COTE DE TEXAS: Return To Ashcombe

Return To Ashcombe


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Ashcombe – the English estate in Wilshire

Ashcombe House, the Georgian manor house located on over 1,000 acres in Wiltshire near Salisbury England, is in the news again.  The Grade II Listed estate was once owned by singer Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie, and years before that, it was rented by photographer Cecil Beaton.  Ritchie, an English filmmaker, retained the estate in the divorce and just recently remarried his longtime partner, Jacqui Ainsley, mother of his three children.  He and Madonna have two sons. 
The Ashcombe estate was the site of the wedding – a three day celebration which included an open air movie night, glamping in tents, fishing, shooting, and lots of wine and ale drinking.  The internet was flooded with pictures of the wedding showing the beautiful flower strewn grounds which looked all the prettier because of the bright sunny weather.
With all this media attention, I thought now would be a great time to revisit Ashcombe.


The house that now sits on the Ritchie estate is not the original building.  The first house erected in 1686 was demolished in 1740 and then rebuilt.  In 1815, the estate was sold for 8,700 pounds and in 1870, most of the house was then demolished, yet again.  The 13th Duke of Hamilton sold Ashcombe to Mr. RW Borley after WWI.  The Borleys owned the estate until the death of RW’s son in 1993. The house today is what remains of the larger demolished one, along with its stables, now a studio.
The romantic history of Ashcombe really begins with Cecil Beaton’s 15 year lease.  The photographer first came to the estate in 1930 when his friends Stephen Tomlin and Edith Olivier brought him there to see it.  Later in his memoir “Ashcombe – The Story of a Fifteen-Year Lease” – he wrote of that first visit:
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“None of us uttered a word as we came under the vaulted ceiling and stood before a small compact house of lilac colored brick.  We inhaled sensuously the strange, haunting and rather haunted atmosphere of the place.  I was almost numbed by first encounter with the house.  It was as if I had been touched on the head by some magic wand.”

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After that visit, Beaton arranged to rent Ashcombe for just 50 pounds a year under the condition that he would renovate the house, which was badly in need of repair.  He installed plumbing and electricity, added a hall from the front of the house to the back, put urns on the roof, and enlarged the windows, amongst other things.  He also turned the orangery/stables into his studio.
 
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At Ashcombe, Beaton entertained often with a group of artists and actors, including Rex Whistler, Diana Cooper, Tallulah Bankhead, Oliver Messel, Salvador Dali and his wife, amongst others.  The famed artist Whistler designed a new front door for Ashcombe and painted the house – which graces the cover of Beaton’s memoir:

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Painted by Cecil Beaton’s close friend Rex Whistler – the former stables, now studio, is shown on the left while the main house is at the right.  Included are the urns on the corners of the roof placed there by Whistler himself.


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Whistler photographed painting outside Ashcombe with Beaton.
Beaton’s friends were very colorful and some were flamboyant; in contrast,  Ashcombe’s owners, the Borleys were very conservative.  The son, Hugh Borley, was unhappy with Beaton’s costume parties and he resented the notoriety that Beaton brought to his estate.   After the 15 year lease was up, Beaton was asked to leave, an event he apparently never got over.  Beaton’s father had begged him not to pour too much money into the rental and of course, he was right.  Borley enjoyed the fruits of all Beaton’s repairs – never making any of his own.    Borley spent his years chasing away would be buyers and those who tried to visit and pay homage to Beaton and Ashcombe.  He even set his dogs on Lord Snowdon, nephew of Oliver Messel - an original friend of Beaton’s and frequent visitor at Ashcombe. 
Borley was an alcoholic, and his health declined along with Ashcombe.  When deathwatch beetle invaded a room, he simply closed its door and never opened it again.  Right before he died, he sold Ashcombe to David and Toni Parkes on the condition that he could live there until he died, which he did shortly afterwards in 1993.  The house was then cleared of his many empty liquor bottles and the Parkes began the much needed restoration.
It was the Parkes who in 2001 sold Ashcombe for 9 million pounds to Madonna and her then husband Guy Ritchie.   Considered small, the main house has 6 bedrooms, but the studio has 7.   Also on the estate is another 6 bedroom farmhouse, two cottages and a bungalow.

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Like Beaton – Madonna and Guy had a similar attraction to Ashcombe at first sight:
"We just fell in love with it," Madonna explains. "In the summertime it's the most beautiful place in the world." The memory of their day at Ashcombe "just stayed with us, haunted us for a really long time," she remembers. Eventually they could resist its lure no longer, and Ashcombe was theirs.
In fact, it was Cecil Beaton’s biographer Hugh Vickers who persuaded Madonna to first visit Ashcombe to see if she and Guy might be interested in purchasing it.
Like Beaton before them, the Ritchies found Ashcombe a bit run down.  The kitchen was tiny and the top floor had rats and mice.  Once they purchased it,  they created a series of romantic bedrooms in the attic and in an extension,  a sort of 18th century orangery was built to house a new kitchen, dining room and living room.

A Look At Ashcombe From Then To Now:
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Edith Olivier at the start of Cecil Beaton’s rental period.  There was a picket fence that was quickly removed and you can see the old front door before Whistler designed the new one.  The original windows remain today.  Also note, there are no dormers in the attic – Madonna and Guy had those installed when they added bedrooms there.


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1930s:  Cecil Beaton and his sisters – the picket fence is now gone and the fancy front door has been installed.  A large urn was placed in the yard – which became a focal point when looking out from inside.

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2005:   Madonna and Guy Ritchie were photographed for Vogue by Tim Walker in 2005.  Many of the photographs were inspired by original Beaton pictures, such as this one, mimicking the photo above.

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From Beaton’s book – showing two statues overlooking the house.  Here is a good view of the attic without the dormers.

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1930s:  In an original Idler Garden swing – Beaton and his friends sunbathe.  In the back, you can see the two statues.

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2001 – Ashcombe goes up for sale and Madonna and Guy are shown it by Hugh Vickers, Cecil Beaton’s biographer.  Again, without dormers it looks remarkably the same as it did when Beaton lived there.

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2005:  And here in a beautiful Tim Walker photograph, Madonna feeds her chickens.  The attic bedrooms with their dormers are now installed.  To the left of the house, an extension goes in, housing a new kitchen/family room.

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2014:  At a shooting party held by Guy Ritchie. 

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Today:  a side view of the front façade shows the climbing vines.

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Today:  A close up of the Rex Whistler front door surround and the beautiful original diamond paned windows!!

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Today:  Another view of the front lawn.  I love the open window upstairs!

Ashcombe – From 2000 to Today:
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2000:  An aerial view of the main house with the stables behind it.  You can see there is no extension to the house along its left side.  Instead there is a lean to roof and further along, a garden.

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2000:  A view of the left side of the house – with the lean-to roof and the garden.    Madonna and Guy will later add on to the house where this garden is.

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2005:  A view of the back side of the house.  You can now see the kitchen/family room that the Ritchies added on to the main house.  Later, even more additions are made.

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TODAY:   Here you can see the house, the family room extension, the new greenhouse – AND – the large building to the far right.  Perhaps that is a garage/housekeeper’s apartment.  Ritchie applied for a swimming pool – and it looks like it might have been built between the family room addition and the greenhouse where the umbrella is. 

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An aerial view clearly shows the house, the family room/kitchen addition/the greenhouse, and the large building to the right.  Ritchie also applied for solar power on the estate and it looks like it might have been granted, there seems to be panels about.

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Looking in the greenhouse towards the house.


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Close view of the back of the house – with an open French door in the family room/kitchen addition.  At the main house, the middle French door with flanking windows is the original living room, with the pink tiled floor. 

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2005:  The back of the house – showing the living room’s french door open.
 
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Cecil Beaton’s famous portrait of dancer Tilly Losch.

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2005:  At the same tree, Tim Walker captures Madonna and Guy reinterpreting Tilly Losch’s portrait.

The Stables/Studio:
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Right after Beaton moved in, you can see how derelict the estate was.  The stables were especially run down.
 
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Another view of the stables right after moving in – all windows had to be replaced.

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1930s:  A rare view from the stables entrance looking back at the main house.

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1930s:  The famous Beaton party that Life Magazine published.  The stables have now been renovated – new windows are in place and the façade is decorated for the party.

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Lady Ottoline Morrell at Ashcombe.

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Sybil Colefax photographs Cecil Beaton photographing her – in front of the stables.


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A group of friends:  Adele Astair, Princess Polny, Tallulah Bankhead, and Tilly Losch

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More amazing friends:  Evelyn Waugh, Sibyl Colefax, Phyllis de Janze, and Oliver Messel at the stables – or now, Beaton’s studio.  You can see here how nice the windows were that he installed – in his rental!

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Today:  The studio.  Besides the landscaping, the main change is the clock added to the roof – a wonderful detail.   There was a clock in the 1700 print of Ashcombe, but it was long gone until Guy Ritchie had it replaced.
 
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2005:  The builder gifted the Ritchies with monogramed lead gutters.
 
Interiors:
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1930s:  The main living room with its highly romantic and fantastical décor by Beaton.

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The fireplace mantel - Salvador Dali and his wife Gala.  More fantasy.

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Close up view of the console and mirror.

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Rex Whistler and Edith Olivier sit in front of that console.

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1930s view of the living room looking out to the back grounds.  The floor is pink tile.   Columns flank the doors.  This famous picture was recreated by Tim Wilson for Vogue.

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2000:  A rare picture of the living room as it was when the Ritchies bought the house.  Very English country manor and totally different than how Beaton decorated it.  The shelves have been removed and the fireplace was striped down to the basics.

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2005:  Tim Walker recreates the Cecil Beaton 1930s décor – amazing!  It looks almost exactly the same.

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2005:  A rare photo from the shoot that was never used.

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2005:  The other side of the living room with the Beaton inspired rose strewn slipcovers.  So cute!!!

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2005:  in the mirror’s reflection you can see the striped bare mantel. 

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2005:  Madonna and Lourdes and Rocco in the living room.

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2000:  A rare view of the house before the Ritchies bought it. 

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2005:  The same foyer with the carpet removed and flags put down.  Through the door is another room and then the dining room.

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Today:  An instagram photo of the same foyer.

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2005:  The print above the mantel is a copy of a 1770 painting of Ashcombe, owned by Cecil Beaton until his death.   He said it was his most prized possession.

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The 1770 painting.  It’s interesting because you can see the original house before it was demolished leaving the smaller house that stands today.  And you can see the larger stables – today only one half remains.  Also – there was a clock tower on the stables, originally.  I wonder what happened to the allee of trees that lined the front drive?

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Today:  Behind the bride, you can see the plaid sofa in the family room and a beautiful oil painting.   Is this the original living room with the pink floor tiles or is this the newer addition.  Wish we could see more!!
 
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Another view of the room with dark wood furniture and more plaid furniture.

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Today:  Rocco Ritchie  instagramed a photo of the kitchen with the yellow plaid sofa.  It looks very English country manor.

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2005:  Madonna had a print of My Fair Lady in honor of Cecil Beaton.  He won an Oscar for costume design of that movie.  There really were the most gorgeous outfits in that movie.

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1930’s  the hall leading to the studio with Jean Cocteau arms.  Interesting modern lighting fixture.


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1930s  The new studio.  I love this!  Slipcovered white sofa that looks like a Belgian design from Restoration Hardware. Sisal rugs.  Antique corner cabinet, stripped.   On the table is a capital – that resembles the one stores sell today.  Love the drum tables.

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1930s:  The studio from another view with the famous button curtains.  Notice the easel set up at the right.   In the center of the window wall is a bust of Beaton.   There is a humorous story about the curtains in his book:
“I decided in order not to outlay a large sum on curtains, to use hessian sacking sewn with large pearl buttons like those on a coat. But I had not reckoned on the number of buttons necessary, 300,000.  The effect was dazzling, but had cost me more than ancient Venoese velvet.”

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At a party you can see the famous button curtains – they really look pretty, very sparkly (without the party decorations over the rods.)

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At a recent Cecil Beaton retrospective show – the button curtains were reproduced and hung behind the Beaton bust that was once in place in his studio.

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1930s – Another view of the studio from the opposite side.  There is a matching corner cabinet.
 
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1930s:  A drawing of the studio done up in Beaton’s Ashcombe Stripe fabric – in the red colorway.

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A sampling of Cecil Beaton fabrics, including the Ashcombe stripe in blue.  To see the entire catalogue, go HERE.

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2005:   The studio under Madonna. 

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1930s The master bedroom is the most famous of all Cecil Beaton’s Ashcombe décor.  The room had a circus theme which was highlighted by its carousal bed.
 
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The murals in the master bedroom were painted by Cecil, Oliver Messel, Rex Whistler, Lord Berners, Christopher Sykes and Jorg and Elsa von Reppert-Bismarck.  They were all staying at Ashcombe, stuck inside because of the rain – when they decided to decorate the once all white bedroom.  Only two of the original murals still exist today: the equestrienne by Elsa von Reppert-Bismarck and the Columbine with dogs by Lord Berners.
 
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The other side of the room showing one of the only two remaining murals.

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2005:  The remaining mural is now in a guest room.

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The bed and bedroom were recreated for a recent Cecil Beaton show.  This bed was made out of wood, while the original was quite flimsy and made out of papier mache.

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The colors were matched by using the one color photograph made of the Beaton bedroom.  Even the murals and skirted table were meticulously recreated for the show.

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In his powder room, Beaton asked his guests to trace their hands on the wall.  It is thought that afterwards, he went over the drawings in ink – to make all the hands consistent looking.  There are 280 hand prints here – including Mr. Borley, his landlord!  Notice the hand to the left of right arm – it has on a pearl bracelet.
 
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Another view showing Beaton’s collection of what would now be antique pharmacy bottles.

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1940s  Beaton saying goodbye to Ashcombe in a famous photograph.

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2005:  In Madonna’s office, she kept a copy of the photograph of Beaton saying goodbye.  I wonder if she realized she would be saying goodbye herself in just 3 years?
  
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2005:  In a cottage on the estate, Madonna posed for Tim Walker.

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A famous photograph of Cecil Beaton.

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2005:  In the same cottage, Madonna and her two children recreated the Beaton photograph.
 
Walking on the property:
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The rules for taking walks in Ashcombe.  Madonna and Guy tried to keep the estate closed to walkers or ramblers as they are called, but were denied. 

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The front gate.

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A view of the house from the footpath.

Changes:
Rumors began in 2008 that Madonna was looking to sell the property and soon after a divorce between the couple was announced.  Guy retained Ashcombe and since then he has made several changes.  He applied for permission to make it a viable, self sustaining farm, and he applied for permission to create a microbrewery at Ashcombe.  Ritchie also is associated with a shooting company – Field Magazine named Ashcombe as one of the UK's ten top venues for pheasant shooting.  In 2009, he was granted permission to create a sporting lake on the property at which he built a log cabin.  He also requested permission to make a series of improvements to the guest lodgings, adding dormer windows and roof lights “because the bathrooms have no natural light.”
 
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Ashcombe Today – when the sun is not shining, the house looks darker red, almost the lilac hue that Cecil Beaton remarked on after his first view of the estate.

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Today:  Guy Richie applied and got permission to build a sporting lake on the property.   It is far enough from the main house that wedding guests took a bus to visit it. 
 
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To judge the size of the estate – the top red circle is the main house and stables.   The bottom circle is the sporting lake that was dug on the property.  You can see how vast the space is between the two areas.
 
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And a google view of the lake – with the log cabin Ritchie built at the very top of it. 

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2014:  Fifty Shades of Grey star:  Jamie Dornan  and his wife visited Ashcombe for a shooting party.

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2014:  Shooting party guests go swimming in the lake.

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Today:  Ritchie had a long cabin built overlooking the lake, surrounded by wildflowers.

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Today:  The cabin.

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Today:  The log cabin decorated for the wedding.
 
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Today:  Ashcombe is known for its excellent shooting – and Ritchie hosts many shooting parties.
 
The Wedding:
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The First Ritchie Wedding:  Back then, the Madonna and Guy didn’t own Ashcombe, so they chose to get married in Scotland at Skibbo Castle.  The day before, they christened their new baby boy, Rocco.
 
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Skibbo – the huge Scottish castle that was the scene of their fantasy wedding – another several day affair.

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The foursome.  Guy wore a kilt.  Madonna wore a crown and white fur.  Before their divorce Madonna and Guy adopted another son, David and later Madonna adopted another daughter.

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Skibbo – the main room.  The castle can be rented for parties and weddings or just a golfing vacation.  

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The dining room at Skibbo.  Very few pictures were ever released from the wedding.  It was kept very quiet – especially for a Madonna event.

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After the wedding, Madonna wore a sequined coat announcing her as the new Mrs. Ritchie.

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Today:   AND…the NEW Mrs. Ritchie announced her new name on her bathing suit.  Hmmm.  Looks kind  of familiar??  Beautiful hair!!
The wedding of Guy Ritchie and Jacqui Ainsley took place this July 30.  They have three children, 2 boys and a girl. 

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A guest driving up with the wedding program on the dash.

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This invitation had a drawing of Ashcombe on it.

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From the walking path – you could see into the valley where tents were set up.

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The gorgeous valley with the tents.

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Guests at the wedding were set up in fancy tents for the three night extravaganza.  David Beckham complained someone stole his heater – so it must have been chilly at night.

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Lots of guests.   OK – this is so cool!!!  It looks like so much fun!!!!!  If you have the money – what a great idea – can’t imagine how much this costs.

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A glimpse inside a tent.

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This was the large tent for gatherings.

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There was even a blow dry tent!!

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Appointments went on the chalkboard.

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Romantic tent city at night.

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At tent city there was chess set up.

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A bus took everyone down to the lake for lunch.

And there was an open air movie night premiering Guy’s newest – The Man From Uncle.

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At the back side of the house – gorgeous flowers!

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The family – with Rocco and David – Guy and Madonna’s sons and the three babies!  Even the littlest one has a jacket one.  So cute!!!!

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Rocco gave Jacqui away.

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Love this with Rocco and David.


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Such a beautiful altar – what a day !!!


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Just beautiful.


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Good view of the back of the house with the new extension.

 
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The studio with the new clock tower.  Yes, that is Brad Pitt.   Ignore him – look at the studio!

There were really lucky.  If it would have rained, it could have been a cold, dreary, muddy disaster!  Instead, the weather was so sunny.   They must be blessed with really good luck!!

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Rocco toasts his Dad and Jacqui at the reception.

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I wonder if Cecil Beaton would have approved of the wedding?   Probably – he loved a good party!!!

46 comments :

  1. All those famous people! Yet the house outshines them.

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  2. America have their gun laws that they hold on to dearly and in the UK we have our ..... Footpath laws which we defend proudly ! Even if you are rich and famous it is incredibly difficult o alter the path of a footpath, ancient or not

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    1. I love your footpath laws! God bless you! And I despise our gun laws....(really lack thereof). It is sickening to me to see the bloodshed of innocents in our country. I am ashamed!

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    2. Our bill of rights isn't about loving any law, but I like the comparison nonetheless because your footpaths laws protect freedom as does our 2nd amendment. Some state like North Carolina protect beach access so we have some of that here too. There are some things too precious to hold as private property.

      But the footpath subject reminds me so much of the walking parties to the various fictitious estates in Jane Austen's novels and of course to the famous cringe worthy scene of Elizabeth's tour of Pemberley with her aunt and uncle. It amazed me that English estate owners actually allowed visitors to the house and not just to the grounds. Now a great mansion is either a private home without visitors or a museum mansion without a family. In Dallas, Wendy Reves tried to make a museum look like a house, much to the horror of the museum curators. She wanted people to see and enjoy the art the way she enjoyed it but proved impossible. If everyone is behind a velvet rope the rooms feels stale. So we have to enjoy real living great houses from photos. At least this spread was so beautiful, you almost felt like you were there.

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  3. oh my Joni, that was so interesting, thanks for all that work, I will need to look at the post a few more times to see it all xxx ps button curtains/drapery... wow, I think it would be fun to do that somewhere...

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  4. Joni how fascinating, what an amazing historical property. I just finished a book of Beaton's photography in Portraits and Profiles. It saddens me that he had to leave and I wonder if Madonna misses life at Ashcombe at all?!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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  5. One of your best posts ever. Brava!

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    1. I wholeheartedly agree! I have read mostly everything Cecil Beaton wrote; and I had a lump in my throat (and some tears) reading about this house..... and how he had to give it up.

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  6. A wonderful post! I love English homes - their decor and their history. I wish we could have seen more of the interiors but from the little we could see I must say I'm impressed at the house under Madonna, I was not expecting her to have such good taste. As for the recent wedding, I didn't know of it until now and I must say if I were his new wife I would find it slightly uncomfortable to wed in a home which is so associated with his ex wife but I suppose it is very much their home now. The "Mrs Richie" thing, however, is cringeworthy and so strange that she referenced it. ? Anyway, gorgeous, gorgeous home.

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    1. And God Bless Madonna and Guy; their remodeling (adding dormers and another addition; are extremely well done! Bravo!

      Particularly the outside (I think they were under the thumb of the "Heritage People"! Well done! England!!!! National Trust Bravo!!!!

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  7. wow! + how interesting this was. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  8. Brilliant! Love how your posts have really become scholarly set pieces almost. More English houses please :)

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  9. Thanks Joni.

    Enjoyed this!

    Ann

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  10. Joni - This is so interesting and the photos and your research is incredible!
    Kathy Slater

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  11. That is a lot to figure out, but pretty! : - )

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  12. I am so jealous! SO jealous!! All the more so because I don't like Guy or Madonna. Bah humbug.

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  13. I loved the post. Yes, in UK estates are never closed to walkers or ramblers. Which I believe is great, as everyone should be able to enjoy the beauty of that countryside. I personally think it's a bit over the top of Madonna wanting it closed - it would be most graceful to accept the laws and not complain about it trying to imply her superiority and that she is above the law. I'm glad the county stood by this and that they didn't let her celebrity status influence her decision. Very admirable!
    Beautiful property too.

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    1. Madonna lacks elegance. That is the simple truth. Walkers and ramblers are welcome...same in Montecito California! And Santa Barbara! Horses as well as walkers!

      (not as open; but the "Montecito trails" go all over across "Private Property"!!

      The few people who have fought this; have become very unpopular and have lost. How sad for them!

      Keep it up United Kingdom! I learned the philosophy: "We don't really own the land and the house; we are just stewards"!!

      What a lovely philosophy!!!

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  14. Thanks again. These set pieces are so good, so well researched, so enjoyable.

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  15. I think Cecil was there and celebrating!!! He loved it!

    Do you know the story of Rex Whistler? How lovely to see all those pictures of him! Divine..talented....and would never even touch anything he ever did!

    He was a genius beyond!

    XXOO

    Joni; you have outdone yourself!!!!

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    1. Penny - look at the painting - the very last picture - Rex painted that of Ashcombe!

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    2. Heavenly. Don't you love it? The doves, the smoke coming out of the chimney! Wonderful! Brilliant post!!!

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  16. Having known and worked with Madonna I can say she hires only the top in decorating and landscaping. Look at the Rain collection boxes for the Lead Gutters...her initials are first, and I can say she was madly madly in love with him...she chucked it all for him, USA, family and friends...yet the group he surrounds himself with most certainly appear to having nothing in common with the her, other than actors in his movies. She has a core Art collection that seems to travel with her...of course befitting the period of the house. I must add that it was out of an abundance of Security for herself and children that she fought to have strangers have the right of way across her property whether small or large..kidnapping and murder, she has had more than two incidents in her life where her home has been infiltrated by men who were obsessed not too mention maniacal. One even stabbed her bodyguard who lived on the premises of a prior home, of course he was shot by the bodyguard after a grueling fight. I think it's only fair in this Age of Internet, with everyone now a paparazzi, when even criminals are lauded as heroes against the police doing their duty but for a few bad policeman...it is a wise and relieving thing to do to guard ones Privacy!

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    1. Oh...I forgot to send many thank you's for your enlightening story on an historic property known within the World of Decor first and foremost. Beloved for decades, restored impeccably by Madonna & Guy, I cherish my 1st Edition copy of Ashcombe with original dust jacket by Whistler. Sorry, but for me the glamour is tinged with sadness, as the 2nd Mrs. Ritchie needed to put on her bum exactly the same message to the world as worn on a white jacket by the 1st Mrs. Ritchie...but then I think Elegance is not posting your wedding pictures for public consumption but holding that memory above the fray for those eyes only deemed worthy, usually eyes that look back at one with love, admiration and hope for miracles! Madonna is really not the person you see onstage, but rather quite shy, somewhat old fashioned in her views regarding family, friends and home...a lot like the rest of us with loved ones. I think the shock value usually comes with a message, if one looks beyond the hype and listens...most of the time it's regarding Women's rights, Ageism, Battered Women and speaking against those who assault others considered fringe society. We need more like her to make a change in this world for the better!

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    2. Thanks for your comments! I thought the sparkly Mrs. Ritchie message seemed aimed at Madonna and I wondered why? She has the man and his children and home. Oh well. I"'m an original Madonna fan!! And I've always been obsessed with this house including her time living there. Thanks agin!

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    3. The Swan is correct in every way! She did know Madonna....and public consumption is the antithesis of elegance. Elegance is disappearing.....along with "fun"! Cecil Beaton had fun the likes of which no one does nowadays!
      I hope people had fun at the latest wedding. It sure didn't look like it! Madonna and Guy did at their wedding! Interesting......isn't it?

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  17. Joni,
    You transport your readers to another plane of existence. And I am one of your faithful followers into this enchanted kingdom left breathless with the blessings of the journey. My gratitude to you for the time, the beauty, and the intelligence you bring to my life. Ann

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  18. Joni,
    This is an astonishing post. The work and research that goes into it is overwhelming. Thank you for such an interesting and well-written bit of history


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  19. Thank you for sharing these pictures and great story. This is truly inspirational. I am curious to find out more about the interior.
    www.magpiehomes.wordpress.com

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  20. I enjoyed seeing so many new-to-me photos! I know what it takes to put together a post like this, so I especially appreciate the effort. Best wishes. __ John T

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  21. I just wanted to say thank you for this and all the other fascinating posts you have written over the years. I always learn something new and have such a great time! So my thanks for all of the hard work and research you put into your website. - Mary Beth

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  22. Joni! I am not sure you know (you should know from all these comments !!!)

    You are the best of the best

    Book??? I hope so!

    Brilliant bog post......(to say the least!!) Brava!!!

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  23. This; and (so many of your blogposts!!)

    Made my heart sing! Honestly! SING!!!!!

    You are a true star!!! And you gift us with your research and your knowledge!!
    BRAVA!!!!!

    You, go girl!!!

    Penny....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Penny!!

      I am so glad the new medicine is HELPING!!!! and you are feeling like YOUR OLD self! No more "confusion"!

      YOU are the courageous one...... in fighting your battle!!!!

      BRAVA Penny!!!!!

      Delete
  24. Wow such an enjoyable and beautiful post! There is no blog out there like yours Joni! I think it's sad Madonna and he didn't work out. I love the Vogue photos of her. The boys have grown into adorable people, no doubt through influence from their mom. I've heard she's a great mother. Thanks for this beautiful post! Kim

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  25. This is a great post Joni, so well researched, and with wonderful photos. I love that in today's world there are still people around who can live in such a grand manner and are willing to become the guardians of such a special property.

    Sharon

    ReplyDelete
  26. Beautifully presented, Joni! I would love to see an article about his later house, Reddish, if there any information exists. Curious, to see more photos of Cecil's charmed life at Ashcombe House, I found this link. Click a the end of the article to follow more photos, which are totally mesmerizing. Costumes, on the lawn, just incredible.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/photography/10813981/Cecil-Beaton-Life-and-soul-of-the-party.html

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  27. Beautiful! What a magical place and how interesting it is to view the history and the families who have called Ashcombe "home". I can't help wondering, where is Madona now? Life after guy -

    ReplyDelete
  28. Wow!! What a beautiful home, with some beautiful stories. Thanks so much for taking the time to put this together and sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Joni you deserve so many congratulations!!!

      Delete
    2. So do you, Penny!!!!... Don't pay attention to the "haters"! I know how hard you have fought........ What a wonderful example you are, to those who STRUGGLE!!!!! You are making PROGRESS! Every day! Little by little!..... You will soon be "back on your feet"!!

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
  30. I am very amazed by the data of this weblog and i am glad i experienced a look more than the blog. thank you so much for sharing these kinds of excellent information.
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  31. Thanks for showing images from the circus room recreations installed at the exhibition which was curated by Andrew Ginger (of Beaudesert Ltd) entitled 'Cecil Beaton At Home'. A book will be out by Rizzoli in Fall 2016.

    ReplyDelete