The 6th Duke made his own changes to update the gardens after 1811, and purchased adjoining land to the east where he laid out the formal ‘Italian’ flower garden and shrubberies, and built a 300-foot conservatory.
Built principally for the cultivation of fruit, this became a house for exotic flowers after 1828, when a camellia collection was established that still flourishes today. The Duke entertained royally at Chiswick, with guests including Queen Victoria, two Russian Tsars, and the kings of Prussia and Saxony. He kept an elephant and other exotic animals in his gardens, and was an enthusiastic horticulturist, leasing adjoining land to the Horticultural Society. Joseph Paxton began his career in the Society’s Chiswick gardens in the 1820′s, going on to become the Duke’s Head Gardener at Chatsworth, the designer of the Crystal Palace, and arguably the greatest gardener of the Victorian age.
Chiswick House was let to a series of tenants in the later 19th century. Gradually the surrounding estate was sold off as Chiswick grew and space was needed for housing. During the 1870′s the tenant was the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, whose children tended flower beds in the gardens. From 1892-1929 the House and remaining gardens were leased to the Tuke family and run as a private lunatic asylum.