National Trust, Shugborough Hall

Image credit: National Trust Images/Nick Meers

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Shugborough, surrendered to HM Treasury in part-payment of death duties on the estate of Thomas (1883–1960), 4th Earl of Lichfield, transferred to the National Trust and managed by Staffordshire County Council, was most recently occupied by the well known society photographer, Patrick Lichfield (1939–2005), the 5th Earl. It had been lavishly expanded on by Thomas Anson (1695–1773), as seen in Nicholas Dall’s views of 1768–1775, enabled by the successful naval career of his younger brother, George, Admiral Lord Anson (1697–1762), immortalised by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Thomas, who had made the Grand Tour in 1724–1725, and became a founder-member of the Society of Dilettanti (1732), introduced huge inset architectural capriccios of the Bolognese School into the Dining Room, was able to buy a substantial collection of Old Master paintings and antique sculpture, and stud the park with a whole variety of classical structures after his brother’s death. Much had to be sold off though in 1842, after the sporting extravagances of Thomas (1795–1854), 1st Earl of Lichfield, with notable exceptions remaining, including ‘The Immaculate Conception‘ (1731) by Miguel Jacinto Meléndez and a curiously doctored version of Honthorsts’s 'The Angel Appearing to Saint Peter'.

Milford, near Stafford, Staffordshire ST17 0XB England

01889 881388

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