'Penshurst Place and Leicester House'

West, Susie (2015). 'Penshurst Place and Leicester House'. In: Hannay, Margaret P.; Brennan, Michael G. and Lamb, Mary Ellen eds. The Ashgate Research Companion to The Sidneys, 1500-1700. Ashgate Research Companions, 1. Farnham: Ashgate, pp. 281–296.

URL: http://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&title...


The period of Sidney ownership of Penshurst Place, Kent, and their architectural reshaping of the medieval great house are traced from 1552 to c. 1700, and their creation of a major London house, Leicester House, from the 1630s. Penshurst Place has been celebrated as a literary and historical site, here it is presented as a great medieval fortified residence adapted for early modern living and the rising social status of the Sidneys. Leicester House is shown to represent advanced architectural design, and a significant role for Dorothy Sidney, already a noted collector. Together, these two principal residences offer the basis for stronger readings of the cultural significance of the Sidney family. The chapter concludes with a consideration of the material world of the Sidneys, arguing that a multidisciplinary approach to the arts offers greater possibilities for viewing the early modern environment. Directions in research using Penshurst Place are traceable as two broad strands, distinguished by a primary interest in the physical or the textual. Both strands have the potential to converge on the theme of the fashioning of the self in the early modern period, but there is arguably more ground work to be done on the material aspects of the Sidneys.

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