October 20, 2001
Syon House is a Percy Family Home. They are the Dukes of Northumberland. The Percy Lion sits on top of the House, he was origianally on their London Home and the guide told us that after an argument with the King the Duke turned the Lion so that his butt faced the Kings Home. Now his head is toward London.
Syon house was a former convent. It was here that the body of Henry VIII rested on its way to burial at Windsor. Its also here that his body burst and blood dripped out of the casket and was licked by the family dogs, fulfilling a prophesy by a Franciscan monk that dogs would lick his blood.
The Duke was one of Robert Adams' chief patrons and the house is one of his first projects. He remodeled it in 1761 in the Italian Classical Style. It is in the double cube design. There is a bronze statue of a dying Gaul in the Entrance Hall. The Ante Chamber is Rome in the 2nd century. There are 12 real marble pillars and there are 12 statues that were rescued from the Tiber.
The Red Drawing Room has a great collection of Stuart Families Portraits. The British Honeysuckle pattern is repeated throughout the room. There was a very friendly volunteer in this room and he pointed out some of the things that were not on the tour.
The Long Gallery is a remnant of the Tudor Home, it would have been where the ladies took their exercise in inclement weather. There are lots of Percy pictures in this room, one in particular of Hotspur, an early Percy, is interesting. They are trying to repaint this gallery but the volunteers showed us the problems they have had matching the paint without becoming garish.
There are several rooms that have been opened to the public recently because the family was told that they needed to offer more or they would loose their tax break. Lucky for us they needed the break.
There are many more rooms that we visited but 500 words is not enough to describe them all. There is some wonderful painting, Dutch and English. Some very interesting furniture including the bed that Queen Victoria slept in.
There is a nice National Trust gift shop and a cafeteria style restaurant.
Allow several hours.
Open March 14-Oct 31 Wed, Thurs, and Sunday. 11am-5pm
District Line Gunnersbury Line then 237 or 267 Bus.
From journal London- Its a Love Affair