Attingham Summer School

29th June – 16th July 2017

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 66th Attingham Summer School

Over the course of 18 days, the 66th Attingham Summer School will visit country houses in Sussex, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Oxfordshire. The Summer School begins in Sussex, where it is based in the beautiful surroundings of WEST DEAN, latterly the home of the great Surrealist collector, Edward James, and now an educational trust, containing tapestries, furniture and Surrealist paintings. During the first week the School will visit a number of properties nearby, including ARUNDEL CASTLE, the home of the Dukes of Norfolk for over 700 years and PARHAM HOUSE, a magical 16th century hall house which contains a very personal collection of fine portraits, tapestries and furniture.   A whole day at PETWORTH HOUSE combines the Baroque magnificence of the 17th century with a picturesque landscape and 18th and 19th century patronage of great British artists notably Turner and Flaxman. A visit to UPPARK provides an opportunity to consider restoration and conservation in situ, following the disastrous fire of 1989. All the visits are supplemented by a programme of carefully chosen lectures delivered by the directors of the Summer School and other specialists.

We head north to properties in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. HARDWICK HALL contains magnificent plasterwork and one of the most important collections of 16th and 17th century textiles and furniture. Members will enjoy unparalleled access at CHATSWORTH, including seminars on the collections of the Dukes of Devonshire from the 16th century to the present day, as well as discussing methods of presentation and interpretation. Other highlights include CALKE ABBEY, for study of an untouched 19th century interior, and a chance to see the magnificent Neo-Classical work of Robert Adam at KEDLESTON HALL.

Finally the School will travel south west to its third base, the ancient university town of Oxford. Oxfordshire is particularly rich in early 18th century houses, the most magnificent of which is BLENHEIM PALACE. A Baroque extravaganza designed by Sir John Vanbrugh and set in a vast designed landscape, it was the nation’s gift to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, and its collections include a series of Flemish tapestries depicting his victorious battles. STOWE HOUSE, now a school, is likewise on a palatial scale and its chief glories are its landscape gardens, rich with garden buildings and complex political iconography. The tall, compact, early 16th century CHASTLETON HOUSE, built by the lawyer Walter Jones, provides a stark contrast in scale and character, as does KELMSCOTT MANOR, the rural, medieval retreat of the Victorian polymath William Morris whose ideas continue to resonate across the world. The Faringdon Collection at BUSCOT PARK, an elegant late 18th century house, includes pictures ranging from old masters to works by the Pre-Raphaelites. We also propose to visit the 21st century opera house at Garsington, in the grounds of the Getty family house WORMSLEY PARK.

Enrolment and Course Fees

The cost of the 18-day residential course is £3,670 and includes 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. The course will disperse in Oxford on 16th July.

Applications from the United States
A downloadable PDF form is available here and from the American Friends of Attingham website. For any assistance please contact Cynthia Drayton, 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 by following the link at the bottom of this page. For any assistance please contact: Rita Grudzień, The Attingham Trust, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ. Email:; Tel: +44 (0) 20 7253 9057.

To qualify for a scholarship

Several scholarships are offered to candidates on the 2017 Summer School in addition to general enrolment.

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. They are asked to supply a statement of financial need with their applications.

Candidates, other than those from the USA, awarded a full 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 charitable trust.

Closing dates for applications

The closing date is 27th January 2017. Completed forms must include a statement of how attendance at the Attingham Summer School may benefit the applicant’s career, together with a professional reference in support of the application, and a statement of financial need if scholarship assistance is requested.

All applicants will be notified by mid March whether they have been accepted.

The balance of the fee is due without further notice by 30th April 2017. Participants are strongly advised to insure against cancellation as no refunds will be made once a place has been confirmed.

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 2016. Should this prove necessary, members will be informed by 1st April 2017.

John Lewis, OBE

Annabel Westman, FSA

David Adshead, FSA
Elizabeth Jamieson, MA

Rita Grudzień

Professor Sheila ffolliott

Cynthia Drayton