JMW Turner at Petworth House and Park
Celebrated artist JMW Turner (1775-1851) enjoyed a long and productive relationship with Petworth House and Park, drawing great inspiration from the beauty of the estate. A number of his paintings of Petworth can still be seen here, giving a unique insight into what life was like on the estate during his time.
A welcome house guest
Turner was a frequent guest at Petworth, returning year after year, thanks to his friendship with George O’Brien Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont (1751-1837). Several other artists of the time were repeat visitors too, including John Constable (1776-1837) and C. R. Leslie (1794-1859).
Turner enjoyed the beauty of Petworth – its interiors, collections and landscape – taking the time to observe, consider and record the great country estate without the usual constraints that were placed on a visitor to such a large house. This freedom to explore and create was encouraged by his enlightened and enigmatic host.
Turner's best work
Petworth held many attractions for Turner, with its majestic landscape, magnificent interiors and wondrous collection, so by the late 1820s Turner was somewhat of a fixture at Petworth. In 1827 he produced some of his most striking gouache drawings of its interior and inhabitants.
Celebrating the 3rd Earl of Egremont
Turner’s relationship with Petworth lead to a great commission of four final works by 3rd Earl of Egremont for the Carved Room. Each of the four scenes were specially created for placement within the wall carvings and depict scenes of significance to the 3rd Earl: two of Petworth Park, one of the Chair Pier in Brighton and one showing part of the Portsmouth and Arundel canal.
The two of Petworth Park can easily be compared to the real thing with just a glance through the windows of the Carved Room out into the park. These last two pieces celebrated the Earl’s philanthropy and support of such progressive schemes.
These four can still be seen at Petworth in the original places the 3rd Earl and Turner devised for them, thanks to a restoration project in the early 2000s which saw the paintings reinstated.
Telling stories of the past
Turner’s extraordinary talent, combined with the opportunity to return time and again to Petworth, allowed him to produce some of the most detailed pictorial descriptions of the great house and estate. His work shows us today, almost 200 years later, what life at Petworth was like in his and the 3rd Earl’s time.
Please note that some rooms of the house featuring Turner paintings are closed during the winter on a rotation to allow the team to carry out essential conservation work. Please check rooms open to view before travelling.
From the medieval interiors of the chapel to the rooms of the historic kitchens, find out what you can see on a visit to the house at Petworth.
From famous pieces of art and sculpture to decorative arts and furniture, explore some of the most important collections in the National Trust.
From Tudor monarchs to Romantic painters, discover the rich history of Petworth House. Follow its journey from medieval home to grand and inspirational house.
With plenty of space to run, jump and play there's lots to fun for families to have at Petworth.