Goodwood House summer exhibition ‘Nature Revisited’

Credit: Clive Boursnell

Credit: Clive Boursnell - Credit: Archant

Several generations of Dukes of Richmond have been interested in natural history and the summer exhibition will tell the story of their passion for the natural world.


- Credit: Archant

The second Duke of Richmond had a menagerie at Goodwood where he kept a lioness, tigers, bears, monkeys, eagles and ostriches. A statue of a lioness standing at the top of the garden commemorates one of his animals. His wife, the Duchess of Richmond, collected shells from Jamaica and Barbados that were later incorporated into the jewel-like Shell House.

The second Duke loved gardening and was a subscriber to Mark Catesby’s Natural History of Carolina, one of the most influential gardening books of the eighteenth century, a copy of which is in the Goodwood library. George Edwards dedicated the French edition of his publication A Natural History of Uncommon Birds to the Duke and Duchess and included some of the Duke’s birds in it. Edwards’ books were taken to Paris by the third Duke of Richmond when he was ambassador and artists from the Sèvres porcelain factory copied the birds onto the celebrated coffee, tea and desert service that the Duke commissioned.

The second Duke of Richmond planted many trees at Goodwood such as the cork oaks near the house. A magnificent Magnolia Grandiflora standing by the Orangery may well have been planted by him. Like his father, the third Duke loved planting trees. In 1761, he planted 1,000 Cedars of Lebanon and Goodwood became famous for its cedars, especially in the nineteenth century. A handful of magnificent cedars survive to this day and are one of the glories of Goodwood.

The summer exhibition will offer a rare opportunity to view some of these books and see at first hand some of the trees planted over 250 years ago in a guided tour, taking in the stone lioness in the private gardens.

‘Nature Revisited’ at Goodwood House is open from 4th August - 13th October 2014 (Sundays to Thursdays in August; Sundays and Mondays in September and October.

See website for occasional closures and opening hours).