Chiswick House was built between 1727 and 1729 by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, who was a gentleman-architect and one of Britain’s greatest patrons and art collectors. He looked to the buildings of Ancient Rome and the designs of the sixteenth-century Italian architect Andrea Palladio (1508–1580) for inspiration and created a pioneering example of Neo-Palladian architecture.
Known as the ‘Apollo of the arts’, Burlington filled his villa by the Thames with late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italian paintings, family portraits and painted views of the house and garden commissioned from contemporary artists. Many of these paintings can still be seen today, alongside complementary works, within the richly ornamented and gilded interiors. The interiors of Chiswick House are decorated with ceiling paintings and furniture designed by the architect William Kent (1685–1748).
The collection includes a striking equestrian portrait of ‘The Moroccan Ambassador’ by Godfrey Kneller (1646–1723) and Jan Wyck (1645–1700); a portrait of Inigo Jones by William Dobson (1611–1646) and early copies of paintings by Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641) and Guido Reni (1575–1642).