Winter tours to take visitors behind the scenes at Petworth House

Room guide at Petworth Park
Room guide at Petworth Park

Visitors will be able to see what goes on behind closed doors at Petworth House and Park this winter.

For the first time, visitors will be able to see aspects of the mansion in a whole new light as the House and Collections team carry out vital conservation work to the interiors and collection. Over the winter months when the days are darker the team carry out important checks to the interiors of Petworth and follow up on any conservation work in a season of lower natural light. The temperature within the mansion is also kept to a minimum to protect the art collection.

Mists around Petworth House

Mists around Petworth House

Janet Sinclair, house and collections manager, said: “In a mansion as large as Petworth, deep cleaning often involves using scaffolding to reach the highest corners, or even to just change a light bulb. Some of our statues take on the look of ghosts as we cover them in white sheeting for the winter to protect them from dust. Carpets are rolled away and the fragile and heavy historic curtain drapes are ‘rested‘ by lowering them once a year so that we can inspect for any unwelcome visitors! As you can imagine, there will be plenty for visitors to see.”

The Historic Kitchen will also be open for the first time for visitors to discover information about the care that goes on behind the scenes for the Petworth collection, cleaning techniques past and present, and on selected dates visitors will be able to see conservation in action with the House Team.

Janet said: “The team love getting ‘up close and personal’ with the collection and this is a great way for our visitors to be part of that process. The Winter Mansion Tours at Petworth will give an insight as never before into the key conservation work that normally goes on behind closed doors over the winter period, and show what the funding raised from National Trust memberships and gift aid on admission tickets helps us preserve for future generations.”

The Winter Mansion Tours, led by a knowledgeable guide, highlight aspects of the art collection, will reveal ‘behind the scenes’ secrets, and the work that goes into conserving the mansion and collection of nearly 6,000 treasures.

Conservation staff cleaning a vase at Petworth House

Conservation staff cleaning a vase at Petworth House

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Winter sunsets at Petworth Park

Winter sunsets at Petworth Park

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