Knole: A Private View of One of Britain's Great Houses
Author Robert Sackville-west, Photographs by Ashley Hicks
The Sackvilles have inhabited Knole, one of Britain’s greatest houses, for more than four hundred years. Robert Sackville-West, the thirteenth generation of the family, takes the reader on a personal tour of this “calendar house,” with its legendary 365 rooms, fifty-two staircases, and seven courtyards.
Sumptuous photographs by designer Ashley Hicks—who recently photographed the interiors of Buckingham Palace—capture the smoldering spirit of Knole, from the state rooms, which house possibly the finest collection of royal Stuart furniture in the world, to the private apartments and gardens to the behind-the-scenes labyrinth of cellars and attics.
Knole provides a window onto English history. The characters who populate the pages—the grave Elizabethan statesman, the good-for-nothing gadabout at the seedy court of James I, the dashing cavalier, the Restoration rake, the 3rd Duke of the ancien régime—are all representative of their eras (members of a family described by Vita Sackville-West as “a race too prodigal, too amorous, too weak, too indolent, and too melancholy”). Vita's own disinheritance from Knole prompted her dear friend Virginia Woolf to pen Orlando, furthering the place’s fame and glamorous luster.
Similarly, the architectural and decorative features of the house illustrate the different tastes of successive ages, from Thomas Sackville’s seventeenth-century makeover of a ramshackle medieval mansion to an early twentieth-century suite of rooms designed in the Bloomsbury style. Knole has never been illuminated in this way before.
About The Author
Robert Sackville-West, 7th Baron Sackville, studied history at Oxford University and went on to work in publishing. He now chairs Knole Estates, the property and investment company that, in parallel with the National Trust, runs the Sackville family’s interests at Knole. Ashley Hicks is a British author, architect, interior and furniture designer, and photographer.