Attingham Summer School

30th June – 17th July 2016

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 65th Attingham Summer School

Over the course of 18 days, the 65th Attingham Summer School will visit country houses in Sussex, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire. 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, via the ancient seat of Lord and Lady Saye and Sele at BROUGHTON CASTLE , 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 two days of 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 on to Yorkshire, a single county especially rich in historic houses. We plan to focus on a number of houses still in private ownership, which also retain their important historic collections, notably John Vanbrugh’s CASTLE HOWARD, HAREWOOD HOUSE and NEWBY HALL. The latter was built by Sir Christopher Wren and contains a large domed Sculpture Gallery designed by Robert Adam to house the purchases brought back by the Grand Tourist William Weddell, an ancestor of the present owners. Newby is also notable for its outstanding furniture byThomas Chippendale and its Gobelins tapestries. We also propose to visit BURTON CONSTABLE and its neighbour BURTON AGNES, both in the East Riding of Yorkshire where we shall be based. The former is an Elizabethan house incorporating remains of an earlier manor house and notable for its architectural additions by Robert Adam and James Wyatt, as well as stuccowork, Chinese wallpaper and a cabinet of curiosities collected in the eighteenth century by William Constable, arguably the most notable to survive in a country house setting.

Enrolment and Course Fees

The cost of the 18-day residential course is £3,470 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 York on 17th July.

Applications from the United States
Forms are available from the website or from Cynthia Drayton, 205 Lexington Avenue, Suite 1600, New York, NY 10016, USA. Email: The cost for general enrolment, which includes the US handling fee, is $6,050.

Applications from Britain, Europe and all other countries
Forms are available from the website or from Rebecca Parker, The Attingham Trust, 70 Cowcross Street, London, EC1M 6EJ. E-mail:

To qualify for a scholarship

Several scholarships are offered to candidates on the 2016 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 31st January 2016. Completed forms must be accompanied by a statement of how attendance at the Attingham Summer School may benefit the applicant’s career, together with letters of reference in support of the application, and a statement of financial need if scholarship assistance is required.

All applicants will be notified by mid-March whether they have been accepted.To secure their places, course members should make an immediate deposit of $500/£350 (where applicable).

The balance of the fee is due without further notice by 30th April 2016. 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 2015. Should this prove necessary, members will be informed by 1st April 2016.

John Lewis, OBE

Annabel Westman, FSA

Elizabeth Jamieson, MA
Andrew Moore, Ph.D, FSA

Rita Grudzień

Professor Sheila ffolliott

Cynthia Drayton


Applicants from all countries except the United States – download PDF Application Form

US Applicants – download PDF Application Form

( PDF FILES – to open this file you will need Adobe Reader, click here to download the latest version )