I've had this photo of Barbara Cartland for a few years now. Torn from a British magazine, it shows a young Barbara in quite a pretty gown. I don't really know why I've kept it, although perhaps it's because I'm a fan of the late romance writer. I've never read a single one of her books as historical romances aren't my cup of tea. No, I guess I'm a fan because I like the idea of Barbara Cartland- her signature shade of pink, that ever present canine companion, and her über-feminine persona. Oh, and the false lashes don't hurt either.
I'm glad that I hung on to that black and white photo of her, because I finally found the opportunity to use it. Who knew that The Englishwoman's House had an entire chapter on her home in Hatfield, Hertfordshire? Until earlier this week, I didn't! The interiors are a bit what you might expect, especially in Cartland's bedroom. The two colors used most frequently in the house are Nile blue and coral pink, colors that were taken from the murals in the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt. This color combination is a little strong in the master bedroom, but I must say that it looks rather nice in the library, a room that housed over 6,000 books. And the kitchen and its cheery Bird of Paradise wallpaper and curtains? Cartland wrote that "digestion starts with the eyes, and just as my dishes are lovely, many of them being a picture on the plate and as colourful and attractive as I can make them, so is where they are cooked." What can I say? I'm an even bigger fan now.
Cartland's bedroom in shades of blue and coral. Would you have expected any less than a heart throw pillow on the bed?
The library, also in Nile blue and coral. How beautiful is that blue paneling? Take away the pink carpet and the room looks great today.
The all-important kitchen. I can't quite tell what was being served on her china, but it looks good.
A c. 1650 French four-poster bed that graced one of the bedrooms. Cartland deemed it "the most beautiful bed in the world."
The gentlemen's cloakroom featured numerous Barbara Cartland caricatures.
(Cartland house photos from The Englishwoman's House by Alvilda Lees-Milne, Derry Moore photographer.)