Chiswick House

Fast facts

  • Date of construction: 1727–1729
  • Architects: Lord Burlington, William Kent
  • Location: Chiswick, W4 2RP
Burlington’s was a deeply intellectual process of selection that gave Chiswick a character and quality of its own, that set it quite apart, even from any other building by other architects... — John Harris

History

Chiswick House was originally created in 1729 by Richard Boyle, the 3rd Earl of Burlington, with William Kent and Francis Fowke. After a fire in the old Jacobean House on the estate that Lord Burlington had inherited from his father, he decided to build a villa which could house the large collection of art and furniture that he’d accumulated from his trips in Italy.

In 1764 after the death of Lady Burlington, the villa and gardens were passed to the Cavendish family who their daughter Charlotte had married into. The house was often used as a venue for entertaining and was later rented out to a number of successive tenants.

In 1929, the house was sold to the Middlesex County Council by the 9th Duke of Devonshire and slowly fell into decline. During the war, the building was hit by a V2 rocket and was due to be demolished, but luckily a campaign was set up to save the villa and it was later sold to the Ministry of Works. Today, the villa and gardens are now under the care of Chiswick House and Gardens Trust, a partnership between Hounslow Council and English Heritage.

The Architecture

The House, mostly referred to as the 'Villa', was inspired by Lord Burlington's Grand Tours of Europe in 1714 and 1719. Throughout his trip he had encountered the works of many Renaissance architects, but was most taken by those created by the 16th Century Italian architect Andrea Palladio (1508–1580) who had reconstructed many ancient Roman buildings and produced new ones using traditional Roman principles and methods.

The influence of ancient Roman architecture and Palladio can be seen throughout the Villa:

Did you know?

  • The building was once used as a mental institution for wealthy male and females by two doctors, TS and CM Tukes, who rented the villa from the 9th Duke of Devonshire.
  • With Masonic iconography found within the interiors and the gardens, some say that the villa could have been a Masonic Lodge or Temple.

Location & Visitor Information

Location & how to get there

  • Address: Chiswick House and Gardens, W4 2RP
  • Contact No: +44 (0) 20 3141 3350
  • Nearest train station: Chiswick
  • Nearest tube station: Turnham Green (District Line)
  • Bus: 190 Hammersmith–Richmond; E3 Greenford–Chiswick

Opening times

    The Gardens
  • Everyday | 7am – dusk
  • Entry: free
    The Conservatory
  • Tuesday – Sunday | 10am – 4pm
  • Entry: free (donations welcome)
    The House
  • Sunday – Wednesday and bank holidays | 10am – 6pm

Entry

  • Adult: £7.20
  • Children (Age 5–15): £4.30
  • Family Ticket (2 adults, up to 3 children): £18.70
  • Concession: £6.50
  • Children under 5 and English Heritage Members, National Art Pass Members: Free

Further info