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Osterley Park in Amazing Grace

Date posted: 01.03.2007

Amazing Grace follows anti–slavery pioneer William Wilberforce over the course of two decades. Directed by Michael Apted (The World is Not Enough) from an original screenplay written by Academy Award® nominee Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things), the film is released by Momentum Pictures on 23 March.

Elected to the House of Commons at the age of 21, and on his way to a successful political career, we see Wilberforce take on the establishment to convince it to end the trade in slavery.

Ioan Gruffudd stars as Wilberforce and Benedict Cumberbatch as William Pitt the Younger, the youngest ever Prime Minister at the age of 24, who supports and encourages his friend Wilberforce.

Albert Finney also features in the cast as John Newton, a confidante to Wilberforce and composer of the title hymn. Youssou N'Dour plays Olaudah Equiano, an African born slave who buys his freedom. He makes his home in London and writes a best selling account of his life, becoming a leading figure in the fight to end slavery.

Osterley Park was used as a double for Wilberforce’s kitchen in his Wimbledon home. The scene sees the overworked politician being berated by his cook and serves to illustrate that Wilberforce was committed to helping all disadvantaged sections of society, not just his ‘cause du jour’.

In order to make the kitchen period specific, the production was allowed to repaint the entire room with lime based period paints, box in 19th Century pipework and insert an imitation 18th Century range.

Osterley Park, originally a Tudor house, was remodelled by Robert Adam around 1760-80. The house boasts one of Britain’s most complete examples of Adam’s work, with exceptional carved and decorated plasterwork, beautiful carpets and exquisite furniture. 

The house is set in 140 acres of landscaped gardens including pleasure grounds, ornamental lakes and classical garden buildings. At Osterley Park a wide variety of rooms are available for filming, from basements to grand entrance halls. There is also a functioning red brick Tudor stable block within the grounds.

Osterley Park is a National Trust property and is much used as a filming location. Bill Darby, the location manager for Amazing Grace, found the National Trust to be very flexible when it came to the production’s requirements.

If you would like to find out more about filming at Osterley Park please contact Harvey Edgington, the Broadcast and Media Liaison Officer for the National Trust, on 020 7799 4547 or email harvey.edgington@nationaltrust.org.uk.

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