Queen Victoria at Chiswick House

Interview with Esme Whittaker, curator of Chiswick House by Bridget Osborne

September 2016

The Chiswick Book Festival 2016 opened with a session at Chiswick House with A N Wilson, biographer of Queen Victoria, and Daisy Goodwin, screen writer of the hugely popular TV series Victoria. Esme Whittaker, curator of Chiswick House for English Heritage, spoke to Bridget Osborne about Queen Victoria’s association with Chiswick House.

Queen Victoria was a frequent visitor to Chiswick House. She came as a young woman in her twenties and was hugely impressed with the Italian style of the building, the beauty of the gardens and the hospitality of the Duke of Devonshire.

She came back as a middle aged woman when her son the Prince of Wales was living at Chiswick House and there is a picture of her surrounded by her 300 of her family and the great and the good of the time at a garden party hosted by the Prince of Wales. The picture, by Louis William Desanges, was put on display for the opening of the festival.

Painting above: The Royal Garden Party at Chiswick, c.1876-79, Autotype with hand-colouring. Royal Collection Trust