This impressive neo-classical mansion was originally a Tudor house built in the 1570s by Sir Thomas Gresham. It was acquired by wealthy banker Sir Francis Child in 1713 - the perfect symbol of his status and prosperity. His grandson, also called Francis, engaged Robert Adam from 1761 to remodel and transform Osterley into the ‘palace of palaces’ that you see today.
Osterley's interior is one of the finest and most complete by Robert Adam still in existence, full of delicate decorations, friezes and furniture designed by Adam specifically for each setting.
Adam had demolished the east side of the building and replaced it with the transparent portico you see today, so he relocated the Entrance Hall further back across the courtyard. With influences of ancient Greece and Rome and a soft colour scheme of French grey and white, this room would have been used for large dinners, parties and balls, as well as an extravagant welcome to guests.
The Eating Room
This was where the Child family would eat their dinner and entertain their friends and guests. Almost every aspect of the room was designed by Adam, highly ornate with stucco wall decorations and gilt mahogany sideboards. The room looks unfurnished, as the tables and chairs were either placed against the walls of the room or stored in an adjoining corridor when not in use.
The Long Gallery
Spanning the entire length of the house, the Long Gallery is 40 metres long and on a sunny afternoon glows green and gold. It can take up to three days to wax and polish the entire floor! You may have seen the Long Gallery used in films such as The Young Victoria and Belle.
The Tapestry Room
The first of a series of rooms that make up the State Apartment, designed to impress and entertain important guests such as royalty. The tapestries themselves took four years to complete and contain subtle references to Mrs Child’s love of her garden and animals – see if you can spot the white rabbit and her gardening hat amongst the birds and flowers.
The State Bedchamber
Described as a mixture of a classic temple and theatrical stage setting, the magnificent eight-poster State Bed was designed by Adam to impress – and rumour has it Robert Child ripped up the bill after paying it, so no one would know just how much he had spent. Rarely slept in, if at all, Robert and Sarah Child had much more modest rooms upstairs.
The Etruscan Dressing Room
The final instalment of the State Apartment, Adam’s designs for this room were inspired by his four-year study tour of Europe in 1754-8. His designs for the walls were copied onto paper, pasted onto canvas and fixed to the walls and ceilings. However, it’s not completely perfect – if you look close enough you can find a missing part of the design.
The ground floor would have been the real hub of the house, with staff busy making life ‘above stairs’ run smoothly. Now the corridors are quiet and the air is still. The Kitchen, Servant's Hall, Steward's Room and more all provide a glimpse into that forgotten world of scullery maids and footmen.
Visitor entry and Access
Due to the vast number of showrooms and conservation work being undertaken, please note not all rooms may be open every day. Occasionally, the house may also close for filming. If you have any questions, please call the property on 020 8232 5050 for more information.
Access to the principal floor is by staircase, with 23 shallow steps and a handrail. The ground floor, known as the basement, is accessible via a wooden ramp to the corridor, however many rooms within the basement have a couple of steps down into them. Please see our 'Facilities and Access' section on our homepage for more information, or call us on 020 8232 5050.