Petworth House. A finest art collection hidden in picturesque sceneries of West Sussex.

petsworth house

The history of this elegant manor, settled in 12 miles from yet another local attraction of Arundel castle, goes down with its roots to the ancient Percy family (later also known as the Earls and Duchess of Northumberland), who came into possession of the site in the 12th century. In the 17th century a beautiful 16-year old Elizabeth Percy wedded for the third time with Charles Seymour, the 6th Duke of Somerset, due to whom Petworth house got its present appearance.

The young Charles was said to be handsome, generous and brave but so extremely haughty and proud of his glorious ancestry that therefore dubbed “The Proud Duke”. He was the talk of the town of his time, and the anecdotes about the Duke’s arrogance survived over the centuries.
petsworth park
According to one of the stories Charles Seymour demanded his kids to stand in his presence, and to stand aside their noble daddy having an afternoon snooze was also one of their privileged "honours". But once one the Duke’s daughters Charlotte allowed herself an unforgivable liberty. The girl probably felt tired or fed up of that doubtful attraction, and set down for a while. His Lordship was so hurt to the very heart by his daughter’s disobedience, that he cut Charlotte’s inheritance for £ 20,000.
Elizabeth and Charles’ only son didn’t leave any offspring after his death, so Petworth house passed over to his nephew Charles Wyndham, the descendants of whom have been living in the manor ever since. Nowadays the represents of the Wyndham occupy one of the wings of the house, and another portion is bountifully opened for the visitors.

The contents of Petworth house for sure don’t give up to any capital’s art galleries. There is not only one of the largest collections of J.M.W. Turner’s paintings in the country, counting about 20 depictions, but many pictures of other infamous masters of their époque, such as Van Dyck, Reynolds or Titian as well as the immense collection of statues. The time-honoured dilapidated Molyneaux globe in the North Gallery is a unique survivor from the 1592. It was believed to belong to Sir Walter Raleigh, who presented it with Henry Percy while both away their time in the Tower of London as the alleged participants of the plot against the king James I.
JMW Turner. Chichester Canal

The Carved Room is enlightened by the genius of Grinling Gibbons, 17th-century sculptor and wood carver. Notwithstanding he created a huge amount of dainty carvings, such like at St Paul’s Cathedral, Blenheim Palace or Hampton Court, ones at Petworth house are claimed to be the most elaborate and refined. The Grand Staircase, a sheer pivot of the house, is a reincarnation of taste and elegance with its vivid murals, one of which tells the story of notorious Pandora. But the oldest part of the manor is a cryptic Chapel that originates from the 14th century. Opposite the entrance of the house are the Servants’ quarters having been turned into magnificent exhibition of the 19th century kitchenware. After having taken a plunge into the life of luxury and comfort, it is especially interesting to have a peek behind the curtains, at the life of those invisible stagehands, which helped to make real this play of opulent life.
petsworth park

But with the end of tour around Petsworth house the experience of the place yet doesn’t finish. The 700 acres of spacious parkland is the home the fellow deer. Unlike the Knole park deer, they don’t meet the visitors in the car park, but it is still quite an experience when you stroll along the path, and the frightened herd gracefully cross it just few steps in front of you.

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