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Today's featured article

West Wycombe's double colonnade

West Wycombe Park is a country house near the village of West Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, England. Built between 1740 and 1800 as a pleasure palace for the decadent 18th century libertine and dilettante Sir Francis Dashwood, the house is long and rectangular, and all four façades are columned and pedimented, three theatrically so. The house combines and encapsulates the entire progression of British 18th century architecture from early idiosyncratic Palladian to the Neoclassical, although anomalies in the design of the house make it architecturally unique. It is in an 18th century landscaped park, surrounded by smaller temples that act as satellites to the greater temple, the house. The house was given to the National Trust in 1943 by Sir John Dashwood, 10th Baronet, an action strongly resented by his heir. Dashwood retained ownership of the contents of the house, much of which he sold; after his death, the house was restored at the expense of his son, Sir Francis Dashwood. Today, while the structure is owned by the National Trust, the house is the home of Sir Edward Dashwood and his family. The house is open to the public during the summer months and a venue for civil weddings and corporate entertainment, which help to fund its maintenance and upkeep. (more...)

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Today's featured picture

Magnificent Hummingbird

The Magnificent Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens, female shown here) is a large hummingbird that breeds in mountains from the southwestern United States to western Panama. The bird appears very dark unless the sun catches the iridescence of the plumage and the brilliant colours flash in the sunlight. It is generally about 13 cm long, with males weighing 10 g and females 8.5 g. The black bill is long and slightly curved.

Photo credit: Mdf

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