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Haddon Hall - A Glorious Country Manor House

Visiting historic houses is one of my favorite things to do in England and Derbyshire is a county that  offers an  extraordinary triumvirate of sites; Hardwick's Elizabethan glamour, the palatial splendors of Chatsworth and Haddon Hall, described by Simon Jenkins as "the most perfect English house to survive from the Middle Ages."  The joy of a visit to Derbyshire is that in visiting all three you can see the English country house through a variety of lenses and periods. 
In his definitive tome, England's1000 Best Houses Jenkins goes on to say of Haddon, "It has none of Hardwick's promiscuity or Chatsworth's bombast. It has not changed because it never needed to change". 
Indeed the house has remains in the hands of the Manners family since 1563 and is currently occupied by the Duke of Rutland's brother and his family. As they say on the website it has avoided, " fire; warfare;  family misfortune and changing fashions" and as such provid…

The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Penang

I highly recommend taking a guided tour of the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion if you find yourself in Penang. I'm a big fan of small house museums and this is an interesting one. if the images look familiar it's because the house has been used extensively in film, television and print media. I remembered it from Indochine the Academy Award film set in the 1930's featuring Catherine Deneuve, who is almost as elegant as the house itself!

The mansion was one of the homes of Cheong Fatt Tze, the extraordinarily successful Chinese businessman, philanthropist and diplomat known as the "Rockefeller of the East", the house was built in the 1880's. The tour was filled with information on his meteoric rise, his quest for social justice and details about his wives and concubines, all fascinating stuff!
Its just a glorious place to visit, I loved the Art Deco furniture in the entrance and in particular the tile floor which was beautiful.
There are so many wonderful details including stained glass windows which have a very botanical Art Nouveau feel.
The ironwork is also extraordinary. I love the colors here which have such harmony. The entire property feels harmonious and the guide explained that it was built with reference to Fung Shui and has been studied by contemporary Fung Shui masters. 
The house combines so many stylistic elements, tradition Chinese  lanterns, woodwork and screens along with European elements such as the stained glass, tile and chandeliers and ironwork, as you can see below.
The two story house has a series of open courtyards which give the mansion an open light feeling. This courtyard houses the hotel suites.
The combination of decorative ironwork and woodwork is magnificent. The open courtyard below was my favorite place in the house.

One of the most  interesting  decorative elements are these Chinese porcelain pieces made from broken pieces  in a three dimensional mosaic form. 
They resemble escutcheons above the windows and doorways which you can see on the covered balcony on the second floor, below,