Thursday, 30 August 2012


Hi all, Samuel the spaniel here! As it’s raining today I thought  I’d let you know about the Treasure Chests located inside the house, they're especially for children (but I’ve seen lots of ‘big kids’ having a go too). There are six chests and each is filled with a fun activity, for example in the Red Room you can design your own miniature room, complete with chairs, tables, a piano and even paintings to hang on the walls! I think this one is my favourite. 

Another popular chest (or in this case wardrobe) is in the North Gallery. Specially made costumes inspired by some of the portraits in the gallery hang in the wardrobe, children are invited to dress up then find themselves in a painting. Once found children can then pose for pictures next to their masterpiece counterparts. Why not send the pictures to us and we’ll put them on the blog?

I’ve only given you a sneak preview into two of the boxes, there are still four more ‘OPEN ME’ treasure chests waiting in the house, come and have a look for yourself Saturday-Wednesday!  

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Nasty Nibblers

If you peer under furniture and into corners at Petworth House, you might spot some green plastic boxes. These are our insect traps, designed to catch creepy crawlies as they move around the edges of rooms munching on our collection. Welcome to the wonderful world of pest management and conservation at Petworth House…

An insect trap tucked away in the bedroom corridor upstairs

The pest traps have a sticky pad in them which the bugs get stuck on, and we use these to record insect numbers and monitor for infestations. We have 89 traps spread throughout 34 rooms, including the showrooms, servants’ quarters and store rooms. During the winter when the house is freezing the traps only get checked every few months, but at this time of year the insects are much more active and the traps are checked every few weeks!

A close-up of one of the insect traps in the Little Dining Room

The information we collect gets entered onto a spreadsheet and sent off to our conservators. This is then used to build up a pattern of insect activity over time – not only at Petworth House but across the country, as other properties participate too.

As with many properties we get a large variety of insect pests at Petworth House, including clothes moths, various species of carpet beetles, booklice, silverfish, and even one or two of the dreaded death watch beetle - named after the ticking sound they make!

Although this insect trap predominately contains case-bearing clothes moths, there is also a woolly bear (carpet beetle larva) and a black ground beetle in the top left corner

If you fancy getting up close and personal with some of Petworth House’s bugs, we are having a ‘Nasty Nibblers’ event on Tuesday 21st August. There are samples of the insects we find here and the materials they’ve munched on, and even a pest quiz for you to have a go at!

Conservation Assistant

Monday, 13 August 2012

A group of Gromits!

We had great fun last Wednesday making Gromits with the help of Jim Parkyn from Aardman. Here’s a shot of the Gromits in progress… 

And here are some of the finished Gromits, Jim’s excellent one is in the middle but I think the others look pretty good too! If you’d like to come and make your own, there are still spaces left on the last two workshops with Jim this Wednesday 15th August. See our website for all the details.

As well as Gromit making, come along tomorrow to make a puppet and then help us put on a Petworth puppet show. I can’t wait; someone definitely needs to make a Samuel the spainel puppet for me.  

Monday, 6 August 2012

Open Air Opera

On Friday and Saturday evening we were treated to two fantastic Open Air Opera performances by Opera Brava. Despite a whole week spent practising my very best spaniel howl, I wasn’t deemed good enough to join them, so I took the role of chief photographer instead!

Here’s Saturday’s performance of Madame Butterfly taking place in the Pleasure Grounds

It was such a nice evening that during the interval I trotted off to take some pictures of the sunset in the park… 

…and by the house. Finally some blue sky!