners of Eltham Hall (as it was known to them) were Stephen and Virginia Courtauld. They were of the famous wealthy family of Courtauld who were in the textiles industry. (Of course I first came across the name ‘Courtauld’ whist studying Contour Fashion, as they of course are the group which own Gossard and Berlei.) Stephen and Virginia did not join the family business, instead living off their vast fortune created by the shares in the business. Instead they travelled the world and were the couple of the time hosting fabulously lavish and exciting parties. In 1933 they acquired Eltham Palace, the site of a former Tudor Palace to Kings of past. They set about designing and building the most decadent and modern property of its time, in an Art Deco Style. No expense was spared and all the mod cons such as under floor heating, electricity and speaker systems to play music into every room, were fitted. This was all built alongside the only surviving part of the Tudor Palace, The Great Hall. What resulted was an amazing juxtaposition between the old Tudor great hall, and the modern almost ocean liner inspired interior of the new building. The new house was PERFECT for entertaining, with 19 acres of grounds to explore and many guest suites each with en suites (very rare at the time!). The couple only lived at Eltham for a very short period. They moved out in 1944 to premises in Scotland then eventually to Rhodesia, perhaps their lavish house was a little gregarious for tastes in austerity Britain. As everything had been packed up and moved, when English Heritage acquired and restored the property, all they had to go by were a few photographs of various rooms. So nowadays when you visit you only get to see a few rooms in all their glory as they don’t know what the other rooms looked like. From the few they have, you can image just how spectacular the whole house must have been. If I had all the money in the world I’d buy it from English Heritage, kick out the public, and live my days out there revelling in the glorious surroundings!!! Anywhoo, enough of my drivel and onto the Art Deco porn.
*Disclaimer* Technically you weren’t allowed to take photos inside the building, I can only imagine all the flashes would ruin the beautiful wall panelling ect and that they want you to buy the postcards and guide. A) I would have bought the guide book but at £3.99 it didn’t include enough photos of the amazing interiors to justify the cost (as beautiful as the grounds are, they aren’t Art Deco porn) and the postcard pictures were just a bit rubbish and not enough of the interiors and B) Ellen did it so technically it wasn’t me, and she didn’t use the flash on her camera so we didn’t ruin anything.
Now for the real reason you’re still reading this post ;), inside the building!!!
This entrance hall was one of my favourite rooms…….sod it they all were!…….but anyway, a little fact for you: The room is in face triangular not circular. It is the point at which the old wing (the Great Hall) and the newly built wing (circa 1933) meet. The wooden panelling in a circular shape is what makes the room appear to be circular. The panels are inlayed with different coloured wood in patterns depicting the Caurtaulds favourite places to visit, notable the Baltic’s and Venice. It even features their Yatch, Virginia. Under the giant circular carpet, a reproduction of the original which was designed by someone famous I can’t remember, is a parke floor. Can’t you just imagine it being revealed at a cocktail party where guests can dance the night away! I really want this room in my life/house. Several rooms lead off from the reception hall including two flights of stairs, a secret kitchenette type room and the dining room.
This is me leaning on the fireplace casually as if it is mine! Isn’t it decadent! Fun facts for you, the colour of the dining table chairs were chosen to best flatter ones evening dress. Such thoughtful hosts the Courtaulds were! I love the curved corrugated iron in the fireplace; it’s so simple but looks so Art Deco. The fireplace was an electric one, I imagine they wouldn’t want open fires to make ones evening attire smell. I didn’t manage to get a snap, but the doors leading in and out of this room were absolutely stunning!
This room wasn’t in the tour but it was tucked out of sight off the reception hall. I expect the staff washed the cocktail glasses ect here. We also found this:
So maybe it was the lemurs private kitchen (the Courtaulds had a pet lemur! A wedding present from Steven to Virginia). This was a little ladder with a trap door to the room/cage of the Lemur whos name I can’t remember. Interestingly the cage had the best view of the whole of the bedrooms of the grounds, haha they loved their Lemur!
This is Virginia’s ‘Boudoir’, her own private sitting room if you like. Can’t you just imagine her draped in a silken robe elegantly on this sofa! I like to think she would have bought one of my robes of course to wear here! The furniture, like most of the house, is built in. This was a nod to the style of furniture on the luxury ocean liners of the time. I quite liked that all the furniture was built in, it gave the illusion of the rooms being more spacious than they actually were. I need this room also in my life.
Another nod to the ocean liners, a port hole like peep hole by the staircase. There are SO many places in this house that are just PERFECT for photo shoot shots………one day I may have to shoot my collections here!
We then head on upstairs to the bedroom suites. I suppose another reason why there weren’t any open fires in this house is perhaps because if a spark accidently flew out the whole place would go up in smoke in a second! Again Virginia’s bedroom featured beautiful wooden inlays and fitted furniture. I love the simple style. Art Deco is almost like the minimal style of today. All the lines are clean and storage is hidden away.
Through some curtains we are lead in to Virginia’s bathroom which is absolutely stunning. Imagine relaxing in this with lots of bubbles and a glass of bubbly. Devine! I have a feeling Virginia could TOTALLY outdoo Tamara Eccleston for decadence and vulgar show of wealth!
I just had to include this picture, even though I’m not really sure what I’m doing here! Maybe I’m pretending to preen myself at the beautiful marble vanity station (inbuilt of course!). If you look in the background, Ellen and I were particularly tickled by the loo being curtained off ;), can’t have Mr Courtauld catch you having a wee! I also need this bathroom in my life.
So there endeth my mega big post. I URGE you to go to this beautiful house if you love Art Deco gloriousness. It has to be seen to be believed. Of the rooms that have been restored, they are absolutely stunning. I can only imagine how it was in its heyday where all the rooms were richly decorated. I want to live in a place like that so badly!
Anyway lots of exciting news and new products coming soon so make sure you check back at my new look blog regularly. Lots of Love