Chiswick House and Marble Hill House
Thursday 28 June 2012
We are spending a day travelling to west London to visit two houses that have recently had a programme of restoration, which has included the addition of contemporary furniture and pictures much of which originally belonged to the relevant house.
Chiswick House was built by the third Earl of Burlington in 1729 and is a magnificent neo-Palladian villa set in large gardens. The Earl had been very impressed by Italy during his ‘grand tour’ and as a result the design of the house is much influenced by Palladio and his English follower Inigo Jones.
Chiswick has few bedrooms, it was built primarily for entertaining and pleasure as well as being a showcase for the arts. On his travels Burlington had met William Kent and invited him to collaborate on the design, regardless of expense, of the interior of the house. The recent restoration shows the original splendour of much of the house and includes the unusual, luxurious and colourful blue velvet room that connects with the magnificent domed central saloon.
The interior is now largely furnished and hung with pictures. including much that is original to the house such as the Chiswick Tables, which were designed by Kent and made by the sculptor Guelfi. There is a set of eight paintings by Rysbrack which interestingly show the transition from formal to informal English landscape gardens; these were also originally in the house and have recently been re-united as a complete set.
We will have a guided tour of the house and then there will be time to walk round the recently restored gardens and for lunch, which can be taken in the café set in the grounds.
In the afternoon we go to Marble Hill House in Twickenham. This Palladian villa, with gardens leading down to the river was built for Henrietta Howard, the mistress of George II and was used by many famous men and politicians as a retreat from 18th century London. We will have a guided tour of the house which has recently been beautifully restored and houses a fine collection of early Georgian paintings.
We will leave Marble Hill at 4.30pm for the journey home. The cost to members of English Heritage and the Art Fund is £28. It is essential that you bring your membership card with you. If you are not a member the cost is £39.
If you would like to join us please send a cheque made out to 'The Friends of the Holburne' addressed to Tessa Hayward, Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath, BA2 4DB