The Attingham Summer School 2020

July 2-19, 2020

Application Deadline: January 27, 2020

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 69th Attingham Summer School

The 69th Attingham Summer School, an 18-day residential course directed by David Adshead and Tessa Wild, will visit country houses in Sussex, Oxfordshire, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire and Norfolk. From West Dean, our first base, we will study, among other houses and gardens: the complex overlays of Arundel Castle, the ancestral seat of the Dukes of Norfolk; Petworth House, where the patronage of great British artists such as Turner and Flaxman enrich its Baroque interiors; Uppark, a Grand Tour house; Standen, an Arts and Crafts reinterpretation of the country house.

In the Midlands a series of related houses will be examined: Hardwick Hall, unique among Elizabethan houses for its survival of late 16th century decoration and contents; 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 superb collections and landscaped gardens at Boughton House – ‘the English Versailles’; Calke Abbey, with its left ‘as found’ interiors and the crisp neo-Classical Kedleston Hall.

Based in Norwich, the final part of the course will explore the estates and collections of Norfolk, a coastal county of rich contrasts and exceptional houses.  Our itinerary will include Blickling, the fine Jacobean house of Sir Henry Hobart and later of the Earls of Buckingham, renowned for its Long Gallery and superb book collection; Felbrigg Hall, a 17th century house with important Grand Tour collections and mid-18th century interiors by James Paine; Houghton Hall, the great Palladian country seat of Sir Robert Walpole the first ‘Prime Minister’, with its unrivaled work by William Kent and Sheringham Park, a favorite work of Humphry Repton, for which he produced one of his famous Red Books. 

Throughout the course, lectures, seminars and discussions will be held on all aspects of the country house including, conservation and restoration, display and interpretation. Several private houses and collections will also be visited.

Enrollment and Fees

The Summer School is for qualified professionals, established experts, and collectors who can contribute from their professional experience. Applicants are usually employed by a museum, art gallery, auction house, preservation body or equivalent organization, practicing architects, landscape or interior designers concerned primarily with preservation and traditional design, advanced graduate students or post-doctoral researchers whose topics relate to the goals of the course, or teachers of the fine and decorative arts or architecture.

The course fee, which includes the U.S. handling fee, is $5,800. The fee includes tuition, accommodation, most meals, admissions and travel by private coach. Not included in the fee are airfare, guidebooks, most alcoholic beverages, laundry and incidentals. You must arrange for your own health insurance coverage while you are on the course.

Please note when making your application that this is an intensive and physically strenuous course. There is plenty of walking, standing and climbing stairs and your fitness must be of a level that will not impact the enjoyment of the group or take up disproportionate amounts of the organizers’ attention. While the Attingham Trust tries to cater for vegetarian and gluten-free needs, other specialist diets cannot always be accommodated.

Please see below to submit an application. Please email Mary Ellen Whitford () if you have any queries while completing the form.

Candidates will be notified of the Selection Committee’s decision by the first week of April.


In addition to general enrollment, some scholarship assistance is available for qualifying candidates thanks to the generosity of various individuals and charitable organizations.

Any candidate wishing to apply for a scholarship must complete the scholarship application form below. Please follow the instructions on the form to apply for financial assistance.

Application deadline: January 27, 2020

The Attingham Summer School 2020 Application Form and Instructions for US-based Applicants

American Friends of Attingham Scholarship Form