Petworth House and Park spans 900 years of history and has passed through just one family. The current Petworth House and Park was built as an English ‘Versailles’ to rival the palaces of Europe in the 17th century.
It is renowned as a champion of art and culture, and major works by the likes of Titian, van Dyck, Reynolds and Flaxman adorn the state rooms of this English ‘Versailles’. What makes Petworth House truly unique is the merging of its art and interiors. Many of the owners of Petworth House were collectors of fine art and these works remain on display as the centrepiece of your visit.
Not your average country house!
For a mind-blowing experience see the The Carved Room. It has paintings by Sir Anthony van Dyck, JMW Turner and a portrait of Henry VIII. It is far more than an art gallery. You’ll be hard-pushed to find a building anywhere in the whole National Trust portfolio that combines a staggering collection of world class art with the magnificent interiors of the Carved Room and Grand Staircase. These are rooms that are befitting of a palace.
The Grand Staircase of Petworth House features murals on the ceilings and walls by Louis Laguerre.
The painting and sculpture are laid out in a likeness similar to when the third Earl of Egremont (1751-1837) lived at Petworth. This was during a time that became known as Petworth’s ‘Golden Age’. The Golden Age period saw countless artists, including English Romantic painter JMW Turner, invited to Petworth. They took inspiration from the collection and the surrounding landscape and could also discus art with like-minded contemporaries.
The rooms might seem overcrowded by our standards. This design though and the merging of sculpture and painting, chosen by the third Earl, was revolutionary at the time. As you wander these state rooms, you are seeing them just as visitors like Turner did over 200 years ago.
The oldest English terrestrial globe in existence, made in 1592, is a must see on your visit to the North Gallery.
The family line remains unbroken and descendants still live at Petworth House. Their bedrooms and those of their guests as well as any domestic furniture remain in the private side of Petworth House. Instead it is the art, the grandeur of the rooms and the stories of the collectors that take centre stage.
On your visit step inside the third Earl’s purpose-built North Gallery. It is the culmination of his patronage of the arts, and marvel at some of the best British art of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Inside you’ll also find treasures like an early manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
The Historic Kitchen in the Servants’ Quarters at Petworth House and Park in 1829 alone the kitchens served nearly 30,000 guests. Today teh kitchens are one of the best surviving examples of servant life. The Servants’ Quarters by contrast to the grandeur of Petworth House offer a glimpse of life ‘below stairs’. Imagine the hustle and bustle of servant life in the Historic Kitchens and myriad ancillary rooms. Look out for the costumed interpretation team on select days as they bring history to life.
To visit Petworth Park in Petworth contact Holt Services