decor & travel

Décor | Places: Bowood House, Wiltshire, England


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01-Places | Bowood House-This Is Glamorous

Bowood is a Georgian country house next to the village of Derry Hill, halfway between Calne and Chippenham in Wiltshire, England. Its interiors were decorated by Robert Adam and its gardens by Lancelot “Capability” Brown.

Bowood has a long and winding history, with the first house being built around 1725 on the site of a hunting lodge, by the former tenant Sir Orlando Bridgeman, 2nd Baronet, who had purchased the property from the Crown. Bridgeman would fall on hard times, and in 1739 under a Chancery decree, the house and park were acquired by his principal creditor Richard Long. John Petty Fitzmaurice, 1st Earl of Shelburne (1706–1761), purchased Bowood Estate in 1754 and his descendants have lived here ever since. The changing fortunes of the family, through difficult and better times, are reflected in the evolution of the house and gardens.

Bowood is now the home of Charles Maurice and Fiona, 9th Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne. The family moved back into the house in 1972 where William, the youngest of their four children, was born. Both William and Arabella, the eldest, were married in the chapel. In 1987, Fiona, who was trained at Colefax and Fowler, began redecorating much of the house, infusing it with her quintessential English country style. There is chintz and canopy beds, and a main powder room that even features a chintz-covered free-standing bathtub. For the first time in its long history, the house has been permanently lived in, and today, it also functions as a golf course, hotel & spa and gardens.


Photography by Simon Upton for House & Garden

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  • It’s very pretty, but it’s really at the far end of the modern-traditional continuum. I would want to brighten up those brown chairs, for example. The wallpaper/curtains combos seem a little old-fashioned. One or the other is fine, but both together is a lot of pattern.

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