Last chance to see 'The Sizergh Silk Road - from Goa to Antwerp' exhibition

Detail from James II bedspread at Sizergh

Make sure you see the rediscovered bedspread of King James II, before it gets safely packed away. Now's also your last chance to see the complete set of five rare 17th-century Flemish tapestries in the Library, before one heads to Belgium for some specialist conservation treatment.

A stitch in time

Once owned by King James II, the 17th-century Goan bedspread was gifted to the Stricklands as a thank you for their loyalty. The Strickland family has lived at Sizergh for over 750 years, and at that time were considered close friends of the king and queen. Unfortunately James II's Roman Catholic faith made him unpopular and he was forced into exile in France in 1688.

See if you can spot the portrait of King James II on your visit to the house
Portrait of James II
See if you can spot the portrait of King James II on your visit to the house

Sir Thomas and Winifred Strickland were amongst those to accompany James II and help him set up court there, and Sizergh’s collection includes many other gifts which the family received as thanks (including some which are less appealing – a lock of his hair and a piece of bloodstained fabric!).

James II's bedspread is on display at Sizergh for the very first time
The bedspread of James II is on display at Sizergh for the very first time
James II's bedspread is on display at Sizergh for the very first time

Keeping the threads alive

In this exhibition space, find out how we’re looking after the delicate fabric in Sizergh’s collection.

Learn more about the conservation work needed on one of our 17th-century Antony and Cleopatra Flemish tapestries, which can be seen in the library before it travels to Belgium for specialist treatment this winter. The complete set of 5 wall-hangings depict Plutarch’s (and later Shakespeare’s) famous story and are the largest surviving weaving of this series in the world. The treatment to conserve and restore just one of these tapestries costs £77,000 in total, so every penny raised through raffle ticket sales will go towards preserving this rare work of art for everyone to enjoy.  

A section from 'The Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra' Flemish tapestry
Antony and Cleopatra Flemish tapestry
A section from 'The Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra' Flemish tapestry

Cecilia's Story: A Life in Letters

As you make your way around the house, you’ll also uncover the story of Sizergh’s 18th-century mistress, Cecilia Strickland, and her experiences of love, loss and hope through her surviving letters. On your way out try a slice of chocolate and rum pavlova cake; a recipe put together by our creative cafe team, inspired by the sweet chestnut seeds Cecilia brought back and planted after a trip to Versailles. These ancient trees can still be seen on Ashbank Lane today, so make sure to take a look on your visit.

18th-century lady of the house, Cecilia Strickland
Cecilia Strickland
18th-century lady of the house, Cecilia Strickland