Knole: A Private View into One of Britain’s Great Houses
The Sackvilles have inhabited Knole, one of Britain’s greatest houses, for more than 400 years. In his talk, Robert Sackville-West, the 13th generation of the family to live at Knole, will take Royal Oak members on a personal tour of this “calendar house,” with its legendary 365 rooms, 52 staircases, 12 entrances, and seven courtyards.
Lord Sackville will illustrate the smoldering spirit of Knole, from the state rooms—with the finest collection of 17th c. Royal Stuart furniture in the world and outstanding tapestries—to the private apartments filled with portraits by Van Dyck, Gainsborough, Sir Peter Lely, and Reynolds. He will include a trip behind-the-scenes into the labyrinth of cellars and show attics filled with family mementos. He will describe his ancestors who inhabited his family home—the grave Elizabethan statesman, the good-for-nothing gadabout at the seedy court of James I, the Restoration rake, the 3rd Duke of the ancien régime—who inhabited his family home and were described by Vita Sackville-West (born at Knole) as “a race too prodigal, too amorous, too weak, too indolent, and too melancholy.”
Lord Sackville will talk about the way his family has shaped and furnished the house, and describe how Knole itself has shaped the Sackvilles, influencing their lives and their relationships up to the present day. The stunning images of the interiors were taken by Ashley Hicks for Knole: A Private View of One of Britain’s Great Houses, published by Rizzoli 2022.
Robert Sackville-West, 7th Baron Sackville
Robert Sackville-West, 7th Baron Sackville, studied history at Oxford University and went on to work in publishing. He now chairs Knole Estates, the property and investment company that, in parallel with the National Trust, runs the Sackville family’s interests at Knole. He is a board member of The Royal Oak Foundation.