Three centuries of style: Chiswick House and Gardens

Three centuries of style: Chiswick House and Gardens

When we were looking for a backdrop to shoot our new Autumn/Winter 22 campaign against, something with history, noblesse, style, and sheer beauty, a a stone’s throw from central London, only one place sprung to mind - Chiswick House and Gardens. Created by two Georgian trendsetters, the architect and designer William Kent and his friend and patron Richard Boyle, the third Earl of Burlington, the pair began work in 1725 until about 1738. It was a notable game-changer in British architectural history, mainly because the pair was greatly Influenced by their travels on the Grand Tour.

Rejecting the showy, Baroque style fashionable in England at the time, Kent and the Earl of Burlington landed upon a simpler, symmetrical design based on the classical architecture of Italy. Where the gardens were concerned, they ripped up the formality of the early 18th-century garden preferring a much more natural-looking landscape, which subsequently became known as the English Landscape Movement, which inspired gardens from Blenheim Palace to New York’s Central Park.


After the earl’s death in 1753, the estate passed to the Dukes of Devonshire by marriage. The 5th Duke demolished the old Jacobean manor house and make a mansion of the villa, while the gardens had significant remodellings. When the Devonshires eventually moved to their main residence circa 1860, the house was rented out to a number of notables including Edward Prince of Wales who hosted his mother Queen Victoria, members of the royal family, and guests from across the world at his garden parties. When the Tuke brothers, Thomas and Charles, took over the lease, they turned Chiswick House into a pioneering mental health institution from 1892 to 1928.  The Tukes wanted their invariably wealthy patients to feel as though they were recuperating in a country house, hence why they kept much of the 6th Duke of Devonshire’s furniture.

Interior Splendour

As we discovered, the interior of Chiswick House is still magnificent, but when it was a functioning household of Burlington and Kent, and then later the Devonshires, it must have been one of the most eye-opening in all of London. For the Earl of Burlington, the house provided him ample space for his vast collection of “paintings, specially-designed furniture and souvenirs from his European travels. The lavish interiors of the first floor, the ‘piano nobile’, were hung with richly coloured velvet.  These wall coverings have been re-created in the Blue Velvet Room, Lord Burlington’s private study, which is hung with hand-woven blue silk velvet.”

So far, so decadent. According to the historians of the house: “In the 18th century, the velvet hangings would have been almost obscured by a huge number of paintings. Lord Burlington was one of 18th-century Britain’s greatest art collectors and his support of designers, artists and musicians earned him the title ‘Apollo of the Arts’, bestowed on him by the historian and writer Horace Walpole. By the early 1890s, Chiswick had largely been cleared of its collections, but from the mid-1950s onwards some pieces have returned. Today the Upper Tribune provides the best example of Burlington’s original picture hang.”

William Kent had a large hand in the interior design, too. Kent designed furniture specially for Chiswick House, most of which featured a scallop shell motif that became his trademark. He was also responsible for the painted ceilings at Chiswick - his splendid ceiling in the Red Velvet Room shows Mercury, representing commerce, directing Abundance (who holds a cornucopia or horn of plenty) to the three visual arts – Architecture, Sculpture and Painting. When the house passed to the 5th Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, it was redecorated in their vision, leaning on elements of Anglo-French, neo-classical style, creating “an impression of lightness and elegance.”

We think it’s a splendid scene for our collection this year and feel very honoured to have been able to shoot there. Well worth a visit next time you’re in West London!

← Older Post Newer Post →

The Ethereal Elegance of Organza

The Ethereal Elegance of Organza

At Favourbrook Womenswear this season, you'll discover a treasure trove of exquisite organza Belgravia coats that captivate the senses and celebrate the essence of femininity.

Read more
New Arrivals: Meet the Randwicks

New Arrivals: Meet the Randwicks

Discover two beautiful new linen suits in our lightweight linen Randwick fabric, the perfect choice for elegant summer occasions.

Read more
SS24 Campaign - Behind The Scenes

SS24 Campaign - Behind The Scenes

Take a behind-the-scenes look at our Spring/Summer 24 campaign shot at the historic Carlton House Terrace in central London.

Read more
The Formal Wedding - the ultimate guide to groom style

The Formal Wedding - the ultimate guide to groom style

Discover all there is to know about dressing immaculately for a formal wedding, whether you are the groom or a guest.

Read more
Welcome To The New Spring/Summer 24 Menswear Collection

Welcome To The New Spring/Summer 24 Menswear Collection

Timeless sartorialism meets modern elegance, as a host of new silhouettes and fabrics reveal a sophisticated seasonal wardrobe for discerning men this summer.

Read more
Meet The New Spring/Summer 24 Womenswear Collection

Meet The New Spring/Summer 24 Womenswear Collection

A delicately feminine tribute to the great floral works of art, the Favourbrook Womenswear Spring/Summer 24 collection features a resplendent array of silk and linen coats...

Read more
Carlton House Terrace - a landmark built on historic foundations

Carlton House Terrace - a landmark built on historic foundations

For Favourbrook's Spring/Summer '24 shoot, we decamped to 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, home of the British Academy, and a building steeped in history...

Read more
Happy New Year! Here's What's In Store For 2024

Happy New Year! Here's What's In Store For 2024

Welcome to the New Year! 2024 promises to be a special year, with some fantastic Favourbrook collections in the wings.

Read more
The Crown Season Six Style Decoded

The Crown Season Six Style Decoded

The final season of The Crown sees a Diana-centric wardrobe come to the fore, with some historically accurate looks together with creatively reimagined ensembles.

Read more
Five Dresses for Festive Entertaining

Five Dresses for Festive Entertaining

Want to be the hostess with the mostess?! We've handpicked five fun dresses that are just perfect for entertaining at home.

Read more
Black and Gold: The Power Couple

Black and Gold: The Power Couple

If there was ever a fail-safe colour pairing that exuded glamour and sophistication, it's black and gold. Chic, flattering, and with more than a hint...

Read more
The Ultimate Festive Velvet Jackets

The Ultimate Festive Velvet Jackets

With end-of-year events and parties coming thick and fast, as well as the prospect of hosting friends and family, there is no better time to...

Read more