Last weekend I paid a visit to Eltham Palace, an Art Deco mansion built by Stephen and Virginia Courtauld in 1936, on to the remains of a medieval royal palace. Stephen Courtauld was a member of the wealthy textile clan, but sensibly dodged going into the family business for a more agreeable existence of philanthropy, yachting and jetting around in little shiny planes. The interiors are pretty spectacular – Virginia Courtauld had the most enviable bedroom and bathroom I’ve seen:
The Courtaulds were so fashionable that even their pet lemur, Mah-Jongg, slept in style, in centrally heated quarters decorated with a mural of bamboo forest scenes. Mah-Jongg was bought in Harrods, apparently, and was very keen on nipping guests on the ankles.
Sadly they don’t let you take pictures inside the house so I can’t show any more, but it’s definitely worth a visit – even though you have to wear blue plastic bags over your shoes and dodge crowds of people listening to audio guides narrated by Hercule Poirot, which is not quite so glamorous.