Corsham Court was built in 1582 on the site of a medieval royal manor that had, for centuries, been part of the dower of the Queens of England. Paul Methuen, a wealthy clothier and ancestor of the present owner, bought Corsham in 1745. ‘Capability’ Brown’s designs were employed in the house as well as the grounds, and John Nash made further changes. In the 19th century Frederick Methuen, Lord-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria, married Anna Sanford, a young heiress who brought with her a collection of Old Masters, many of which were outstanding and important. Since then the Methuens, though primarily a military family, have shared a love of art, and a commitment to preserving their inheritance. The fourth Lord Methuen studied painting under Walter Sickert and, as a soldier in liberated France, served as Field Marshal Montgomery’s advisor on the preservation of monuments and art. In later years Methuen let a large part of the house to the Bath Academy of Art. The character of the house dates principally from the middle of the 19th century. The staterooms are splendid, as much for their architecture and furnishings as for the paintings they contain. The picture gallery, designed by Brown, is a triple cube, 72 feet in length, with an intricately plastered ceiling and walls of crimson silk that match the Chippendale furniture. Van Dyck’s superb Betrayal of Christ hangs here, together with Rubens’s Wolf Hunt and works of the Italian School. In the elegant dining room are two Reynolds portraits of the children of Paul Methuen. Corsham also possesses an exquisite Annunciation from the studio of Filippo Lippi, a haunting portrait of the ageing Queen Elizabeth I and a sculpture of a sleeping cherub by Michelangelo. The garden has flowering shrubs, herbaceous borders, a Georgian bath house and peacocks.
Facilities – at a glance
- Parking onsite
- Fully accessible
- Facilities: Platform lift, manual wheelchair loan, disabled parking
- Accessible toilets
- Opening Times: Open 20 Mar-Sep, Tue-Thu, Sat-Sun & BHs 2-5.30. Oct-19 Mar open wknds only 2-4.30 (last admission 30mins before closing). Closed Dec. Open throughout year by appointment for groups 15+
Also in the area
About the area
A land shrouded in mystery, myth and legend, Wiltshire evokes images of ancient stone circles, white chalk horses carved into hillsides, crop circles and the forbidden, empty landscape of Salisbury Plain. To many M4 and A303 drivers heading out of London through the clutter of the Thames Valley, Wiltshire is where the landscape opens out and rural England begins.
Wiltshire’s charm lies in the beauty of its countryside. The expansive chalk landscapes of the Marlborough and Pewsey downs and Cranborne Chase inspire a sense of space and freedom, offering miles of uninterrupted views deep into Dorset, Somerset and the Cotswolds. Wiltshire’s thriving market towns and picturesque villages provide worthwhile visits and welcome diversions. Stroll through quaint timbered and thatched villages in the southern Woodford and Avon valleys and explore the historic streets of the stone villages of Lacock, Castle Combe and Sherston. Walk around Salisbury and discover architectural styles from the 13th century to the present and take time to visit the city’s elegant cathedral and fascinating museums. And if all of that isn’t enough, the county is also richly endowed with manor houses, mansions and beautiful gardens.
Places to Stay
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