Wilton House lies a short distance from Salisbury Cathedral, it has been the country seat of the Earls of Pembroke for over 450 years,
During the 18th century, James Wyatt, created a new main entrance to Wilton house from the North forecourt through a Triumphal Arch surmounted by an equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius.
A house filled with treasures - statuary from ancient Greece and Rome, world famous paintings, exquisite furniture by Thomas Chippendale and William Kent, painted ceilings by Cavalier D'Arpino, and Thomas de Critz, walls with gilded and painted wooden swags running from floor to ceiling interspersed with mirrors by Chippendale.
A very small section of a swag scanned from my entrance ticket, and three of the many memorable paintings
Sir Anthony van Dyck - Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke with his family
Sir Anthony van Dyck - The three eldest children of Charles l
The first building on the site was a priory founded by King Egbert in 871. It is still possible to see traces of the old abbey inside the house below the ground floor. Wilton Abbey was very prosperous but by the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries it was on the wane. King Henry Vlll presented it and the estates to William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke in 1551. The scion of a distinguished Welsh family he was a favourite of the King.
Only one part of the original great mansion survives today, the central Tudor tower, which bears a strong resemblance to the entrance of Hampton Court.The two wings that replaced the original Tudor building were added during the 17th century and are attributed to Inigo Jones revealing just how much the building has evolved over the years in to what is the accepted customary style of an English country house.
The Palladian Bridge crossing the River Nadder was designed in 1736 by the 9th Earl of Pembroke. He based his bridge on an unexecuted design of Andrea Palladio for the Rialto Bridge in Venice which he then combined with design aspects of a classical Roman temple.
A leafy entrance tunnel leads down to a relatively new creation, the water garden, an Oriental garden area with ponds linked by Chinese style bridges
Primula puverulenta -candelabra primulas - and
Lysichiton americanus - skunk cabbage