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- Free entry with National Art Pass.
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Created in the early 18th century by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, this masterpiece of Neo-Palladian architecture became a showcase for his art collection.
The Earl took the inspiration for his house from the architecture of ancient Rome and 16th-century Italy that he had seen on his Grand Tour. His architect, William Kent, spared no expense in creating a sumptuous villa to house the Earl's extensive art and book collection, and to provide a luxurious place where he could entertain his friends.
Every year Chiswick House hosts its annual Camellia Show in the Grade 1 listed conservatory. Boasting the oldest – and one of the finest – collections of the rare blooms in the country, there are over 33 different varieties on display. Among them is Camellia Japonica Middlemist’s red, originally brought from China in 1804 by a nurseryman from Shepherds Bush. It is one of only two in the world known to exist – the other being in Waitangi in New Zealand.
Italian and Flemish Old Masters on the walls are complemented by superb sculptures and furniture. William Kent's elaborately carved Chiswick tables designed specifically for the house are outstanding examples of Neo-Palladian furniture, and in the lower tribuna a lead sphinx stands guard over arcane secrets.
Art Funded works
The Art Fund has helped Chiswick House acquire three paintings by Pieter Andreas Rysbrack which are part of a series of eight landscape views of the house set in its gardens, some of them showing gardeners going about their business. The gardens themselves – birthplace of the English landscape movement – have undergone a £12m restoration which has revealed the original vistas and repaired the statues and garden buildings.
The elegant café, designed by Caruso St John and opened as part of the garden regeneration, is a perfect place to sit and admire the landscape. It offers an all-day menu, starting with croissants for breakfast, soups, salads and sandwiches for lunch, and an array of cakes and pastries for tea.