Friday, August 17, 2018

Cool 19th Century Places to Visit: Osterley Park

Full disclosure: the list of “places Regina wants to visit next time she goes to England” only gets longer with each Regency I write. When I was researching for Never Envy an Earl, I wanted Gregory, the hero, to have a wonderful country estate, which he helped design. That’s when I stumbled upon the perfect model: Osterley Park.

Osterley Park is an estate to the west of London. It was built (okay, remodeled) for the Child family, which founded Child’s Bank, by the incomparable Robert Adam. Now, you may have seen a ceiling here, a room there designed by this amazing architect, but the entire house was his canvas in this case, and it shows.

While dubbed a Georgian structure (it was finished in the late 1700s), the turrets at each corner remind me of a castle. I love the entrance, up a set of broad steps and through ionic columns into a central courtyard.

Inside, the rooms are all richly decorated, with fanciful plasterwork, old masters framed with yards of gilt, tapestry on wall and chair, and so much gold!

The Childs didn’t enjoy the house long before it passed into the hands of a granddaughter who married George Villiers, fifth earl of Jersey. His wife would become the famous Lady Jersey, a doyen of society and one of the patronesses of Almack’s.

Osterley Park is currently operated by the National Trust. It can be reached easily by bus, train, or underground. Learn more at the park's website.  

Photo credit for Osterley Park in spring: Mark Percy

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