This fantastic mansion basks in the glory of grounds created by Capability Brown, they are said to be his true "masterpiece" showing the finest man-made landscapes of the 18th century. In the grounds you can see some fine 17th century urns on pedestals, these were carefully placed to draw the eye towards some of the landscape's loveliest spots by the 3rd Earl. Petworth House is as famous for its landscape and stunning deer park as it is for its superb collection of paintings, among which are some by Turner, who stayed at the house during the 1830's.
The house is in the care of the National Trust, it is one of their greatest "showpieces" but it still remains the family home of Lord and Lady Egremont.
Originally, the house belonged to the Percy family, but little remains of this early medieval building, save for the chapel built during the 13th century. In 1682, Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset married the Percy heiress and between them they built the present 17th century house.
The long main front of the building is exceedingly attractive and very French in appearance. Above each of the numerous windows is the Seymour family emblem - a pair of angels wings. Visitors to the house enter through the east front, which was partly rebuilt in 1870 by Anthony Slavin. From there-on you proceed through a number of opulent rooms, though the only surviving room from the 6th Duke's time is the marble hall, with its chequered black and white floor. This is a triumph of French and Dutch decoration and is thought to be the work of Daniel Marot, a Huguenot craftsman and designer. There is a wealth of carving by Grinling Gibbons, many believe that Petworth shows some of the finest work Gibbons ever produced.
The magnificent square dining room, created by Lord Egremont early in the 19th century is hung with old masters, this is only one of the rooms created during this period. One of the most intriguing rooms in the house is the so called "beauty room" this is said to be because it was devoted to the ladies of Queen Anne's court, it has lavish decoration and portraits by Kneller and Dahl.
Visitors may also see the old kitchens in the servants quarters, these provide a sharp contrast to the opulence of the rest of the house, distinguishing the difference in life-style between master and servant in an age that has long since disappeared.
Petworth House is open for a large part of the year, the gardens are at their best throughout spring and summer, becoming a riot of autumn colours in the latter part of the year. The house offers special events such as open air concerts during June.
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