Thursday, 19 January 2017

National Treasures: Petworth House

After seeing the lovely posts Vix over at Vintage Vixen has been making about her and her other half Jon's trips to National Trust properties, I was inspired to urge Andy to get joint membership for us.

We just don't go out anymore and only went out last year because we had Meirionwen and that was only during the summer months. I thought membership would actually force us to go out and do things in the colder months, before car show season is back in full swing, so New Years Eve we signed up!

The weather promised to be dreary on New Years Day, so as we had earmarked two places to go to as soon as possible, so we could catch the Christmas events before they ended, we chose the gloomful day to do inside things and the sunny to prance about in the sunshine.

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Our first jaunt was to nearby Petworth House, a place we had often driven by but had never visited. Now was our chance. It was also my chance to freak out the National trust regulars in their anoraks and sensible shoes, hehe! Oh the looks I was getting! I can only imagine what Vix goes through!

Petworth is famous for its extensive art collection made by George Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont (1751-1837), containing many works by his friend Turner.

It also has an expansive deer park, landscaped by Capability Brown, which contains the largest herd of fallow deer in England.
We didn't get to go in the deer park mind you, as it was far too rainy for that.

The manor of Petworth first came into the possession of the Percy family as a royal gift from Adeliza of Louvain, the widow of King Henry I (1100-1135), to her brother Joscelin of Louvain. He later married the Percy heiress and adopted the surname Percy. His descendents became the Earls of Northumberland, the most powerful family in northern England.
My grandmothers middle name was Louvain, named so because when her dad found he was to become a father again, he was actually in Louvain.

The house is a late 17th-century Grade I listed country house, which was rebuilt in 1688 by Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset, and altered in the 1870s to the design of architect Anthony Salvin and it is the manor house of the manor of Petworth.

For centuries it was the southern home for the Percy family, Earls of Northumberland.

The majority of the house was closed for cleaning, but they had left four rooms downstairs open and decorated them for an Italianate Christmas Masquerade Ball. Unknown to us until we got closer and overheard someone talking, the costumes on the mannequins were all made of paper!

Thankfully I have a museum setting on my camera, so was able to happily take pictures in a no flash photographery environment.

This, I was very taken by and upon leaving, discovered it was a cake made by Choccywoccydoodah.

Rabbits in the kitchen.

Hare in the gift shop.

Wrendale calendar! £3 in the gift shop sale! Huzzah!

We shall definitely be returning on a nicer day to explore the grounds and to see the house when it's all sparkly clean and welcoming visitors.