Drinks with the Ambassador

I entered a U.S. cocoon last night.

The American School was invited to the US Ambassador’s residence, Winfield House, for cocktails.  Space was limited, and I was quick to sign up.

I am never one to turn down free cocktails and canapés, but the true draw was the house itself.  Winfield House is a beautiful Neo-Georgian mansion located on 12 coveted acres within Regent’s Park.  As Jeff would say, that is a pretty good “piece of dirt“!

It boasts the largest private garden in or close to central London after that of Buckingham Palace!  Since 1955, it has been the official ambassadorial residence of the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

I met Ambassador Susman and his wife in the official receiving line, and they graciously made small talk.  When they learned I was from Greenwich, CT, they were quick to smile and mention that they “have many friends in Greenwich“….perhaps some of you are reading this now!  As far as I can tell, their main function is to host parties and dinners when in residence.  Not a bad gig.

What I did not expect was the amazing art collection installed under the direction of the Susmans, avid art collectors in their own right.  There were Jasper Johns, Andy Warhols, Mark Rothkos, Willem De Koonings, and other contemporary artists coupled with classic portraits of Washington and Jefferson.  I particularly enjoyed the Hockney that reminded me of the wonderful exhibition that recently closed at the Royal Academy.

I furtively snapped away with my iphone while pretending to check texts.  Of course, all artwork paled in comparison to The Invitation displayed on a side table in the Yellow Room.  I love the wording of the first line:  The Lord Chamberlain is commanded by the Queen to invite....  No mention of Charles.  That lame duck can’t even directly invite people to his own son’s wedding!

 

I will admit I felt patriotic pride in the beauty of the house decorated with its federal fixtures, eagle adornments, and classic grandeur.  It was fun to step into the USA in the middle of London.

I raise my glass to the stars and stripes, land of the free and home of the brave!  Cheers!

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