The notable collector, craftsman, architect and illustrator Charles Paget Wade (1883-1956) is best known as the donor of Snowshill Manor, with its Arts and Crafts garden and collection of craftsmanship, to the National Trust. Since 1952 visitors - now over 80,000 a year - have been fascinated, entranced, inspired, mystified, frustrated or disturbed by what they have seen or surmised.
In his own lifetime he achieved celebrity status amongst the great and good of the arts and architectural world and even the wider establishment. Through eight decades his wealth from West Indian sugar and cotton allowed him to resist modern ways and champion the past. Under his motto, 'Let nothing perish', he sought out a prodigious collection of craftsmanship including spinning wheels, clocks, costume, kitchen utensils, armour, musical instruments, bicycles, samplers, model ships, masks, toys, pipes, mouse-traps, tapestries, manuscripts, locks and keys, rush lights, and reliquaries.
He spent years and a fortune rescuing the derelict Snowshill Manor from damp, rats, rot and nettles. Not surprisingly, since his death his achievements in design, craftsmanship and treasure seeking at Snowshill Manor have defined him. Yet this book rediscovers the colourful and creative life of Charles Paget Wade, whom Queen Mary called the 'most remarkable object in his collection'.
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