Charles Paget and Snowhill Manor

Charles Paget Wade and Snowshill Manor

by Mark Hewitt

‘Nestled comfortably upon the Gloucestershire hills sits Snowshill Manor, once home of avid collector Charles Paget Wade and now cared for by the National Trust. Snowshill houses a unique collection of seemingly unconnected ephemera collected by Mr Wade throughout his colourful life. Walking through the property, the visitor will encounter room after room of the eclectic. Amongst the gloom, suits of conspiratorially arranged Samurai armour sit in half-light, ancient instruments silently occupy a broom-cupboard; another room is crammed with all manner of nautical equipment, whilst attic spaces yield sewing looms and early bicycles hung from the ceiling. One could be forgiven for mistaking the collection for an early example of unchecked hoarding, but Wade’s collecting habits were structured and followed a specific agenda, named as being “good design, colour and workmanship”.1 However, there is an element of his collection that is kept from the public; an assortment of seemingly magical and occult paraphernalia that has been dismissed by the current custodians. What was the relationship between Wade and these specific items and why has it never been celebrated alongside the rest of the collection? To answer these questions, we must first look at Wade himself.’

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