Thursday, 21 August 2014

Petworth House

During our short visit to Sussex, we took the Podlings to visit Petworth House. The late 17th century mansion house is now owned by the National Trust and contains a veritable treasure trove of paintings and sculptures. Mark and I visited here over a decade ago and thought it well worth bringing the Podlings here. Petworth House is quite  unusual in that the servants' domain was kept entirely separate from the main house. The kitchens, storerooms and servants' quarters are all housed in a building immediately adjacent to the house and this was connected to the house by means of an underground tunnel (not open to the public). The historic kitchens are open to the public and the Podlings really enjoyed looking around them. They were all fascinated by the (fake) dead birds laid out ready for plucking and Lily asked a lot of questions of the lady volunteer.

I pointed out the austerity of the servants' building to the Podlings and asked them to compare it with what we found in the main house, which we viewed next. Petworth is particularly rich in beautiful objects and is an absolute delight to visit. Their are no fewer than 19 paintings by J.M.W. Turner, as well as paintings by Gainsborough, Reynolds, Van Dyke and Blake. There is a fabulous 16th century terrestrial globe on display made by Molyneux and many wonderful carvings and sculptures. The impressive wall and ceiling paintings by Louis Laguerre are nothing short of breathtaking. Petworth is an absolute feast of artistic delights and well worth a visit.

The Podlings enjoyed the art, but also had a wonderful time trying to find the cuddly spaniels hidden in the rooms. The National Trust seem to have these trails for children in most of their houses now and it really helps to keep the children engaged and buys their parents a little more time to soak in the beautiful artwork!

Although we didn't have loads of time to spare when we got to the house, we did manage to see everything. The family still live in part of the house, so although the house looks huge from the outside the part that is open to the public isn't that extensive. We all really enjoyed our visit to Petworth House and hope to have time to explore the extensive grounds on our next visit, whenever that may be.

The stained glass window in the chapel

The North Gallery is full of beautiful paintings and sculptures, a real treat! 

One of the many beautiful Turner paintings, this one of  Cockermouth Castle in Cumbria

A beautiful 19th century piano

Picnicking in the car park!

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