People and Stories

People make Chiswick House and Gardens. From lords and ladies, doctors and patients to joggers and cricketers, community gardeners and dog walkers, Chiswick has always offered a warm welcome to many different people.

Image: Detail from ‘A View of Chiswick House Gardens towards the rear of the Bagnio’, about 1729, by Pieter Andreas Rysbrack. © Historic England Photo Library

Chiswick House’s creator, the third Earl of Burlington, was one of England’s leading cultural arbitrators in the 18th century and a great patron of the arts.

His circle of friends included not only William Kent, the father of the English landscape garden, but such luminaries as Alexander Pope and the musician Handel. If you would like to learn more about Alexander Pope, who lived close by, visit Alexander Pope – Chiswick Calendar Features.

Image: Portrait of Alexander Pope by William Kent.
© Historic England Photo Library

Leader of fashion and political activist for the liberal Whig party, Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire, referred to her home at Chiswick House as ‘my earthly paradise’. Georgiana and the 5th Duke had a troubled marriage. In 1782 she met Lady Elizabeth Foster, known as Bess, who became her best friend and the Duke’s mistress. There has been much debate about Georgiana’s relationship with Bess but her letters make it clear that she adored her. After Georgiana’s death in 1806, Bess described Georgiana’s love as ‘passing the love of woman’.

Find out more about their story at:
Romantic Female Friendship | English Heritage (

Tuke Brothers

From 1892 to 1928, Chiswick House was leased by the Tuke brothers who used it as a mental health institution. Chiswick House Asylum, as it was known, was licensed to take around 35 private patients who had accommodation in the wing buildings. These wealthy, upper-class patients would have felt very much at home at Chiswick. The Tukes tried to maintain the atmosphere of a country house and retained much of the decorations that had been added by the 6th Duke. They pioneered a new approach to treatment and the patients wandered around the House and Gardens freely and pursued their creative interests.

The Tukes even established a cricket team – part of a long tradition of cricket at Chiswick which stretches back at least to 1800 when Georgiana held a cricket match to entertain her party guests and which continues today at Chiswick Cricket Club.

Find out more about the history of Chiswick House Asylum at: 

Today we partner and collaborate with many people – to research and learn more about the people who lived and worked here and to create new stories. Visit our Community page for more on our partners.

The Kitchen Garden

Our walled Kitchen Garden dates back to the 1600’s. Lovingly restored in the 2000’s, it is now a hive of horticultural and community activity.

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Plan Your Visit

Our Gardens are open to visitors every day. Find out more about tickets and opening times.

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Support Us

There are lots of ways you can help support us and preserve this beautiful house and grounds for our community.

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