New for 2019: The Sizergh Silk Road - from Goa to Antwerp
Be one of the first to see the newly rediscovered bedspread of James II, and find out how we look after our rare 17th-century Flemish tapestries.
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.
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!).
Keeping the threads alive
In this exhibition space, find out how we’re looking after the delicate fabric in Sizergh’s collection. We’ll also be welcoming a specialist textile conservator for public demonstrations over the coming months (keep an eye on our What’s on page for details).
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 later this year. 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 for 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.
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.