While it may seem surprising to find full-length portraits by Gainsborough, Reynolds and Romney dominating Waddesdon’s reception rooms, otherwise decorated entirely with French objects, they demonstrate Baron Ferdinand’s taste for 18th-century British portraiture. Genre and landscape paintings by 17th-century Dutch Golden Age masters also form a significant part of Waddesdon’s rich collection of over 300 paintings, reflecting an established family interest.
French 18th-century paintings include charming scenes by Watteau and his followers as well as portraits by Boucher, Drouais, Labille-Guiard and Vigée LeBrun. Other unusual inclusions are the pair of extraordinarily large Venetian scenes by Guardi and the Sleeping Beauty series by Bakst. Alice de Rothschild collected the 15th- and 16th-century religious paintings that complement the Renaissance collections of the Bachelors’ Wing and a Mannerist work by Wtewael. Recent acquisitions, notably a Chardin, have strengthened the holdings of French painting.