One of my favourite things to do when I'm in England is visit a National Trust
property. The houses and gardens in their care are all interesting and beautiful and the cream tea and cakes they serve in their cafés are delicious. I had seen most of the country houses that are near London, so this time I decided to visit Ascott House
which is somewhat near the train station of Leighton Buzzard. Ascott House has been in the care of the National Trust since 1949, but is also still being used by the Rothschild family who have owned it since the late 19th century. Unfortunately, it wasn't allowed to take pictures of the inside of the house but luckily I found that House and Garden
published a feature on the house in their most recent issue.
The core of the house is a seventeenth century farmhouse, but it was expanded and remodeled in the late nineteenth century and made into a hunting lodge for the Rothschild family. The late Victoria de Rothschild, whose collection of Japanese pottery is up for auction in September 2023, worked with Renzo Mongiardino to update the house in the 1980’s. Later Peter Marino decorated bedrooms and Robert Kime restored the porcelain and the common room. So even though I was surprised by the fact that the family still used the house after donating to the National Trust in 1949 (for tax reasons presumably), they also contributed by decorating the rooms.
Besides from the 17th and 18th century Japanese porcelain there's an excellent collection of paintings at Ascott. However, there was hardly any information to be found on site about the art nor in the guidebook. Since nearby Waddesdon Manor was the main Rothchild country estate and holds the archives at present I think that more information can be found over there. A quick search in their online painting archives shows that all images are subject to copyright, it also seems that the paintings at Ascott House aren't included in the online archive. Next time I'm in England I'd like to visit Waddesdon, in the meantime I'll have to study le goût Rothchild online