THE ARTS SOCIETY COLCHESTER
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DateVisit
06 September 2018Syon House & Dorney Court

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Syon House & Dorney Court
Thursday 06 September 2018

Cost - £55.00 per person, which includes coach travel, morning coffee & biscuits on arrival at Syon House, entrance fees to both properties, lunch & private house tour at Syon House. The booking form can be downloaded here.

In the morning we visit Syon House & Gardens, the London home of the Dukes of Northumberland. Originally built in the 1540s, the house was extensively remodelled in the mid 18th century, when Hugh Percy, the 1st Duke of Northumberland, commissioned Robert Adam and Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown to redesign the house and estate. The house includes a great hall, whose design was based on a Roman basilica, and a bedroom used by Queen Victoria. The Gardens border the Thames, looking across the river to Kew Gardens. They contain more than 200 species of rare trees. The park, with the house in the background, was painted from across the Thames by Turner in the painting ‘Zion House, Isleworth’. Our lunch is served in the refectory, adjacent to the Great Conservatory. Designed by Charles Fowler in the 1820s, this was the first conservatory to be built from metal and glass on a grand scale.

Leaving London, we travel to Dorney Court, one of England’s finest Tudor manor houses. Little changed in 600 years, the house remains in the possession of the Palmer family, thirteen generations of whom who have lived there since 1624. On first appearances the building appears to be entirely medieval, but some of the exterior is a Victorian reconstruction. Remodelling of the house was undertaken at the end of the 19th century and original bricks were restored to the front facade of the house. The oldest part of the house is the panelled parlour, which contains some very fine examples of antique furniture. The great hall has numerous family portraits and contains linenfold panelling brought from Faversham Abbey. Amongst the house’s claims to fame, along with being a location in TV programmes such as ‘Midsomer Murders’, ‘Poirot’ & ‘Pride & Prejudice’, is that the very first pineapple to be grown in England was produced at the estate, and was presented to Charles II in 1661!