I don’t know about you all, but after last month’s more serious post I am ready to return to some armchair travel, since that seems likely to be all we’ll have opportunity to do in the foreseeable future. So let’s return to my tour of great houses with Syon.
Unlike the other houses we’ve had a look at in my recent semi-series, Syon is the London house (although it’s a bit outside of London) of the Duke of Northumberland, rather than a country house, although it’s certainly of a size to be a country house. The Percy family used to have a number of seats including a central London townhouse (Northumberland House), but now they’re just down to Syon and Alnwick Castle in the duchy’s namesake Northumberland.
Like the other houses we’ve looked at, though, this one heavily features Robert Adam’s work, and quite a lot of it is very spectacular. Capability Brown also did much of the landscape, so once again we have two of the great artists of that era at work. Since everyone seemed to enjoy my look at the details of Harewood I thought I would go heavy on the photo details and light on the text again this time.
Before we dive in, though, I should note a few things. The building has the footprint of an Elizabethan/Jacobean house, with its interior courtyard, but it was refaced in Bath stone in the 1820s, and you can see that crenellated late Regency style as it appears today.
So yet again, we have a house that has evolved over the years and seen the touch of different artists and members of the family as they shaped it. Also of Regency note, the Duchess of Northumberland was the official governess of Princess Victoria, the heiress to the throne.
And now, let’s tour the house! Interspersed throughout the regular photos and 360 photos I’ll be including some videos that show how they all go together. All are 360 videos so you can either watch as is or pan about to see different elements of the rooms. We’ll start with the Great Hall, which serves as an entrance hall:
Next we’re into the incredible Ante Room:
And now let’s go into the Dining Room:
And now let’s pass through to the Red Drawing Room. Typically drawing rooms were more feminine and dining rooms masculine, but there’s a more masculine feel to this one. Adam designed it as a sort of buffer zone between the dining room and the long gallery, which served as the ladies’ drawing room.
Aside from a glimpse you can see in the video, I am going to skip the study, as it’s not made up in the period we’re largely interested in, and believe me, you want to get to that Long Gallery!
Although I’ve already shown a photo of the door to the next room, we shouldn’t leave this one without a glimpse of the two closets on either end. I believe neither of these circular rooms bears Adam decoration: the second which bears a strong resemblance to a birthday cake is all too much for his work, although the chinoiserie wallpaper of the first is of the period, as is the mechanical bird cage in the second, from the late 18th century.
The next room we’ll have a look at is the Print Room. The prints were removed in 1824 so unfortunately this is not a rare survivor of that style of decor, but it’s still quite handsome. Check out the wine cooler by the fireplace.
Next up is the Duchess’ Sitting Room, with another great example of period furniture in this George II card table:
Next up is the Green Drawing Room. You may notice that the ceiling here, like in the Print Room and the Private Dining Room (which we’ll reach soon) is different in style from the Adam ceilings, although complimentary in colors. They were designed by Giovanni Montiroli in the 1860s.
Now we’re going to go through the Oak Passage, which was added in the 1820s and features 16th century panels from another Percy residence:
Next, the Private Dining Room, with its lovely multi-tier serving tables:
Now let’s head upstairs:
Some of the bedrooms are more Victorian/Edwardian in decor, but still worth a look at:
Then, however, we get to the Duchess of Kent’s bedroom with its William IV furniture, which gives you a real sense of some of the styles of the late Regency:
The bed in Princess Victoria’s room is older, a George III giltwood polonaise bed, but it seems quite fitting for a princess!
Much of the basement area that you can go through is taken up with an exhibit on Syon Abbey, which originally occupised the site. But there is a period confectionary on view:
If you’ve heard of Syon, you’ve probably been waiting for this feature on the grounds! The Great Conservatory was built between 1820 and 1827 and is a rare survivor of this type of building from the period:
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at Syon! It’s the last of the great houses from this trip that I have to share with you, but I might be pulling a few from the archives in the future.