Chichester ArtsChichester Arts

Petworth House

Approx 15.1 miles from the centre of Chichester

Petworth, as the visitor sees it today, owes much of its appearance to Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset, nicknamed the 'Proud Duke'. It was he who set about rebuilding the ancient house of the Percy family, which he had acquired through his marriage to the heiress, Elizabeth, in 1682. The refacing of the 300ft long west front, looking on to the park, was begun c.1688 and is perhaps the closest approximation to a château in the grand manner of Louis XIV's France. Although the architect is uncertain, the Huguenot Daniel Marot is thought to have been chiefly involved. Internally, much work was done by leading craftsmen, such as Grinling Gibbons. Of the medieval building, only the Chapel (dating from 1309) and cellars substantively survive. The North Gallery extension, built to accommodate the art collections of the 2nd and 3rd Earls of Egremont, was added during the mid eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Much of the south end of the house was remodelled around 1870 by Anthony Salvin.

The house stands in a 700 acre landscaped park, known as Petworth Park, which was designed by 'Capability' Brown and immortalised in many of Turner's paintings.