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.

Syon House exterior

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.

Syon House on the far side of the ha-ha

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.

interior courtyard with garden

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.

floor plan

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:

entrance hall alcove

entrance hall door to courtyard

entrance hall plaster detail

ceiling detail

statue and hall

Next we’re into the incredible Ante Room:

room with columns and gilded statues

gilt ceiling detail

fireplace and screens

fire screen detail

fireplace carving detail

patterned floor, columns, gilded statues and decoration

gilt panel detail

looking through doorway to dining room

And now let’s go into the Dining Room:

dining room wide shot

dining room fireplace and niches

niche statue: Diana, goddess of the hunt

gilt torchiere

gilt ceiling detail

bust and service door

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.

long view of red drawing room

long view of ceilingceiling detail

rolltop table

wall fabric

fireplace detail

carpet detail

cabinet marquetry

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!

long view of long gallery

torchiere and bookshelves

chairs and bookshelves

chairs and painted table

demilune table and candleabra

long view of ceiling

ceiling detail

ceiling detail

wall detail

door to next room

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.

chinoiserie wallpaper

approach to second closet

interior of second closet and mechanical bird cage

ceiling of second closet

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.

print room long view

print room ceiling

fireplace and wine cooler

marquetry cabinet

Next up is the Duchess’ Sitting Room, with another great example of period furniture in this George II card table:

George II card table

Duchess' sitting room long view

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.

green drawing room long view

long view of ceiling

fireplace detail

chandelier detail

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:

oak passage

oak panel detail

Next, the Private Dining Room, with its lovely multi-tier serving tables:

wide view private dining room

serving tables

Now let’s head upstairs:


sedan chair

Some of the bedrooms are more Victorian/Edwardian in decor, but still worth a look at:

bedroom with four-poster bed

another bedroom with four-poster bed

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:

bedroom with large bed

desk and chaise longue

The bed in Princess Victoria’s room is older, a George III giltwood polonaise bed, but it seems quite fitting for a princess!

bedroom with canopy bed

table and chairs and fireplace

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:

open dresser and table

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:

giant domed greenhouse

looking up at dome

curved walkway with plants

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.

18 Responses to Syon

  1. Exquisite! I think I could rest on the chaise and look up at those ceilings and never grow bored! That roll top desk, the carpets, the paintings, the long gallery…sigh. Thank you for this virtual trip. I can just picture Elizabeth touring with the Gardiners!

  2. I’m exhausted. That trip must have been amazing. I LOVE that interior garden. Oh-My-Gosh! That was simply lovely. I could enjoy that forever. Thank you so much for taking such amazing photos, videos and 360 degree pictures. Wow! That simply makes a post so much fun. I’ll never see these places in my lifetime and I always look forward to your post so I can see where we are going next. Thank you again. Blessings and be safe and healthy.

    • Aww, thank you, J. W.! I so enjoy both going to and then sharing these places and it’s so lovely to hear you’re enjoying the posts. I find it helps me as a writer to know the context of these great houses and I hope it’s the same for readers šŸ™‚

  3. Thank you for incredible tour of Syon. The photos and 360 views were fascinating. I visited Alnwick Castle while on a British Isles cruise so your post extra meaningful. Thank you for taking the time to share.

  4. Sophie, that’s amazing! How long did that take you? I don’t know about the bedrooms, though. I mean, the ceilings were plain white. Who wants to sleep under a boring old white ceiling? (I’m so glad I remembered I can look up in the moving pictures!)

    • Thank you, Summer! To go through the house probably about two hours. I usually allot a whole day for visiting a country house but I didn’t visit much of the grounds at Syon so it was more of an afternoon trip if I remember. And yeah, who wants those dull old boring ceilings when you could have the downstairs ceilings?!? šŸ™‚

  5. What a beautiful home! The room with the statues reminds me of when Elizabeth was in the statue room at Pemberley! The chandelier in that one room was gorgeous! I would love to sit in one of those pink chairs and put my feet on the stool and read a book from that heavenly looking library! Lol

  6. Wow, Sophie, Syon is incredible! Everywhere you look there’s something to amaze and delight. In some of the photos it looks like you were the only visitor there, which is a plus. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful photos.

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