May 06, 2009

Soane Heale Garden and Wilton House

Angela Akehurst of Soane & Partners organised our trip to Heale Garden and Wilton House. I had visited Heale
Garden on another trip but was keen to tour Wilton House.

Wilton House has been used in films including "Pride and Prejudice" and "Young Victoria." Hudsons claims Wilton House contains one of the finest art collections in Europe (unfortunately, no interior photos allowed). The oil paintings of the new Earl of Pembroke were especially fine but every volunteer (ticket seller, home tour guide) mentioned that the Earl just got engaged to a Victoria from Scotland.

Angela's summary: "Wilton House, the home of the Earl of Pembroke, is filled with art treasures, and stands in 21 acres of gardens and parkland. Inigo Jones’ Double Cube Room is one of the finest C17 state rooms in England, and was designed to display family portraits by Sir Anthony Van Dyck, none of which were shown in the Tate exhibition. During World War II this room was the top-secret Operations Room for Southern Command, and it was here that the logistical support for the D-Day landings in 1944 was planned. The house was associated with the literary circle surrounding Mary Sidney, including Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Johnson, John Donne and Sir Philip Sidney. Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ was first performed here."

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