Petworth: A House of Art
As home to one of the greatest families in the land, and their wonderful art collections, Petworth has a rich and varied history. From stories of executions to artists in residence, you’re sure to be surprised. Visit the show rooms containing a world famous collection of old masters and sculpture, be inspired by Petworth’s beautiful park and architecture as JMW Turner was, and discover its many treasures and objects.
The Somerset Room
Every room of the mansion at Petworth is part of a gallery of paintings that together make up the largest art collection in the care of the National Trust. The collections were formed over 300 years by different generations of the family.
The Square Dining Room
In this room hang some of Petworth’s 17th century family portraits by van Dyck, commissioned by his friend the 10th Earl of Northumberland. However the largest picture is Reynold’s enormous ‘Macbeth’, acquired in 1813 by the Earl’s descendant the 3rd Earl of Egremont, friend and patron of Turner.
The Marble Hall
Once the main entrance, called the Hall of State, a formal drive led important visitors directly into this exquisite room. It is little changed since it was completed in 1692 for the ‘Proud’ (6th) Duke of Somerset. Now you can enjoy its wonderful view across the Park redesigned by Capability Brown in the 18th century.
The Grand Staircase
After a fire in 1714, Louis Laguerre painted a magnificent series of allegorical murals on the ceilings and walls of the Grand Staircase. They feature Elizabeth, sole heiress of the Percy family, who married the Proud Duke in 1682, enabling the transformation of Petworth with her inheritance.
The Carved Room
This magnificent room is named for the wood carvings by Grinling Gibbons that now frame its pictures, including the famous Henry VIII from Holbein’s studio. You can also get up close to some of Turner’s dazzling Sussex views, painted here in the early 19th century.
The North Gallery
In the 18th century the 2nd Earl of Egremont built this gallery extension to house his fine collection of classical sculpture. His son the 3rd Earl enlarged the gallery and collected modern (19th century) art including works by Turner, Fuseli, Flaxman and Blake. Today you can enjoy these masterpieces just as Turner and Constable did.
Get close to Chaucer and the Wizard Earl's world
In the North Gallery, read our unique handwritten copy of Geoffrey Chaucer's ‘Canterbury Tales.’ It’s nearly 600 years old, so to flick through the pages you’ll need to read it online The first 300 pages and the second 300 pages