English Heritage is responsible for the care and presentation of an outstanding national collection of fine and decorative art, social history and archaeological artefacts from over 400 historic properties across England. Wrest Park was the home of the de Grey Family from the 13th century until 1917 and was acquired for the nation after World War II. Since 2006, English Heritage has played a more active part in presenting the historic interiors, with new displays in the library, drawing room and countess’s sitting room. There are relatively few paintings on display in the house but English Heritage owns the important series of full-length portraits in the staircase hall. The works were installed here in their matching frames by Thomas, Earl de Grey by about 1839, following the completion of building works to his new house, designed in the French style. The portraits depict Henry Grey, Duke of Kent and his family, with members of the royal family, including Queens Anne and Caroline. They were produced by the foremost portrait painters of the first half of the eighteenth century, including Godfrey Kneller, Jacopo Amigoni, Charles Jervas and John Closterman. The gardens are celebrated for their rare survival of a formal early 18th-century layout of wooded walks and canals centred on the architectural highlight of the pavilion, designed by Thomas Archer in 1709–1711. The present French Revival House was completed in 1839 and acts as a stunning backdrop to the gardens.
English Heritage, Wrest Park
Silsoe, Bedfordshire MK45 4HR England
Please remember to double-check the opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit