OK, so we’ve been to Kenwood Housebefore. But with such a beautiful place nearby, it’s difficult not to… While last time was a fleeting visit on the blog, this trip we decided to look at things a little more closely.
Remodelled by Robert Adam in 1770 (you know by now how much we love goodoldAdam!), Kenwood sits in 74 acres next to Hampstead Heath, with views across to the City of London. The house is run by English Heritage but remains free entry to the public, thanks to the Iveagh Bequest. This was a gift of art from the 1st Earl of Iveagh in 1920, and comprises internationally-significant Old Master and British paintings by artists including Vermeer, Rembrandt, Gainsborough and Reynolds. Indeed, it is the finest collection of Old Master paintings given to the British nation in the 20th century.
There is also a fine collection of furniture in the house, either designed by Adam or brought in sympathetically. We liked this tiny lion:
Fancying a day out of central London but nearby, we used our hardworking National Trust membership and headed to Osterley Park, in Isleworth. When built, Osterley was surrounded by rural countryside, but is now dissected by the M4 and the Heathrow flight path [which you’re unfortunately reminded of fairly frequently] – probably not something Robert Adam had to bear in mind…
We’re big fans of Robert Adam (as you can tell from here and here) and he remodelled this Elizabethan house in 1761 for the Child family.
The garden is typically pretty, with a very lovely Adam “garden house” in keeping with the house itself.
Today on the blog we have two very special properties to help you make the most of that National Trust membership! (Even without it, entry fees were reasonable.)
We have a family in Leeds, so headed up there for the weekend. First stop was Nostell Priory, featuring a beautifully symmetrical exterior… [although, if you look closely, you’ll notice some damage on the left-hand side from a fire in 1980]
And an interesting lighting project, From Gloom to Glow, where they cast light on previously hidden objects. It certainly made for some dramatic photographs!