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Pictures of Chiswick House

a Historic Building in the town of London, in the county of Greater London

Take a picture tour of Chiswick House..

About Chiswick House

Few can resist this fine classical building which was the creation of Lord Burlington, patron of the arts in the early part of the 18th century. Burlington was also an architect and when he built the house in 1723 it was modelled on the crisp lines of Palladio's Villa Capra, near Vicenza, for he was a true admirer of the ancient Roman architectural tradition with little or no use for the flamboyant style of fellow architects such as Wren and Vanbrugh who were building mostly in the ebullient Baroque style.

This was a house built for use as a "temple of the arts" it was a sumptuous background for huge collections of paintings, sculpture and other works of art, displayed around interiors designed by William Kent whose ideals concerning decoration matched those of Lord Burlington. It was also used for lavish entertaining, during his lifetime Lord Burlington welcomed the great and the good of his era.

For many it is the exterior of the house which commands attention, the front has double classical stairways approaching a grand portico at first floor level, with the roofline being offset by the dome rising above the saloon. Both this room and the gallery are outstanding in design, but some of the smaller rooms appear to lose impact under the mass of ornament detracting from the original rigid lines.

During a tour of the house visitors see a series of magnificent rooms, most particularly the green, red and blue velvet rooms, so named for the walls originally covered in luxurious velvet fabric. Sadly this has since been replaced with flock wallpaper. The original grandeur of the Gallery remains, here there is a splendid painted and gilded ceiling.

The gardens, also designed by Kent, break with the traditional formal English garden. In its place is a wonderful landscape around which are placed huge statues by Palladio and Inigo Jones mixed with other statues brought from Tivoli, near Rome.

The house is open to the public, there are guided tours and an exhibition and videos tell the story of the house, and of Lord Burlington, his times and the travels that influenced him.

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