My fascination with all things English was renewed last night as I watched Holly Holden’s “You Are Cordially Invited” PBS tours of Highclere Castle and Blenheim Palace. (The must-see tours are now available on DVD!!!) Another magnificent English country estate is Bowood House, located in Wiltshire… House & Garden published an extensive tour in 2016, and I thought it would be fun to revisit.
Bowood House was commissioned in 1762 by William Petty, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne, and the 2,000-acre landscape was designed by Capability Brown, known as England’s greatest gardener. (Brown also designed the spectacular grounds of Blenheim Palace, which you can see in Holly’s tour.) In the 1950s, the legendary John Fowler designed several of Bowood’s rooms, and his masterful touch remains intact. Today, Bowood House is the home of Fiona and Charlie Lansdowne who opened the grounds and the Adam wing to the public in 1975. Serendipitously, Fiona trained at Colefax & Fowler, later establishing her interior design company under the name Fiona Shelburne. In 1987, she redecorated much of Bowood working in synergy with the rooms Fowler designed for Charlie’s mother Barbara in the Fifties. The result is a quintessential 18th century English country house, created by the taste and vision of generations past and now beautifully adapted to the needs of the 21st century…
Photography by Simon Upton and writing by Virginia Fraser for House & Garden.
Additional information on Bowood House can be found here and here. I also highly recommend this book on John Fowler, who you may recall was the mentor of Mario Buatta. The legendary Buatta forever changed the course of American interior design when he brought English country style design across the pond. And for tours of two more spectacular English country estates, you won’t want to miss Holly Holden’s “You Are Cordially Invited” PBS exclusive.