Knole's house and collection

A magnificent, luxurious bedroom with four-poster bed, hung with red and gold cloth, oak panelled walls, tapestries on the wall and parquet floor

Looking after a house the size and age of Knole is no mean feat and is the job of our expert House & Collection team at Knole, responsible for keeping the house in order and top condition.

Day to day care

Each morning before Knole opens, Knole's house and collection team are busy dusting, cleaning and taking care of the furniture, paintings and tapestries. They also carry out a deep clean when the showrooms are closed over the winter when every item – from the stunning silverware in the King’s Bedroom to the intricate carved picture frames in the Cartoon Gallery – is methodically cleaned and its condition recorded.

Winter hibernation

Every winter we put Knole’s showrooms to bed, to protect the fragile collection from the harsh weather and so that the conservation team can undertake a thorough clean.

When the last visitor leaves the showrooms in the fading afternoon light in early November, the entrance to Screen’s Passage in Stone Court officially closes its doors for winter.

Within hours the showrooms will hum with a new kind of activity – preparation for the annual winter clean. Scaffolding is erected, trestle tables are put up and hundreds of white dust cloths are brought out of hibernation to protect Knole’s treasures, until the showrooms reopen the following March.

It takes our conservation team four months to clean every item in the collection, record its condition and make sure the rooms are immaculate for the spring reopening. Despite the chilly temperatures inside the house, the winter clean is the highlight of the year for the team and a chance to really get close to the objects they care for.

Conservation week

Twice yearly we hold a conservation week, in the spring and autumn, where visitors can meet our team and watch them at work on areas of the house. Watch out for dates as they're scheduled nearer the time.

House and collection blog

Team members are passionate about what they do and keen to share their knowledge – find out more about some of their favourite projects in the blog.

A number of letters and papers are arranged in a perspex display case, relating to Major General Sir Charles Sackville-West, 4th Lord Sackville (1870-1962) and his involvement with the Treaty of WW1 Treaty of Versaille.

Charles Sackville-West and the Treaty of Versailles

A new temporary display at Knole tells the story of Charles Sackville-West's career, focusing on his involvement in the post-1918 peace process. The display runs from 28 June in Knole’s Visitor Centre until mid-August and is free to both members and non-members.