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Monday 26th July 2021 to Friday 31st December 2021

Exhibition: Botanical Women

Monday 4th October 2021

Creative Footsteps: Guided Estate Walk

Jane Austen Garden Trail

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24th September 2021

Gothic Programme at Chawton House: When nature strikes back

When the cold blood shoots through every vein;

When every pore upon my shrunken skin

A knotted knoll becomes, and to mine ears

Strange inward sounds awake, and to mine eyes

Rush stranger tears, there is a joy in fear’

Joanna Baillie, Orra: A Tragedy (1812)

From Frankenstein’s monster to The Day of the Triffids; Ann Radcliffe’s wildly sublime literary landscapes to the environmental apocalypse of films such as The Day After Tomorrow; from eighteenth-century Gothic to its modern sci-fi descendants, we have always been preoccupied with the effects of the natural world on humankind – when nature strikes back. As Autumn draws in, join us for dark folklore, plants and plagues: Gothic tours and talks, a new garden trail, atmospheric dining, and a movie night that’ll put a spell on you.



In the House: Friday 8th October-Sunday 31st October

Two brand new three-week displays in the house will share the terrors of our collections. Gothic Landscapes in the Long Gallery explores the icy wastes and craggy mountains, the deep forests and desolate seas that provided the backdrop for Gothic literature. In the Library, we share some of the darkest visions of the collections in Gothic Apocalypse.

In the Garden: Monday 25th-Sunday 31st October

A half-term treat for all the family: enjoy the new ‘Spooky Trail’ in our gardens, featuring wicked witches, peculiar pumpkins and ghostly ghouls.


In the House: Monday 18th October; Wednesday 27th October

6-7.30pm. Take a drink with the ghosts in the Great Hall before exploring Chawton House after dark on one of our guided tours. Learn about both infamous and lesser-known women writers who terrorised a reading public and brought the Gothic to life in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

In the Garden: Tuesday 26th October; Thursday 28th October

6-7.30pm. Stroll through the moonlit grounds on a guided garden tour. Discover the creatures that only emerge at night as we unearth Chawton House’s eerie family history.

Online Talks

Tuesday 19th October

Dr Sam George, ‘Dark Folklore: A journey into the Botanical Gothic’

7-8.30pm. Sam George is Associate Professor in Research and the Convenor of the popular Open Graves, Open Minds Project at the University of Hertfordshire. She is a writer of feature articles on literature and folklore in the national and international press. Her interviews have appeared in newspapers from The Guardian to The Independent and the Wall Street Journal. Her research interests span from women and botany to vampire studies, werewolves, dark fairies, and the gothic. She is the author of Botany, Sexuality and Women’s Writing (2007); In the Kingdom of Shadows; Optics, Dark Folklore and the Gothic in the Literature of the Long Nineteenth Century (forthcoming 2022), and the co- editor of Women and Botany (2011); Representations of Vampires and the Undead from the Enlightenment to the Present Day (2012); In the Company of Wolves: Werewolves, Wolves and Wild Children (2020). She co-edited the first issue of Gothic Studies on ‘Vampires’ with Bill Hughes in 2013 and ‘werewolves and wildness’ followed in 2019. She is currently working on an edited collection on The Legacy of John William Polidori: The Romantic Vampire and its Progeny and researching a book on fairies and the gothic for Bloomsbury. You can follow her on Twitter at @DrSamGeorge1

This pre-recorded online lecture will be followed by a live Q&A on Zoom.

Monday 25th October

Gothic Contagion: A roundtable discussion

7-8.30pm. Join us on Zoom for short presentations and a discussion of ideas of contagion in the eighteenth and nineteenth century:

Michael Brown (University of Roehampton), ‘Foul air and filthy streets: the decline of contagion and the rise of environmentalism in British epidemiology, 1780-1848’

Megen De Bruin-Mole (Winchester School of Art), ‘Embodying Contagion: Monsters and their Metaphors’

Nick Groom (University of Macau), ‘The Vampire and the Virosphere: Seeing the Invisible’

Annika Mann (Arizona State), ‘A Plague of Books: Reading Contagion in the Gothic Novel’


Gothic Supper & Ghostly Tales

Friday 22nd October; Friday 29th October

6-8pm; 7.30-9.30pm. Soak up the atmosphere of Chawton House after dark with an exclusive evening of private dining: a Gothic supper followed by ghostly tales by the fire. 

Movie Night

Hocus Pocus in the Barn

Sunday 31st October

6-8pm; 9-11pm.On the scariest night of the year rediscover the classic Halloween movie 'Hocus Pocus' in the spooky setting of Dyers Barn.

We hope that you enjoy the frights and delights of Gothic Season at Chawton House!


14th September 2021

Programme released for the Creative Footsteps festival!

  Chawton House is taking part in East Hampshire's first ever literary festival! Between 2 and 10 October the area’s first nature and literary festival

4th August 2021

Our New Deputy Director

This August, we welcome Dr Kim Simpson into a new role as Deputy Director. Kim has been the Postdoctoral Fellow at Chawton House since 2016,