Chiswick House & Gardens Trust
The Women who Made Chiswick launches at Chiswick House’s Easter Opening Weekend
In 2018 we are marking a major milestone in women’s suffrage. One hundred years ago, with the passing of the Representation of the People Act, some women were given the right to vote in the national elections for the first time.
To celebrate, the Chiswick House public programme will be exploring the lesser known stories of the women who made Chiswick – aristocratic ladies with money and great social influence, 18th-century business women taking on the building trade, and housekeepers ensuring the smooth running of the household. Although these women would never get to cast their vote, they left their mark on Chiswick House and Gardens.
The public programme consists of historic talks and tours from curators and historical experts, crafting workshops for adults and children, a family fun day of music, dancing, food and drink, historical talks, storytelling inspired by Georgiana, 5th Duchess of Devonshire’s celebration at Chiswick as well as involvement in national festivals of Open House London, Museums at Night and London History Day.
Chiswick House is completely free for children to visit and free drop in activities are available at half terms.
To launch this public programme of events, Chiswick House will open for the season Friday 30th March, with special Easter activities for the whole family. Kids go free in the House every day. On Saturday, Dorothy Boyle, Countess of Burlington (13 September 1699 – 21 September 1758) will welcome to Chiswick House and show you the fabulous fabrics she chose for the rooms and portraits of her family. On Sunday, a free tour of the house is included in admission at 2.30pm. On Monday, it’s Time for Tea! Join our family crafting activity inspired by Georgian tea parties. Make and embellish colourful teapot decorations inspired by the fashionable beverage. To be displayed in the festivities of our Garden party celebrations that will take place in July, and to take home. Drop-in sessions throughout the day.
Clare O’Brien CHGT Director comments
“Chiswick House & Gardens are delighted to be joining the celebration of female empowerment marked in 2018. We are pleased to be able to tell some of the lesser known stories of the estate, as well as go into depth on the women who shaped this area of West London.
Imogen Steinberg – Marketing and Public Programme Co-ordinator – firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
Chiswick House is an18th century villa set in classically landscaped gardens in West London. One of the earliest and finest examples of neoclassical architecture in the UK, the house was designed from 1727-29 by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork, and his associate the painter, gardener and architect, William Kent. Both the house and its gardens are Grade 1 listed and the villa itself is a scheduled ancient monument.
Upon the Earl of Burlington’s death, the house and gardens passed through his daughter’s line into the Cavendish Family, the Dukes of Devonshire. After the death of the 8th Duke, the Estate was sold to Middlesex County Council in 1929. The villa was subsequently given to the Ministry of Works in 1956, in order to repair the building and restore it for the nation. In April 2017, the house and gardens were united under one management for the first time in almost 70 years.
Chiswick House & Gardens Trust
Chiswick House & Gardens Trust is a registered charity, created jointly by English Heritage and the London Borough of Hounslow. The Trust is dedicated to the protection and enhancement of this outstanding Grade I listed villa and registered Grade I Gardens, which have been enjoyed as a public park since 1929. www.chiswickhouseandgardens.org.uk
Visiting the House & Gardens
The House and Shop are open from 30th March – 31st October. Open Daily, except Tuesdays 10am-5pm.
£7.50 adult, £5.00 concession and free for children under 18. Free for English Heritage and Art Fund members. Prices correct at time of press.
Entry to the Gardens are free; donations welcome. Open daily from 7am – dusk.
Lady Burlington was a self-assured woman, secure in her position in society, and not afraid to express her opinion. She was born in 1699 into a powerful political family, the daughter of Sir William Savile, 2nd Marquess of Halifax, and Lady Mary Finch. After the death of her parents, when she was only eighteen she became co-heiress of the vast Halifax estates together with her younger sister Mary.
This financial security not only made her an attractive match for Lord Burlington, who she married in 1720, it also enabled her to become a patron of the arts. In 1735 she had this room decorated at her own expense and it is her name that appears on the bills from the upholsterer and carver. Although the room has been altered, the owl motif from her family crest can still be seen on the ceiling painted by William Kent. With Kent’s guidance, she became an artist in her own right and used this room as a studio.
Lady Burlington also held a prestigious position in the Court of Queen Caroline as a Lady of the Bedchamber. Her duties at court often separated her from her two daughters, Dorothy and Charlotte, but they maintained a close relationship and family life revolved around Chiswick House.
Full Public Programme
The Ladies of Chiswick: Curator Talk
17th April 2018
2pm and 7pm £25
Join Chiswick House’s Curator, Dr Esmé Whittaker, to explore the lives of Lady Burlington and Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and discover how they influenced and used the house and gardens. This in depth talk will be followed by an opportunity to view the House and discover more.
Adult Craft: Embroidery Workshop
13th May 2018
Taking inspiration from historical pastimes, this embroidery workshop will lead you through a variety of decorative sewing techniques, completing a hand-stitched design inspired by the stunning gardens at Chiswick House, just like the ladies at the height of Regency society loved to do.
The Working Women of Chiswick: Curator Talk
16th May 2018
2pm and 7pm £25
Join us for a fascinating talk with Chiswick House curator Esme Whitaker and find out about the hard working women who contributed to life at Chiswick in the 18th and early 19th century – including a slater, a supplier of artificial stone ornaments, and a housekeeper turned reluctant tour guide. Part of Museums at Night.
London History Day
31st May 2018
London History Day is an annual celebration of the capital’s extraordinary history and heritage run by Historic England. London History Day takes place every year on 31 May – the day Big Ben first started keeping time. For just one day, museums, galleries and organisations across the city hold special events and display rare objects that show how London’s people and places have contributed to the city’s unique identity.
Chiswick House Summer Party
7th July 2018
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, requests the pleasure of your company for a weekend of music, dancing, food and drink, historical talks, storytelling, and fun at a summer party in the grounds. Inspired by the ‘breakfast’ or fête, held on 5th July 1800, organised by Georgiana, 5th Duchess of Devonshire as a birthday celebration for her eldest daughter, Georgiana, known as Little G, we invite you to join us for a day out for all the family.
Adult Crafts: Cameos Workshop
15th July 2018
Throughout history, cameos were a way to record the visage of a loved one and kept as keepsakes to treasure. Taking inspiration from Georgian jewellery, in this card craft workshop you will use these iconic silhouette cameos as inspiration to make layered collages that you can use as gift cards, or display as home décor.
Adult Crafts: Pomanders Workshop
9th September 2018
Come and make a scent-sational gift for your home. Join this unique workshop to make a fragranced pomander ball, inspired by the perfumed adornment in historical times that were used for beautiful scent and as an early version of aromatherapy.
Open House 2018
21st September 2018 – 22nd September 2018
10 am – 5pm
We are pleased to be opening this year as part of Open House London. Chiswick House will be open from 10am to 5pm on Saturday completely free of charge. Entrance to the House is free, although donations are welcome and will go to support the Trust’s work maintaining the wonderful Grade 1 listed House and Gardens.