House

The oldest part of the Tudor house and a 20th century hive of activity © Andreas von Einsiedel

The oldest part of the Tudor house and a 20th century hive of activity

'A haven of peace and quietness for those in need'

From a Tudor show house to 20th century family home, Greys Court has only been inhabited by five families in its long history. The mansion today is a patchwork of styles that hint at the various fortunes and tastes of the occupants.

House steward's highlights

Family portrait

A painting of the Brunner family on the Oval Lawn © Stephen Prickett

This portrait of Greys Court on a summer afternoon in 1959 was painted by Lady Brunner’s brother, Laurence Irving. He has painted himself lower left at his easel. In the foreground are Lady Brunner and Sir Felix gathering flowers – Lady Brunner was very fond of fresh flower arrangements throughout the house, a tradition we continue today. The four Brunner boys are depicted playing football and cricket in the background. The work is idealised as the boys would have been far older by this date. Charles Taylor, the head gardener, mows the lawn in the foreground and other members of the Brunner’s staff also populate the painting, demonstrating the close sense of community between staff and household.

Games/card table

16th century Swiss table © Stephen Prickett

The Brunner family were of Swiss ancestry, and so a lot of the furniture that you see on your visit around the house is originally from Switzerland. This sixteenth century Swiss table would probably have been used as a games or card table. Players would have chalked their scores onto the slate slab in the centre; it would likely also have been used with equal convenience for children’s lessons or drawings. The piece was made for a namesake of Sir Felix’s, the inscription around the edge reading “Felix Brunner had me made in the year 1584 and in this house I must stay”.

Stained glass panel

16th century Swiss stained glass © Stephen Prickett

This beautiful stained glass panel (1537) is one of five on show at the top of the main staircase. They are all originally from Switzerland and would likely have been collected by Sir John Brunner, 1st Baronet, on one of his frequent trips to the country. Called Wappenscheib, such panels were very popular throughout Switzerland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and were often given as gifts to commemorate a marriage or the completion of a public building. Look out for the depiction of the stone fountain – the Brunner family crest – and the unusual baking scene in the top right-hand corner.

Ever wondered why...

Personal treasures on the bedside table

 ... the rooms are darkened?

Our light levels are very important to us, and we use different methods to keep them consistent. On sunny days we often have to lower the blinds and reduce the UV coming into the rooms in order to protect the fabric of the collection.

Ever wondered why...

A cheerful welcoming reception to be found at the entrance

 ... we use timed tickets?

To maintain the intimacy of our small family rooms, avoid damage and to give you the space to enjoy them we may have to issue timed tickets on busy days. These are given out at Visitor Reception on a first come, first served basis.

Take a tour

Intimate and informative tour of the ground floor

Take a turn through the history of Greys Court starting in 1086 all the way through to 2003 on one of our house tours. Tours are at 11 and 12 and last for between 30-40 minutes and tickets are available first come first served from Visitor Reception.

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