Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Gilded Age Etiquette and Eccentricities

Astor Reception in London 
William Waldorf Astor ~ The Astor's were one of the wealthiest families of the Gilded Age
Notables Gather at Carlton House Terrace — Grand Duke Michael, Prince Alexander of Teck, Ambassador Hay Among the Guests

William Waldorf Astoria gave his second reception at his home in Carlton House Terrace this evening. It was preceded by a dinner party, at which 40 guests were present, including Prince Alexander of Teck, Ambassador Hay, Mrs. Hay, and Miss Hay. 

The mansion, which even before it became Mr. Astor's residence, was counted  among the most elegant private mansions in England, has been entirely renovated. The rooms have been exquisitely paneled and enriched with fine carving. The grand staircase has been lavishly gilded and adorned with beautiful frescoes. The dining room is a remarkable specimen of the decorator's art and is hung with  magnificent tapestries. 

The refurbished diningroom at Carlton House Terrace in the 1930s.

The table is over 40 feet long, probably the largest in the country. The table decorations this evening were massive silver candelabra, while yellow and white orchids and silver bowls containing fruit and champagne and ice were arranged along its entire length. 

The reception was one of the most brilliant given in London in recent years. Among those present were the Grand Duke and Duchess Michael of Russia, Earl Cadogan, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and a host of English dukes, earls, and counts, with their duchesses and countesses, Lord Mayor Faudel Phillips and the Lady Mayoress,  and scores of members of the Diplomatic Corps. 

Among the most striking toilets were those worn by the Countess of Essex, Lady William V. Harcourt, Mrs. Ronalds, Mrs. Bradley-Martin, and Miss Leiter. 

The display of jewels was simply prodigious and the house was a mass of flowers. M. Paderewski, Mme. Melba, M. Plançon, and other famous artists assisted in the musical programme.

~More on William Waldorf Astor ~

William Waldorf Astor's Actions Puzzling Britons

Officials Are Amused At His

London Registration Judge Learns That Former American Lives at His Office Instead of at Carlton House TerraceSpecial Cable to The Herald

LONDON, Sept. 23,1897
The strange way in which William Waldorf Astor orders his life furnished a puzzle this week to the registration Judge to whom he applied to be placed on the parliamentary voting list for the Holborn division of London. Mr. Astor has 'a palatial house at Carlton House terrace, situated In the Strand division, but he applied to be registered instead for ' the Astor estate office, on the Thames embankment, about a mile away, which Is in the Holborn division. In explanation it was stated that he virtually lived at Cliveden, his Thames-side mansion; that he slept only a couple of times a year at Carlton House terrace, and that when in London he resided at the office of the estate. He has a single bedroom there, with two servants, a chef and an assistant, and spends all his time reading and writing in his study.

When the registration official made inquiries at the estate office all lnformaton was refused, and he was almost hustled out. On going to the office of the Pall Mall Gazette he was informed that they knew nothing about Mr. Astor's movements. The same reply was given at Carlton House Terrace. The judge remarked that If Mr. Astor took the trouble to become a naturalized Englishman he might at least condescend to look after his vote.

The estate office is a beautiful Italian renaissance building, the lower windows of which are covered with massive crossed iron bars. It Is situated close to the Temple station, the most secluded spot on the Thames embankment."

 Originally published in the New York Times, June 10, 1897 and the Herald, September 23,1897  

 Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura Graber, is the Site Moderator for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia