BY CHARLES EVANS
Syon House, and its 200-acre park, Syon Park, is in west London, historically within the parish of Isleworth, in the county of Middlesex. It belongs to the Duke of Northumberland and is now his family’s London residence.
After the dissolution of the convent on the site, Syon was occupied by Protector Somerset and John Dudley, Duke of Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland, before being granted by James I to Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland, for whom Inigo Jones made alterations.
In 1762, the 1st Duke commissioned Adam to fit up the apartments in a magnificent manner. Their effect derives as much from his brilliant contrasting of shapes and colouring as from their great intrinsic beauty. From the hall, richly Roman in white and black, we enter the superb anteroom glowing with subdued gold and colour in marble, scagliola, and Joseph Rose’s masterly reliefs. In the succeeding dining room, ivory and gold predominate.
Next, the drawing room, illustrated in colour in the frontispiece, is hung with crimson silk. This leads to the exquisite long gallery, originally Jacobean, but redecorated by Adam in pastel shades, with inset paintings, to a design as satisfying in perspective as in detail. Succeeding rooms in the circuit round the former cloister contain the historic collection of Percy family portraits from the Tudor period onwards.