I last visited Polesden Lacey in Surrey a couple of years ago in the middle of Summer, when the gardens were heaving with the smell of pink and white roses and the sky was a potent Azure blue.
It’s still as beautiful at this time of year.
A roaring socialite called Mrs Greville bequeathed Polesden Lacey to the National Trust in 1942. Mrs Greville was a boisterous hostess who liked to fill her house with ‘celebrated and beautiful people.’ But she often spoke her mind and not everyone liked her. Cecil Beaton described Mrs Greville as: ‘a galumphing, greedy, snobbish old toad who watered at the chops at the sight of royalty’!
Polesden was purchased by Mrs Greville and her husband in 1906 and it was then converted into a house fit for royalty by the architects of the newly built Ritz Hotel. Mrs Greville, known to friends as Maggie, was the illegitimate daughter of a brewing millionaire and Mr Ronald Greville was a Lieutenant in the 1st Life Guards with an aristocratic pedigree. He died just two years after the house was bought, although bizarrely he wasn’t buried at Polesden Lacey unlike Mrs Greville whose grave commands a central position in the gardens at Polesden.
Inside the house, you can certainly see the influence of The Ritz in the saloon at Polesden.
Golden and decadent, it was designed specifically to be ‘fit enough to entertain Maharajahs in’.
I think they surpassed their mission!
This tiara is a replica of one made for Mrs Greville in 1921, using stones taken from one of her earlier tiaras. In 1942 it was given to the Queen Mother as part of Mrs Greville’s wishes. She had such an amazing collection of world-class jewellery. Apparently she had 2 sets of jewels: one set that was made with real diamonds and one set made with false. She never told anyone which was which, and never met anyone who could guess right!
I was getting pangs of interior design inspiration while walking through the house. I adore this love heart shaped table from one of my favourite rooms:
This is the Tea Room. A smaller, more intimate space.
The Billiard Room maintains the cosy yet masculine feel, furnished like a gentlemen’s club with big leather easy chairs and beautiful bound books.
Upstairs is an inviting guest room…
And – the height of luxury – an indoor bathroom. Made from marble. Naturally.
Here’s a very early version of a record player:
And one blogger with a very serious face!
Back through the grand entrance hall, you can admire the magnificent view over the Surrey Hills.
At the moment the trees are just starting to change, warming to rich ambers as the temperature cools and you can still catch the second flowering of the roses in the garden.
Talking of which, my Autumn plum-pink-burgundy / slightly preppy outfit comprises of:
A vintage very oversized Ralph Lauren striped shirt, similar here.
Cropped trousers from H&M 7 years ago (the saying that fashion goes round in circles every 7 years must be true!) Similar here from Next.
Damson colour wool cardigan from Jack Wills, similar here also from Next.
^ Don’t mind me… just imagining Polesden Lacey is mine!
It’s such a wonderful place to visit.