The John Cornforth Memorial Lecture Series 2024

7 February 2024 @ 6:30pm GMT - 16 April 2024 @ 8pm GMT | London

$10 - $40
Event Closed
The John Cornforth Memorial Lecture Series 2024
About this event

The John Cornforth Memorial Lectures tell the story of the country house and its estate, as seen through the eyes of the private owner. Proudly presented in association with Christie’s, the lecture series celebrates John Cornforth’s invaluable contribution to architectural history. This year, the proceeds of the lectures will be donated to the the National Trust.  


John Cornforth (1937–2004) was one of the best known architectural historians of his day and a leading authority on the English country house. Author of numerous books and more than 800 articles in Country Life, where for many years he was Architectural Editor, he shared his time and knowledge with country house owners and the National Trust as well as encouraging and mentoring young curators and architectural historians.




Lady Caroline Percy on Syon Park, London

7 February 2024 | Christie’s London and Online

Syon is one of the last great historic houses of London and holds a wealth of art within its spectacular neo classical interiors, decorated by Robert Adam. The park and gardens, designed by Capability Brown, feel like deep countryside, while barely 9 miles from Charing Cross.

Syon is the London home of the Dukes of Northumberland and has been in the Percy family for almost 350 years. The house was built on the site of a former Abbey and, since its medieval origins, has played a significant role in English history over the centuries.

The interiors and park are open to the public and are available for filming, weddings and events.

Sarah Callander Beckett on Combermere Abbey, Cheshire

13 March 2024 | Christie’s London and Online

Established in 1133 as a Cistercian monastery, Combermere Abbey has a fascinating and complex 890-year-old history. Since the Dissolution in 1538, it has only been owned by two families: the Combermeres and the Crossleys. In 1820, the early Tudor residence was dramatically altered to reflect the then-popular Gothic style, with the landscape designer William Eames significantly changing the park. After a severe decline in the Combermere family's fortunes, the abbey was sold to Sir Kenneth Crossley — the current owner's great-grandfather. On inheriting the estate in 1992, Sarah Callander Beckett embarked on a 30-year restoration programme, saving the building from decay and transforming it into a thriving hospitality and events venue.

The Hon James and Lady Cara Willoughby on Birdsall House, North Yorkshire

16 April 2024 | Christie’s London and Online

Birdsall House has been the home of the Willoughby family since 1729. The first Birdsall House was built circa 1540 and was redeveloped into the existing Georgian style in the 18th and 19th centuries. The original Tudor house was converted into a much grander Georgian style house, with a new wing added in 1775 which gave the family new State Rooms; the Oval Room and the Ballroom. The Willoughby family originally came from Nottinghamshire and built Wollaton Hall where they lived for 450 years until it was sold after World War I.

The family currently offers an ever-increasing range of activities and opportunities at the Estate for visitors to enjoy.


Doors open: 6:30pm GMT

Reception: 6:30pm  7pm GMT

Lecture: 7pm  8pm GMT



How can I contact the organiser with any questions?

If you have any queries about the lecture series then please contact:


What is the refund policy?

There are no refunds unless the lecture is cancelled in which case refunds will be issued or you may wish to leave your ticket as a donation to the National Trust, the charity chosen by the John Cornforth Memorial Trust to receive the proceeds from this year's lecture series. In the event of a lecture being cancelled or postponed, we will contact you directly.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

No, your name will be on a guest list on the evening and we look forward to seeing you then.


Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn't match the person who attends?

Yes, please just make sure you have the lead guest's name when you check in on the evening.


For more information about how Christie’s processes your data, please see our Privacy Notice at

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7 February 2024 @ 6:30pm GMT - 16 April 2024 @ 8pm GMT | London
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