The collection at Knole
Knole is home to one of the rarest collections of Stuart royal furniture, paintings, objects and textiles. The collection is incredibly well preserved thanks to Knole having been a show house ever since Thomas Sackville first acquired it in 1605.
The history of Knole's collection
Knole is home to an astounding collection. The particular way that history has shaped this collection and the house interiors is exceptional. Thomas Sackville’s position as Lord Treasurer enabled him to employ the finest craftsmen from the Department of the King’s Works to produce Knole’s stunning Jacobean interiors. The master craftsmen who produced the ceilings, panelling and fireplaces still surviving in Knole’s first-floor apartments are those who worked at the royal palaces. The royal offices held by subsequent generations of the Sackville family gave them the right to remove unwanted state furniture from the royal palaces. The quality and rarity of these pieces was recognised early on, both by the family and by interested visitors, and the furniture, tapestries and beds removed from the royal apartments were put on display in Knole’s grand run of show rooms.
In response to an increasing number of visitors, the Sackville family gradually retreated to the ground-floor, more domestic areas of the house, meaning that the run of show rooms, with its display of royal Stuart furniture, has remained relatively unchanged for the last 400 years. Visitors today follow much the same processional route as that laid out by Thomas Sackville in the first years of the 17th century.
Find out more about our collection by browsing the sections below. You can also take a virtual tour of the showrooms below.