If you have visited Glorious Goodwood, Goodwood Revival or the Festival of Speed, have you ever wondered what lies behind the front door of Goodwood House? Well, it might be worth making a date for your diary for the annual house tour season starts 16th March – 13th October this year.
The house itself started life as a hunting lodge, bought by the 1st Duke of Richmond, (the natural son of King Charles II by his beautiful French mistress Louise de Keroualle), in 1697.
Over the following three centuries, ten generations of the family have filled it with magnificent treasures, including royal portraits, such as Sir Anthony Van Dyke’s famous ‘Greate Peece’ of King Charles I and his family – and a premier collection of both historic English and fine French furniture. The Van Dyke was bought by the 3rd Duke of Richmond during the French Revolution and smuggled out of Paris by being rolled up and sailed down the Seine, concealed in a barge!
For me, I loved the Canalettos (the 2nd Duke gave the artist his first commission outside of Italy), the battle honours (including Napoleon’s own chair from the Battle of Waterloo) and the Sèvres Collection of porcelain.
This is one of the foremost collections in the world and it represents the first factory purchase by a client and the first to feature real representations of birds from nature onto porcelain rather than the whimsical, fantastical creations which previously were the norm.
I also enjoyed our guide who talked with such great passion and authority about the family and their history that it is clear that she truly cherished this remarkable House. From 4th August – 13th October, there is an additional reason to visit or indeed – re-visit! The summer exhibition this year is Nature Revisited – and a unique collection of paintings and stories will be revealed.
After the hour-long tour, pop back into the Ballroom to enjoy delicious homemade scones accompanied by Goodwood cream and butter with jam made from Estate fruit. Delicious.
The House is open for tours 16th March – 13th October 2014, from 1pm – 5pm most Sundays and Mondays and costs GBP9.50 for adults and GBP4.00 for young people & students. Children under twelve are admitted free. Cream teas start at GBP6.00 per person. From 3rd – 28th August, the house is open five days a week – Sundays to Thursdays. I recommend you check the recorded message to ensure there are no sudden closures on +44 (0) 1243 755040.
Contributor & photographer: Sue Lowry. Follow A3Traveller on Twitter: @A3Traveller and Sue Lowry on Google +, YouTube, Linkedin, Flickr and Pinterest. I also operate another blog for my company, MagellanPR – http://www.magellanstraits.com. They can be followed on Twitter: @MagellanPR, on Google+, on YouTube, on Pinterest and on Facebook.