Country House Servants

Explore the lives of servants in
country houses across Europe


This network brings together heritage professionals and researchers from a range of disciplines and countries to explore the lives of servants in country houses across Europe.

Servants were central to the functioning of the country house and the lifestyle of the landed elite; yet we know comparatively about how their lives, especially beyond the hours they spent cooking, cleaning, waiting at table or gardening. It is these ‘hidden lives’ that we seek to uncover: an aim has huge potential to inform the understanding and presentation of country houses across Europe and beyond.

More specifically, the aims of the network are to:

  1.  create a better understanding of servants’ lives within country houses across Europe: what were the commonalities and differences in their experiences?
  2. bridge the disciplines of art history, literary studies and history in their focus on servants: what can these different perspectives learn from each other?
  3. build more effective links between scholars and heritage professionals working on servants: how can the presentation of servants’ lives in the country house be enhanced?

The project involves a number of workshops (see News) and a virtual Exhibition, for which we invite contributions (see Contact Us). We are also constructing listing of useful Resources.

(Courtesy of Yale Center for British Art)

(Wikimedia: Creative commons)

(Ó Trustees of the British Museum)