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.