Charlecote Park, home of the Lucy family for over 700 years, is where, allegedly, the young William Shakespeare was caught poaching the deer of Sir Thomas Lucy I, who was later caricaturised as Robert Shallow in 'The Merry Wives of Windsor'. A copy of a destroyed Gainsborough portrait of David Garrick with his arm familiarly around the pedestal of a bust of the playwright remains at the house. Following the death of Sir Henry Ramsay-Fairfax, 3rd Bt, who had married Ada Christina Lucy, Charlecote was presented to the National Trust by Sir Montgomerie Fairfax-Lucy, 4th Bt. He was succeeded by his younger brother, Sir Brian Fairfax-Lucy, 5th Bt, whose wife, the Honourable Alice Buchan, daughter of the novelist John Buchan, wrote a history of the house and family. Their son, Sir Edmund Fairfax-Lucy, 6th Bt, a professionally trained painter, still living at Charlecote, has his scintillating pictures of interiors of National Trust houses displayed at Blickling and Belton. The portraits at Charlecote of greatest interest are the pair of ovals on copper by William Larkin, of Sir Thomas Lucy III, and his friend, Edward, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, who saved him from drowning. Also, an unusual group portrait of Sir Thomas Lucy III and his family, which is an inventive copy of a destroyed original by Cornelis Janssens van Ceulen, with its own style in the depiction of the figures and spatial organisation. George Hammond Lucy was the collector of old – particularly Dutch – Masters; but his son Henry Spencer Lucy was forced to sell off the best of them, including, notably, a Ludolf de Jongh, then thought to be by Pieter de Hooch, to Lionel de Rothschild, now at Ascott (National Trust).
National Trust, Charlecote Park
Wellesbourne, Warwick, Warwickshire CV35 9ER England
Please remember to double-check the opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit