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Knole

Knole has been the home of the Sackville family since 1603 when the building was substantially changed for Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset. The house has remained more or less unaltered since that time and is a superb example of late medieval architecture, overlaid with Renaissance embellishment. In spite of its massive scale and labyrinthine grandeur, Knole stands apart from the other great ‘prodigy houses’ of the period in that Sackville chose to retain his medieval house and to adapt it to the needs of a Jacobean courtier. As a result, Knole has little of the height and symmetry which typify its contemporaries. But what it loses in external grandiosity is more than compensated for by the force and splendour of its interiors. These include a geometrical patterned ceiling and an arcaded plasterwork frieze, both of which were executed in 1607-8 by the King’s Plasterer, Richard Dungan.

Visitor Information

Address:
Sevenoaks,
Kent,
England,
TN15 0RP

Telephone: 01732 462100

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/knole

Accredited Museum

Knole, Kent (Accredited Museum)

This collection has 1,875 items online

Knole is one of Britain’s most important and complete historic homes – with a colourful past as an Archbishop’s palace, the former hunting ground of Henry VIII, the home of the Sackville family for 400 years and a source of literary inspiration for Virginia Woolf. A massive five-year project to repair the buildings and conserve the collection is now underway, generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, grants and donations from members of the public. From 2015 the 'Inspired by Knole' project will also enable visitors to see experts at work in the new Knole Studios, conserving Knole's treasures. Within Knole's internationally important collection are paintings by Reynolds, Gainsborough, Lely and Kneller; dazzling 17th-century state furniture, including three state beds and a set of silver furniture, one of only three major sets to survive in England; and the original manuscript of Virginia Woolf's 'Orlando', inscribed by her to Vita Sackville-West, and presented in turn to the Trust by her son Nigel Nicolson (1917-2004).

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