Chiswick House has been associated with famous people from its inception.
Its creator the 3rd Earl of Burlington was one of England’s leading cultural arbitrators in the 18th century and a great patron of the arts. His salon at Chiswick included not only William Kent, the father of the English landscape garden but such luminaries as Alexander Pope, Isaac Ware, John Gay and the musician Handel. Leader of fashion and political activist for the Whig party, Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire referred to her home at Chiswick House as ‘my earthly paradise’. Her parties and political breakfasts at Chiswick were renowned and notable guests included the politician Charles James Fox who later died in the Bed Chamber in 1806. Georgiana’s son William George Spencer Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire was known as ‘the Bachelor Duke’; he never married despite being one of the richest and most eligible men in England.
Header image: The Royal Garden Party at Chiswick, c.1876-79, After Louis-William Desanges (1822-87) Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017
Among his many visitors were two Russian tsars, the King of Prussia and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Four giraffes brought from Surrey zoo attracted the greatest attention at a garden party that the duke held in June 1844 to welcome the Russian tsar, Nicholas 1st. Queen Mary was a regular visitor to Chiswick in the 20th Century and a great admirer of its beautiful camellias. Her husband King George V had played here as a child, learning to look after child size garden plots with his siblings. It was here at Chiswick in May 1966 that The Beatles, tired from touring the world, made a pair of promotional videos for the new singles ‘Paperback Writer’ and ‘Rain’. The Beatles shot their videos in the Conservatory, the Walled Garden and in front of the Exedra.
Today Chiswick House and Gardens are a popular location for celebrity photography and film shoots.