The Attingham Summer School 2018

12th – 29th July 2018

This Course is now fully subscribed.
For information on the 2019 Summer School, please check the Courses page of this website in mid October.

Since its foundation in 1952, THE ATTINGHAM SUMMER SCHOOL has enjoyed outstanding success and is highly regarded by museums, universities and historic preservation societies throughout the world for its careful selection of members, and sustained academic standards.

The School has three main purposes:

To EXAMINE the architectural and social history of the historic house in Britain and its gardens and landscape setting.

To STUDY the contents of these buildings – their paintings, sculpture, furniture, ceramics, silver, textiles and other applied arts – as well as the planning, decorative treatment and use of the interiors.

To STIMULATE debate on problems relating to the conservation and presentation of the country house and its contents.

The 67th Attingham Summer School

Over the course of 18 days, the 67th Attingham Summer School will visit country houses in Sussex, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, County Durham and Northumberland. WEST DEAN, Sussex, latterly the home of the great Surrealist collector Edward James and now an educational trust, provides the inspiring setting for our first base where the themes of the course will be introduced and developed through visits to properties nearby. Amongst other houses and gardens, we will study: the complex overlays of ARUNDEL CASTLE, the ancestral seat of the Dukes of Norfolk for more then 700 years; the glories of PETWORTH HOUSE, where the patronage of great British artists such as Turner and Flaxman enrich its Baroque interiors; UPPARK, a Grand Tour house, which suffered a disastrous fire in 1989; and STANDEN, an Arts and Crafts reinterpretation of the country house.

Moving north to the Midlands, we will examine via a series of seminars three related houses: HARDWICK HALL, unique amongst Elizabethan houses for its survival of late 16th century decoration and contents, notably textiles and furniture: BOLSOVER CASTLE, a Jacobean masque setting frozen in stone; and CHATSWORTH, where the collections and gardens of the Dukes of Devonshire span more than four centuries. Other highlights include the startling contrast between CALKE ABBEY, with its left ‘as found’ interiors, and the crisp neo-Classical KEDLESTON HALL, the work of the architect, Robert Adam.

From the final base in Darlington, a market town in Country Durham, we travel into Northumberland. The turbulent histories of both counties mean that they are particularly rich in defensible houses – castles, adapted and modernised by subsequent generations. ALNWICK CASTLE has for centuries been the border stronghold of the Percy family and is one of the country’s great treasure houses, while CRAGSIDE, the house of a late 19th century industrialist commanding a spectacular landscape, was the first country house to be lit by electricity. BISHOP AUCKLAND CASTLE currently undergoing renovation illustrates the history and artistic patronage of the Prince Bishops of Durham, while RABY CASTLE contains important contents amassed over many generations. A study day focussing on its extensive British and European fine and decorative arts collections is planned at the BOWES MUSEUM.

Throughout the course, lectures and seminars will be held, and discussion stimulated on all aspects of the country house including, conservation and restoration, display and interpretation. A number of private houses and collections will be visited details of which will be available in due course. 

John Lewis, OBE
Annabel Westman, FSA
David Adshead, FSA
Tessa Wild
Lorna Gartside
Professor Sheila ffolliott, FSA
Mary Ellen Whitford

Enrolment and Course Fees

The cost of the 18-day residential course is £3,750 and will include tuition, most meals, accommodation, admission to houses and travel by private coach. Not included is the cost of drinks, laundry, guide books and membership of the National Trust/Royal Oak Foundation. Scholarships are available to candidates unable to pay the full fee personally or whose organisation cannot support them in full (For applicants from Australia seeking scholarships, please refer to before 30th November, 2017.)

Completed applications must be returned by 26th January, 2018 and will include a statement of how attendance on The Attingham Summer School may benefit the candidate’s career, together with a professional reference. Please email if you have any queries when completing the form.


In addition to general enrolment several scholarships are available for candidates on the 2018 Summer School.

To qualify for a scholarship, applicants should be in full-time employment in a museum or art gallery, or with a conservation body, or equivalent organisation. Alternatively they should be practising architects concerned primarily with conservation, or be post-doctoral researchers with a specialism in the country house and collections, or be teachers of the fine and decorative arts.

The scholarship funding available is thanks to the generous support of various individuals and charitable foundations. Since this amount is limited, applicants who are unable to meet the fees are encouraged to approach their institutions for full or partial financial assistance before applying for the course. Any candidate wishing to apply for a scholarship must complete the scholarship application at the end of the form and provide details of his/her current salary.

Candidates, other than those from the USA, awarded a scholarship either wholly from The Attingham Trust, or in combination with their institution or a separate funding body, are required to make a personal contribution of £200 to support the work of the Attingham Educational Charitable Trust.

The Council of The Attingham Trust reserves the right to adjust fees if there is a substantial change in the exchange rate, as these were assessed on the basis of assumptions made in September 2017. Should this prove to be necessary, members will be informed by 1st April 2018.

To Apply

Applicants should be in full-time employment in a museum or art gallery, conservation body or equivalent organisation, practising architects concerned primarily with conservation, or be post-doctoral researchers with a specialism in the country house and collections, or teachers of the fine and decorative arts or architecture.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application during the second week of March, 2018. To secure a place on the Summer School, successful applicants are asked to make an initial deposit of £350.00 (where applicable) with the balance of the full fees payable by 30th April, 2018. Participants are strongly advised to insure against cancellation as refunds will not be payable once a place on the programme has been confirmed.

Please note when making your application that this is an intensive and physically strenuous course. Whilst we are happy to cater for vegetarian needs, other specialist diets cannot always be accommodated.

Applications from the United States
The cost of the course in USD is $5,330, plus the US handling fee of $150. A downloadable PDF form is now available from the American Friends of Attingham website. For any assistance please contact Mary Ellen Whitford, American Friends of Attingham, 205 Lexington Avenue, Suite 1600, New York, NY 10016, USA. Email:; Tel: 001 (212) 682 6840

Applications from Britain, Europe and all other countries
Applications can be made online immediately below. For any assistance please contact Lorna Gartside, The Attingham Trust, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ. Email:; Tel: +44 (0) 20 7253 9057