The Marble Hill Society

Research Articles 1


 
     

    MR SECRETARY JOHNSTON'S HOUSE

    If one had rowed up to Twickenham, when Marble Hill was completed in 1729, one would have seen a large classical style house facing the river, very close to Marble Hill.  This house was originally known as Mr. Secretary Johnston’s House, but later known as Orleans House.  James Johnston (1655-1737) had been Secretary for Scotland under William III.

     

    Johnston had commissioned John James (c.1672-1746) to build the house, which was completed in 1710.  The house was a substantial two-storey brick building with mansard roof, rectangular windows and a central stone entrance surmounted by an arched window surrounded by carved Portland stone with floral decoration.  James had worked under Sir Christopher Wren at Hampton Court and the Royal Naval Hospital and had been responsible for rebuilding St, Mary’s, Twickenham in 1714.  One of his major commissions was St. George’s Hanover Square, the church, where Handel worshipped.  The house was illustrated in Colen Campbell’s Vitruvius Britannicus published in 1715. None of the original house has survived.

    Johnston had become friendly with George I during time he spent in Hanover and he needed a grand enough room to entertain royalty.  In 1716, he commissioned James Gibbs (1682-1754) to design the Octagon Room. Gibbs was a Catholic, who had originally gone to Rome to study for the priesthood in 1703, but decided that this vocation was not for him and decided to study architecture instead under a leading Baroque architect, Carlo Fontana and was thus one of the few architects of his generation who knew the continental Baroque at first hand.

    The Octagon, which was completed in 1720 and was initially separate from the main house and was built for lavish entertaining, complete with wine cellar, which still exists.  The outstanding feature in the interior is the ornate plasterwork interior, created by two Swiss-born  plasterers, Guiseppe Artari and Giovanni Bagutti, who had also worked with Gibbs on other commissions including St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields. Gibbs’s first major commission, when he returned to this country in 1708 was St. Mary-le-Strand.  He also designed Sudbrook Park at Petersham for the Duke of Argyll.  It is recorded that in 1729 Queen Caroline and her children dined with Mrs. Johnston in the Octagon on dishes including venison, vermicelli soup, a chine of lamb, chicken with peaches, and capons with oysters. King George II and his consort’s country retreat was at Richmond Lodge which was demolished in 1770.

     

    When Johnston died in 1737, his house was bought by George Morton Pitt and the house then became known as the Pitt House and while living there, he created a link room between the main house at the Octagon. George Pitt had been governor of a small fort on the outskirts
    of Madras, so he was known as Governor Pitt. He died in 1756 and Sir George Pocock, a distinguished naval officer, bought the house in 1764 and it remained in his family until 1837.  His son, also George, inherited the house in 1792, but rarely lived there and preferred to let it
    out.

     

    The most distinguished tenant was Louis Philippe, duc d’ Orleans who occupied the house from 1815 to 1817 and thereafter the house was known as Orleans House.  He later became King Louis-Philippe of France from 1830 to 1848, when he was deposed and died in exile at Claremont, Surrey.  In the meantime George Pocock, who had financial problems, sold the house to Alexander Murray MP who owned the house until his death in 1845 when it was bought by Lord Kilmorey who then sold it to Coutts Bank, the trustees of the Duc D’Aumale, son of the King Louis-Philippe.  The duc of D’Aumale lived there until 1871 when he returned to France to live at the chateau at Chantilly. While at Orleans House he made a number of changes including adding a library, a picture gallery and the extensive stabling.

    The house passed through various hands being briefly a sports and social club. It was then bought by developers who proposed to demolish the house after the First World War.  To save some of the buildings, The Hon. Nellie Ionides bought the Octagon, the gallery and the stables, which she then gave to the Borough of Twickenham.  Today the Octagon, picture gallery and stables are owned by the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames and are regularly used for exhibitions.  In the last few years the stables have been converted to create a superb educational centre.  The rest of this large house was demolished in 1927.  However there are still two pieces of sculpture which belonged to Mr. Secretary Johnson, which have survived.  He had commissioned a sculptor John van Nost to make lead models of his two dogs and these were taken to the chateau at Chantilly by the duc d’Aumale.  The chateau is now a museum and these statues are still there today. Alexander Pope had celebrated them in two lines of poetry:


    And Twick’nam such, which fairer scenes enrich

    Grots, Statues, urns and Jo—n’s Dog and Bitch


    John Moses

    Back
     


     

    HENRY HERBERT 9th Earl of Pembroke (c.1689-1750)

    Marble Hill was built by Roger Morris and Henry, Lord Herbert who became 9th Earl of Pembroke in 1733 on the death of his father, the 8th Earl. While inheriting his father’s interest in the arts, he made architecture his own special interest and was known as the “Architect Earl.” His country seat was Wilton House, which is still the family seat today. The state rooms there included the famous Double Cube Room and Single Cube Room and were almost certainly designed by Inigo Jones with the assistance of his relative John Webb. Lord Herbert held the usual posts associated with a leading nobleman of that time such as Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire and he became a Lieutenant General in 1742. However he was elected a member of the Royal Society in 1743, which very much reflected his intellectual interests. Being an aristocrat did not mean automatic entry into the Royal Society. He had a keen interest in archaeology visiting Stonehenge on a number of occasions. He was known to be an outstandingly good swimmer and unusually for the 18th century, he was a vegetarian, but he was also known for his choleric disposition.

    He appears to have gone on the Grand Tour but the only evidence for this is a reference in a letter from the British minister in Venice to the Secretary of State saying “My Lord Herbert came last Saturday.” If this is right, he might well have seen a number of Palladio’s villas in the Veneto, but this is of course speculation. However, he was an undergraduate at Christchurch, Oxford when Dr. Aldrich was the Dean. Aldrich was responsible for designing the Peckwater Quad at Christchurch, based both on Palladio’s architecture and on Inigo Jones’s palace designs. It was built in 1706, nine years before Colen Campbell published his Vitruvius Britannicus and was thus one of the earliest examples of the revival of the English Palladian style. Lord Herbert contributed £20 towards building the Peckwater Quad. He had a town house, later known as Pembroke House, designed by Colen Campbell in the Palladian style and completed in 1724. Pembroke House was demolished in 1913. 

     

    Lord Herbert was very likely to be personally involved in designing his town house at Whitehall, given his subsequent work as an architect. Marble Hill is similar in design to Pembroke House and both houses seemed to have borrowed from various of Palladio’s villas, particularly the Villa Emo. Marble Hill is certainly one of best, if not the best example of an English villa based on Palladio’s villa designs. The Great Room here was almost certainly based on the single Cube Room at Wilton and the fire place is probably based on Le Barbet’s fire place designs, published in 1633. His designs were regularly used by Inigo Jones. Lord Herbert was no draughtsman, but neither was Lord Burlington nor even Vanbrugh and he would certainly had to rely upon Roger Morris to be the draughtsman and he may have sought advice from Robert Morris, (Roger Morris’s cousin), who was the leading Palladian theoretician.

    The building of Marble Hill was probably the first time that Lord Herbert had worked with Roger Morris, but not his last. They designed the White Lodge in Richmond Park for George II, again in the Palladian style, which was completed in 1728 a year before the completion of Marble Hill. Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough commissioned them to design the column of Victory at Blenheim Palace and they also worked again for her in building Wimbledon House, for which they got little thanks. The house was burnt down in 1785. They also worked together in redesigning some of the state rooms at Wilton. However, probably their most famous joint enterprise at Wilton was the building of the Palladian Bridge, completed in about 1737. It was based on Palladio’s bridge design in his Four Books of Architecture, but generally considered to be far superior to Palladio’s own design. Lord Herbert was active in supporting the building of Westminster Bridge, which was the first bridge to be built over the Thames in central London since the building of the mediaeval London Bridge. The bridge was completed in the year of his death in 1750. In 1733, Lord Herbert had married Mary Fitzwilliam, daughter of the 5th Viscount Fitzwilliam and had one son, Henry Herbert, who succeeded to the title as 10th Earl of Pembroke.

    John Moses

    Back


    ROGER MORRIS (1695-1749)

    Roger Morris was one of the two architects of Marble Hill House. The other was Lord Herbert, the future 9th Earl of Pembroke. Morris appears to have been Colen Campbell’s assistant at some point, possibly in the building of Pembroke House Whitehall for the future Earl of Pembroke and this is where he may have met Lord Herbert. Morris worked as a collaborator with Lord Herbert not only at Marble Hill, but also at (inter alia) The White Lodge, New Park (Richmond Park), Wimbledon House and the Palladian Bridge at Wilton. Morris also built a number of other important houses such as Adderbury House, Oxfordshire, Whitton Park, Clearwell Castle, Gloucestershire and Inveraray Castle, Argyllshire.

    Roger Morris described himself as a bricklayer when he took a lease on the Harley estate in Marylebone in 1724. He already had an account at Hoare’s Bank and had been employed as a surveyor in measuring up buildings to price other builder’s work. He was also employed as a surveyor in the building of Covent Garden theatre in 1731, where he described himself as an architect.  Strictly speaking there was no such profession as an architect at this date. Anyone who was involved in building could describe himself as an architect, but the profession of Surveying went back to the 16th century.  He appears to have been successful in developing and speculating in land. By 1730s he was living in a house, which he built, in Oxford Street and describing himself as a “gentleman.” So it is difficult to place Roger Morris in the social hierarchy. He married first a girl called Mary and she died in 1729, and he married secondly in 1731 Elizabeth the daughter of Sir Philip Jackson. She died in 1744

    Marble Hill is an important example of the English Palladian style. Did Lord Herbert or Roger Morris have the greater “say” in the overall design? This is difficult to say. The Great Room is clearly based on Lord Herbert’s house at Wilton. However, Roger Morris’s cousin, Robert Morris, was probably the leading Palladian theoretician.  In his thesis An Essay in Defence of Ancient Architecture, published in 1728 he illustrated his ideal house which bears a close resemblance to Marble Hill. He also discussed the ideal Palladian house in his Lectures on Architecture (1734) and acknowledged Roger Morris' help in the introduction so it is highly probable that he was involved at Marble Hill. Robert Morris based his ideal, design on a cube subdivided into smaller “cubic” modules and according to Lees-Milne (The Earls of Creation), these cubic proportions can be found in the elevations and apartments of Marble Hill, right down to the proportion of windows and chimneypieces.  Although the architecture of the house was based on Palladio's designs, it is not really possible to say which of Palladio’s villas were copied and it is more likely that the architects based Marble Hill on an amalgam of various of Palladio’s designs. It has the classic fenestration of Palladio’s villas, namely 1-3-1, with a central saloon (or sala) lit by three windows and side rooms lit by one window. One reason for the popularity of Palladio’s villas in the sixteenth century was that they were relatively cheap to build and these considerations might also have applied in England in the eighteenth century as building a country house was a major financial commitment. Economy would have appealed to Henrietta Howard.

    The patronage of the Duke of Argyll had been extremely useful to Roger Morris throughout his career and the Duke may have recommended Morris to Henrietta Howard. His brother Lord Islay was in effect Henrietta’s agent when she was building Marble Hill.  The Duke of Argyle also commissioned him to design his houses at Whitton Place, Adderbury and Inveraray and he obtained the office of Master Carpenter to the Office of Ordnance for Morris, which proved to be a very useful perquisite. Morris was also Surveyor of the Mint and these various posts brought him in a sizeable income. Morris showed originality in his architecture and did not just stick to the then fashionable Palladian style. Clearwell Castle and Inveraray Castle are early examples of the Gothic revival style and shows that Morris had a proper understanding of mediaeval gothic architecture.  He died in 1749 and had two sons by his second marriage.

    John Moses

    Back


    GIOVANNI PAOLO PANINI (1692-1765)

    If one goes into the Great Room at Marble Hill, one can see some of the most fascinating paintings at Marble Hill.  This unique set of five fantasy Roman landscapes by Giovanni Paolo Panini, dated 1738, were purchased (or possibly commissioned) by Lady Suffolk for the Great Room.  We know from 1767 inventory, drawn up when Henrietta Howard died, that she owned these five paintings and they were indeed hung in the Great Room there in her lifetime.  The paintings were dispersed when the Cunard family were intending to demolish in 1901 (the house was only saved at the eleventh hour).  Amazingly English Heritage managed to recover these paintings.  With the help of old photographs showing them in situ, two of the canvases, which were purchased by the British Rail Pension Fund in 1974, were identified and placed on long-term loan to Marble Hill.  Ten years later, the overmantel was purchased at auction in New York, and in 1988 the final pair were located in a private collection in the South of France, and were purchased along with the two previously on loan.  





















    The names of these paintings are 1. Landscape with the Colosseum, 2. Landscape with the Arch of Constantine, 3. Landscape with Pantheon,  4. Landscape with the Column of Trajan and 5. Statues in a Ruined Arcade. There are few great houses or even public galleries in England that can say they have five paintings by Panini in their collection.  Capricci are paintings showing a landscape or an imaginary scene with both imaginary and real features as opposed to Vedute which is defined as a topographical landscape painting.  The most obvious examples of Vedute are those by Canaletto, particularly of Venice. 

    Panini actually had a highly distinguished artistic career and not only as a painter of Vedute and Capricci.  He was born in Piacenza in 1691 in north Italy and trained there.  He studied under Gaspar van Wittel, Giovanni Ghisolfi and Salvator Rosa.  From van Wittel he learnt the minute and almost topographical rendering of townscapes as well as precision in draughtsmanship.  Rosa’s paintings demonstrated how views could be animated with human figures, while Ghisolfi provided models of the Capricci a genre to which Panini contributed many examples of his own. Panini was the first painter to specialise in capriccio views of Rome and it was the evocation of the spirit of the city (as opposed to real views) which created a vogue among British 18th century Grand Tourists wishing to take home a souvenir of Rome.


    He had gone to Rome in 1711, but his first commissions were relatively modest.  The first documented commission was for the Villa Patrizi near the Porta Pia (the palace was pulled down in 1911) where he worked between 1719 and 1725 frescoing the vaults, overdoors and windows. However his reputation grew and in 1719 he was nominated to the leading academy of art in Rome, Accademia di S Luca, where he taught perspective drawing.  Every entrant to the Academy had to paint an entrant painting and his was his first oil painting, Alexander visiting the tomb of Achilles.  In 1722 he received an important commission from Pope Innocent XIII: the decoration of the mezzanine apartment in the Palazzo Quirinale.  This commission was particularly prestigious because, at that time the Pope was not only the spiritual head of the Roman Catholic Church (as he is today) but the secular ruler of the Papal States.  A few sections of this painting survive, depicting views of villas and gardens against a background of sky and seen through imitation balustrades.  He now started concentrating on landscape painting.  From 1725 to 1726 he was painting frescoes in the Galleria Nobile and the Galleriola of the Palazzo Alberoni.  He also painted the frescoes in the Villa Montalto Grazioli in Frascati between 1720 and 1730, which is his most complete surviving fresco cycle. 

    From then on he specialised more and more in painting Vedute and Capricci particularly of Rome, which then made him famous and very popular among tourists specially those doing the Grand Tour.  Many of his paintings were Vedute of the ancient Roman ruins.  He ran his own highly successful workshop and worked for the rest of his life in Rome.  However he did not just paint Vedute and Capricci.  He received a number of major commissions.  In the 1740s he recorded the visit to Rome of the Spanish King Charles III, with two paintings: the Visit of Charles III to St Peter’s (1745) and Charles III received at the Quirinale by Benedict XIV (1746).  In 1745 Panini was also commissioned to paint important portraits such as the portrait of Pope Benedict XIV with Cardinal Silvio Valenti Gonzaga.  He was also honoured by becoming a member of the Académie de France in Rome.  His last known work was a painting of the Colosseum, which he painted in 1764, the year before he died.

    John Moses


    Back



    The Picture Collection in Marble Hill House


    The architecture of Marble Hill is one of the most important examples of the English Palladian style. However, what is sometimes overlooked is the importance of the Picture Collection. It is an excellent and comprehensive collection of English 18th century painting – the period which is sometimes known as “The Golden Age of English Painting”.  This note covers only a selection of the works.

    Some of the most interesting works are in the room known as Henrietta Howard’s Bedchamber. There is Richard Wilson’s The Thames Near Marble Hill, Twickenham. The painting is very Italianate. Wilson spent many years in Italy. He is regarded as the father of English landscape painting and greatly influenced both Turner and Constable. In the same room there is a painting by Philip Mercier The Letter Writer. Mercier was one of the artists who introduced the genre known as the conversation piece, to England in the early 18th century. (This type was often used by Watteau.) Another artist, who used this genre, was Hubert Gravelot, whose painting known either as The Reader or the Judicious Lover, is in the lobby on the first floor at Marble Hill. Both Gravelot and Mercier taught art at St. Martin’s Academy, set up by Sir James Thornhill, (the Serjeant Painter to the King) and his son-in-law William Hogarth. This was the first art school in England and Thomas Gainsborough was a pupil there. Another teacher at this school was Francis Hayman whose painting Lady at a Spinning Wheel is also in Henrietta Howard’s Bedchamber. This painting is an important example of the Rococo style being used by an English artist.


    In the Dressing Room there are two delightful pendants of Abraham Acworth and his wife Margaretta Acworth by Thomas Hudson, probably commissioned to commemorate their marriage. Sir Joshua Reynolds was one of Hudson’s pupils. In the same room there is an early portrait of Henrietta Howard by Charles Jervas. It had been commissioned by Alexander Pope. When Pope died, Henrietta Howard bought the painting and gave it to Horace Walpole. There are a number of interesting portraits by leading English 18th century artists such as Gainsborough, Ramsay, Cotes and Reynolds in the Gallery. Among the European paintings, there are five capricci, all of scenes in Rome, by Giovanni Panini which were originally in this house.

    The inventory drawn up in 1767, when Henrietta Howard died, refers to five Roman Landscapes in the Great Room. English Heritage have managed to recover them and they are now back in the Great Room. Capricci are real subjects, such as the Pantheon, in an imaginary landscape. Veduti are actual landscapes or townscapes such as Canaletto’s paintings.

    Back


    The Chinese Wall Paper in the Dining Parlour



    The principal display in this room is the Chinese wall paper, which English Heritage installed in 2006. The original wall paper has now been lost. The room had been remodelled by Matthew Brettingham before installation of the wallpaper. We know from the surviving 18th century letters and accounts, that Henrietta Howard installed Chinese wall paper here in 1750s. In particular there is correspondence between Bromwich, a well-known upholsterer, and her steward, in which Bromwich said that if payment of 42 guineas is not made for this wallpaper, a Mr. Hallett, who had installed the paper, will “sue her Ladyship.”  In the 18th century an upholsterer was responsible for the overall decoration and the closest modern equivalent is the interior designer.


    The first Chinese papers appeared in London in the late C17th. The earliest papers to arrive in Europe were the figure subjects, with scenes of daily life and industry in a variety of landscape settings, such as at Bickling Hall, where Henrietta was born. The taste for oriental exotica dates back to the beginning of the C17th when the East India and Dutch East India companies were founded. There was a growing taste for such goods in the latter part of the C17th. However, Europeans made little distinction between what was Chinese, Japanese or Indian. These were used indiscriminately. So the same wallpaper might be described as Indian or Chinese without regard of where it came from. There was additional confusion caused by the fact that the term 'Japan' also meant the European method of imitating Chinese lacquer. The name "India" was probably used because the East India Company had the monopoly of the China trade. The degree of confusion is summarised by the comment of the diarist Lady Mary Coke, who said that the Indian Room at Richmond Lodge looks like Japan. 

    These hand-painted papers, and the home-grown Chinoiserie styles they inspired, sparked a fashion which lasted more than a century. In due course most of the greatest country houses had at least one room decorated with a Chinese paper. The Chinese papers were a novelty in many respects. With their exotic subject matter such as scenes of Chinese life and landscape, or flowering trees populated with birds and butterflies and their rich colours and fine detail, they were quite unlike the wallpapers then available in England. No doubt their rarity made them even more desirable. Chinese wallpaper was costly in comparison to locally manufactured wallpaper, so it tended to be mostly hung in the homes of the upper classes.  However the playfulness and informality about Chinese styles made them popular decorations for the apartments used by women, thus Chinoiserie was seen as essentially feminine. 

    When English Heritage installed this wall paper, they ensured that the same techniques were used as their predecessors would have done in the 18th century.  English Heritage commissioned the leading expert De Gournay who used local Chinese artists in their studio in China. Paper here is composed of white mulberry paper backed with another layer of mulberry paper. All the painting is done with two brushes, one to hold the paint and the other to hold water. Before hanging the wallpaper, the wall was lined with battens of timber. Superfine unprimed linen was stretched over the battens and linen paper was then pasted to the linen  It was decided to use the bird and flower decoration, which was based on an amalgam of different styles from Chinese wall paper in various English country houses of the early and mid 18th century.

    This article is based in part on book by Gill Saunders “Wallpaper in Interior Decoration” and also on notes supplied by Cathy Power of English Heritage.

    Back



    Henrietta Howard's Circle


    JOHN GAY (1685-1732)

    John Gay, poet and dramatist, was possibly the first of Mrs. Howard's friends to see the plans for Marble Hill, as she wrote to him in 1723, ‘I beg you will never mention the plan which you found in my room. There is a necessity to keep the whole affair secret, though (I think I may tell you) it is almost entirely finished to my satisfaction'. She kept a portrait of him in her apartment at court. Gay's early writings were performed in the pubs and coffee houses of London, and he had relatively little luck in achieving recognition until his musical comedy The Beggar's Opera of 1728. While being popularly entertaining, it made satirical digs at the Whig prime minister Sir Robert Walpole (father of Horace), whose displeasure is thought to have provoked the banning of its sequel Polly.



    CATHERINE HYDE, DUCHESS of QUEENSBERRY (1700-1777)

    The Duchess of Queensberry was an eccentric, known not only for her wit and beauty, but also for her friendship with the Augustan circle of poets and writers including Gay, Swift, Congreve, and Pope. She defended John Gay's The Beggars Opera (1728) and particularly its sequel Polly (1729) against royal censorship for which she and the Duke lost favour at court. They lived at Petersham, on the opposite bank of the Thames to her friend and correspondent Lady Suffolk of Marble Hill. In old age, Catherine insisted on dressing in the style in vogue during her youth, refusing ‘to cut and curl my hair like a sheep's head, or wear one of their trolloping sacks'.




    MARY LEPEL, LADY HERVEY (1700-1768)

    Mary Lepel was a Woman of the Bedchamber to Princess Caroline at the same time as Henrietta Howard, and the two were close friends. She had many admirers, including Lord Chesterfield and Alexander Pope. Voltaire addressed a copy of verses to her beginning with the lines 'Hervey, would you know the passion/You have kindled in my breast?'. She married John Hervey in 1720, later Baron Hervey of Ickworth, who enjoyed a prominent political career. Lady Hervey was a correspondent of Horace Walpole in her later years, and in 1762 he dedicated his book Anecdotes of Painting in England to her. A volume of Select Novels, published in London in 1720, which is dedicated to Mary Lepel can be seen in the Gallery at Marble Hill.



    CHARLES MORDAUNT, 3rd EARL of PETERBOROUGH and 1st EARL of MONMOUTH (1658-1735)

    Charles Mordaunt, a close friend and ardent admirer of Mrs. Howard, led a colourful and unconventional life. He was an early confidant of William of Orange and accompanied him to England at the Revolution. In reward, he was created Earl of Monmouth, and held various prestigious official posts, but in due course fell out with the king. He was dismissed from office in 1697 and briefly imprisoned in the Tower of London.

    He secretly married an opera singer, Anastasia Robinson, but did not acknowledge her publicly until shortly before his death. It is said that upon his death she was so shocked at what his correspondence revealed about his life that she burned all his papers.



    ALEXANDER POPE (1688-1744)

    Pope was the leading poet in the 18th century, becoming renowned for his hugely sucessful translation of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey the large income from which made him financially independent. A Roman Catholic, he was obliged by the then penal laws to live 10 miles outside London, and eventually settled in Twickenham. He lived upstream from Marble Hill in his celebrated villa (demolished 1807).

    His satiric wit and Tory sympathies made him enemies, yet he enjoyed good relations with many great men. His expertise in gardening, and development of a more natural style, led many to seek his advice on garden design and to visit and imitate the grotto he erected at his villa.

    Pope's friendship with Henrietta Howard probably dates to about 1717. He became a close friend and admirer of Henrietta Howard when she moved to the neighbourhood, and he advised her on garden design. He was virtually caretaker of the estate during her absences at court, and took advantage of the house to entertain their literary friends, particularly Swift and Gay. Seemingly the two remained friends until about 1738, but the friendship cooled, and there is no record of correspondence between them from 1739.


    JONATHAN SWIFT (1667-1745)

    Swift, clergyman, poet and satirist was the author of Gulliver’s Travels. An Irish patriot, he also wrote political tracts reflecting his Tory sympathies.

    He was briefly a member of Henrietta Howard 's circle around the time of Marble Hill's construction. He divided his time between London and Dublin, where he was Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral from 1713. He and Mrs.Howard maintained a lively and witty correspondence, having been introduced by their mutual friend Alexander Pope. In 1727, George II ascended the throne, and Swift's bitter disappointment at Mrs. Howard's failure to gain high positions for himself and John Gay soured their relationship.


    RICHARD TEMPLE, 1st VISCOUNT COBHAM (1675-1749)

    The 1st Viscount, was a distinguished soldier appointed Field Marshall in 1742. He became a focus for political opposition to Robert Walpole, prime minister to both George I and George II. Younger Whig politicians, known as 'Cobham’s Cubs', gravitated towards him. Among them was the future great prime minister, William Pitt.

    He was a close friend of Lady Suffolk, and planned to place a bust portrait of her in his 'Temple of Friendship' at his house at Stowe, although this was never executed. This was one of several follies in his garden, designed to symbolise a political message. Like Marble Hill, the magnificent garden at Stowe was largely the work of Charles Bridgeman.



    HORACE WALPOLE (1717-1797)

    Walpole was a neighbour, and close companion of Lady Suffolk from about 1747, shortly after the death of her beloved second husband. He delighted in her reminiscences of life in the court of George II, where she knew his father, Sir Robert Walpole, the first prime minister. Many of her anecdotes found their way into his Memoirs of the reigns of George II and III, published posthumously. Although a generation apart in age, they were close friends and Walpole was one of the last people to see Lady Suffolk alive, having visited her the evening before she died. He wrote ‘I have lost few people in my life whom I shall miss so much'.

    Walpole was a man of letters, who pioneered Gothic architecture and was the author of the first Gothic novel. The Gothic architectural style adopted by him at his home at Strawberry Hill near Twickenham was in direct contrast to the styles derived from classical Rome and Greece which were in fashion. He found an audience for his views and was influential in the field of architecture and interior design. He even persuaded Lady Suffolk to erect a Gothic style chapel (since demolished) as a folly in the park at Marble Hill. It was called the ‘Priory of St Hubert’ (a play on her Hobart family name).




    Back


    Births Marriages and Deaths

     

    HENRIETTA, COUNTESS of SUFFOLK (1689-1767)

    One of the Society's members has discovered and verified the true date of Henrietta’s birth, previously thought to be some time in 1688. The Countess was born on 11 May 1689 and baptised at St Martins in the Fields on 20 May 1689. It has also been established that she is buried in the Berkeley family vault in Berkeley Parish Church near her second husband, George Berkeley, 4th son of the 2nd Earl of Berkeley. This was in accordance with her wishes expressed in her will.

    GEORGE BERKELEY MP (1680-1746)

    The Honourable George Berkeley (after 1680 - 29 October 1746) was a member of Parliament for Dover in 1720 and in the following two parliaments, and for Hedon, Yorkshire in 1734. He was the fourth and youngest son of Charles Berkeley, 2nd Earl of Berkeley and Elizabeth Noel. He attended Westminster School from its foundation in 1708 and Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1711, graduating MA there in 1713.

    On 28 May 1723 he received an appointment as master keeper and governor of St Katharine's Hospital in London, and filled that post until his death. Pro-Walpole at first, Berkeley was alienated from him by his brother Lord Berkeley's dismissal from the post of First Lord of the Admiralty on the accession of George II, and switched loyalties to Pulteney.

    He married Henrietta Howard, Countess of Suffolk on 26 June 1735, as her second husband and nine months after she ceased to be George II's mistress and - though they had no surviving children - the marriage was far happier than her first. He had probably met her through his sister Lady Elizabeth Germain, a friend of Henrietta, but the reasons for Henrrietta's choice of second husband were far from clear to court commentators. One of them, Lord Hervey, described him as:

    Neither young, handsome, healthy, nor rich, which made people wonder what induced Lady Suffolk's prudence to deviate into this unaccountable piece of folly: some imagined it was to persuade the world that nothing criminal had ever passed between her and the king, others that it was to pique the king. If this was her reason, she succeeded very ill in her design.

    However, in a letter from Elizabeth Germain to Jonathan Swift on 12 July 1735, Elizabeth described Lady Suffolk as:

    Indeed four or five years older than [George]; but for all that he has appeared to all the world, as well as to me, to have long had (that is, ever since she has been a widow, so pray do not mistake me) a most violent passion for her, as well as esteem and value for her numberless good qualities.

    George Berkeley suffered from gout which got worse during 1746. Henrietta took him to Bath in the hope that the waters would offer him some relief but he died there on 29 October.

    Back


     


     

    St. Martin's Academy and the Paintings in Marble Hill


    There are close connections between a number of the artists, whose paintings are at Marble Hill, and St. Martin’s Academy, England’s first art school.  (The paintings are shown in the Appendix and all the artists, which I mention have paintings in the house apart Thornhill and Chéron).  Sir Godfrey Kneller, who had been principal painter to William and Mary, was the founder of St. Martin’s Academy in 1711 and Marcellus Laroon was one of his assistants there.  Sir James Thornhill, the Serjeant Painter to George I, took over the school from 1716 and ran it until 1720 when it was taken over by two other artists, Chéron and Vanderbank, who moved the School to St. Martin’s Lane and thus giving the school its present name.  They ran it until 1724, but Vanderbank’s success was undermined by his profligacy, as he kept a coach and horses and a country house for his mistress.   He fled to France to avoid arrest for debt in 1724, but returned in 1729 and was arrested and placed in the Fleet, the debtor’s prison. 

    Hogarth revived the school after Thornhill’s death in 1734 and ran it until his own death in 1764.  He had married Thornhill’s daughter Jane in 1729. From 1734, Gravelot, Hogarth, Hayman and the sculptor Roubiliac were the principal teachers there.  St. Martins Academy gave the opportunity to artists to draw from the life and each paid an annual subscription of a guinea.  The French influences on Hogarth and Hayman and also the employment of expatriate French artists resulted in the Academy being the centre of the very light and informal Rococo style in English art.  This style had probably been introduced by Philip Mercier (c. 1689-1760), who came to England in 1716 and who initially lived in Leicester Fields near St. Martin’s Lane.  There is no direct evidence that he taught at St. Martin’s Academy, but he is likely to have known the teachers there.  Mercier had also probably introduced the genre known as The Conversation Piece, a style, which had been developed by Watteau, who was a friend of his.  Mercier’s painting The Letter Writer, at Marble Hill, is an important example of this genre.  The Conversation Piece became a very popular form of the group portrait in the first half of the 18th Century.  An even more important example of this genre is Gravelot’s painting le lecteur also at Marble Hill.  This is one of only two paintings by Gravelot in England, but he was an engraver by trade.  Thomas Gainsborough studied at St. Martin’s Academy and more importantly was apprenticed to Gravelot to learn the trade of engraving, which was considered a safer trade than painting.  It was probably from Gravelot that Gainsborough learnt to be such a brilliant draughtsman. However, Gravelot had also been a pupil of the great Rococo painter, François Boucher.   In spite of its foreign origins, Rococo, with its light fresh and witty style, was a stimulus to the development of the modern style of English painting promoted by Hogarth and others both at St. Martins Academy and in their own paintings.  The tuition was in the evening and it probably did not offer very rigorous training, but it gave the opportunity to artists like Gainsborough an opportunity to meet important contemporary artists working in London. 

    The teachers at St. Martin’s Academy were also involved in the decoration of the famous pleasure grounds at Vauxhall and the commission may have been obtained because Hogarth knew the proprietor, Jonathan Tyres.  Gravelot designed the supper tickets.  One of the teachers, Francis Hayman, was involved in painting pastoral scenes to decorate the supper boxes, with designs like his May Day or The Milkman’s Garland.  Zoffany who became a pupil at the school towards the end of the school’s life, painted a life drawing class there and the painting is now in the Royal Academy. Although St. Martin’s Academy closed in 1764, four years later the Royal Academy schools were opened and the school is still there today.


    John Moses



     

    Appendix


    1. Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723): The Earl of Peterborough 



    Charles Mordaunt (1658–1735), 3rd Earl of Peterborough and 1st Earl of Monmouth
    by Godfrey Kneller
    Date painted: 1675–1700
    Oil on canvas, 76 x 63.5 cm
    Marble Hill House: The Dressing Room


    2. Marcellus Laroon (1679-1772): Lady and Gentleman with a Page



    Lady and Gentleman with a Page
    by Marcellus Laroon II
    Date painted: 1725–1750
    Oil on canvas, 73 x 62 cm
    Marble Hill House: The Lobby


    3. Hubert-François Gravelot (1699-1773): Le lecteur or (The Judicious Lover)



    Le lecteur
    by Hubert François Bourguignon Gravelot
    Date painted: 1725–1750
    Oil on canvas, 30.5 x 23.5 cm
    Marble Hill House: The Lobby


    4. John Vanderbank (1694-1739): The Countess of Northampton  



    Elizabeth Compton (1694–1741), Countess of Northampton
    by John Vanderbank
    Date painted: 1725–1750
    Oil on canvas, 239 x 141 cm
    Marble Hill House: The Great Room


    5. John Vanderbank: Don Quixote Washing his Beard 



    Don Quixote Washing His Beard
    by John Vanderbank
    Date painted: 1725–1750
    Oil on canvas, 39.4 x 35 cm
    Marble Hill House: The Breakfast Parlour


    6. John Vanderbank: Don Quixote and the Damsel on a Bier 



    Don Quixote and the Damsel on a Bier
    by John Vanderbank
    Date painted: 1739
    Oil on canvas, 39.4 x 35 cm
    Marble Hill House: the Breakfast Parlour


    7. William Hogarth (1697-1764): Sir Robert Pye 



    Sir Robert Pye (c.1696–1734), Bt
    by William Hogarth
    Oil on canvas, 42.9 x 33.7 cm
    Marble Hill House: the Dressing Room


    8. Francis Hayman (c. 1707-1776): John Conyers 



    John Conyers (1717–1775)
    by Francis Hayman
    Date painted: 1725–1750
    Oil on canvas, 52 x 44.5 cm
    Marble Hill House: The Countess of Suffolk’s Bedchamber


    9. Francis Hayman: Girl at a Spinning Wheel 



    Girl at a Spinning Wheel
    by Francis Hayman
    Date painted: 1725–1750
    Oil on canvas, 88 x 74 cm
    Marble Hill House: The Countess of Suffolk’s Bedchamber


    10. Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788): Rev. Joseph Amphlett
    [Image not currently available]


    11. Philip Mercier (1691-1760): The Letter Writer 



    The Letter Writer
    by Philippe Mercier
    Date painted: 1725–1750
    Oil on canvas, 121 x 96 cm
    Marble Hill House: Miss Hotham’s Bedchamber


    12. Philip Mercier: Mrs. Lowther 
    [Image not currently available]

    Back
     

    GENERAL JONATHAN PEEL  (1799–1879)

    While we rightly connect this house to Henrietta Howard, Countess of Suffolk, Marble Hill was owned and occupied by General Peel from 1826 until his death in 1879 and by his widow until her death in 1887.  This was a longer period than when Henrietta lived here. Jonathan Peel was a politician and soldier and the fourth son of a very successful cotton manufacturer, Sir Robert Peel, the first baronet.  His elder brother, who succeeded to the baronetcy as the second Baronet and who was also known as Sir Robert Peel, was famous as the Home Secretary who founded the Metropolitan Police and as Prime Minister for repealing the Corn Laws in 1846. 

    General Peel was born at Chamber Hall, near Bury, Lancashire, on 12 October 1799.  He had received only his commission on 15 June 1815, three days before the battle of Waterloo, so he never saw any military action.  He was a major in the Grenadier Guards when he bought Marble Hill in 1825, having reached this rank in 1822* and he then progressed through the ranks becoming a major-general in 1854 and a lieutenant-general in 1859, when aged 60, retiring in 1863**, a much older age than even a general officer would be able to serve today.  The War Office refused to let him serve in the Crimea as they said he was too old.  This is actually surprising as the Commander-in-Chief, Lord Raglan was aged 66 and Peel was aged 55.  However, Peel was probably fortunate not to serve in the Crimea, as initially the campaign was a disaster for the British army.

    In 1824 Peel had married Lady Alicia Jane, the youngest daughter of the first Marquess of Ailsa. They had five sons and three daughters.  He was able to pursue a political career alongside his military career and in 1826 he became one of the members for Norwich, representing as a Tory MP. The party only called itself the Conservative Party after 1835, a title chosen by his brother in the Tamworth manifesto.  In 1831 Jonathan Peel became MP for Huntingdon, which he represented until his retirement from parliamentary life in 1868.  Peel became Surveyor-General during his brother's second administration, in 1841–46 and Secretary of State for War in Lord Derby's short-lived second administration in 1858 and again held this post of Secretary of State for War in Derby's third administration from 1866 to 1867, but he resigned from office in 1867, because he was not prepared to support Disraeli's Reform Bill, which was passed that year, which more than doubled the franchise.

    However, Jonathan Peel’s real interest was racing. He built new stables in Marble Hill Park, where the cafe is today.  His first major success was in 1832, when his horse Archibald won the Two Thousand Guineas.  In 1844 his horse Orlando won the Derby.  It was a sensational race, because a horse called Running Rein actually came in first and Orlando second, but after Peel's appeal, this horse was disqualified as being a four-year-old, and the race was awarded to Orlando.  In 1851 Peel sold his stud for 12,000 guineas, but resumed his racing connection in 1869 after buying a string of horses from the estate of the Earl of Glasgow. 

    According to the 1841 census, Peel, his wife and children, lived in Marble Hill with sixteen servants. It must have been a bit of a squash, if they all lived in, even with the east wing, which was demolished in 1909.  In the 1861 census, the gardener and his family are shown to be living in the lodge and the coachman and his family in the stables.  In the course of Peel’s ownership, he consolidated the Marble Hill estate, including purchasing the land on which Little Marble Hill stood on the east side of the park, in 1876.  Little Marble Hill had been demolished shortly beforehand.  Peel died at Marble Hill on 13 February 1879.

    *   According to the DNB he was already a major when he bought Marble Hill, but according to Wikipedia he was still a captain.

    ** According to the DNB he retired from the army in 1863, but according Marie Draper in Marble Hill, he left the army in 1868.



    John Moses, Chairman

    Back
     


    ROBERT MORRIS (1703-1754)


    Roger Morris and Lord Herbert (later 9th Earl of Pembroke) were the architects of Marble Hill House.  It has been generally accepted that Roger Morris received help and advice from one of the leading Palladian architects Colen Campbell. In Campbell’s third volume of Vitruvius Britannicus, there is an illustration of a house in Twittenham, which is almost certainly Marble Hill.  Did Campbell do the initial designs for Marble Hill and then pass on this commission to Lord Herbert and Roger Morris as he was too busy with other commissions?  The three volumes of Vitruvius Britannicus were published by Campbell to promote himself as an architect, but in the text Campbell did not make any claim that he was in any way involved in the design of this house at Twittenham.  I propose to suggest that Roger Morris would have more likely turned to his cousin, Robert Morris for help.

    Robert Morris was born in Twickenham and he appeared to have designed at least one house, Culverthorpe Hall, Lincolnshire, but he worked mostly as a surveyor.  By 1740 he was living near Grosvenor Square, which suggests that he was by then reasonably prosperous.  Sir Howard Colvin (A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840) described Robert Morris as probably the most important architectural theoretician of the Palladian period. Robert Morris wrote a number of books on architecture and design.  His most important works were An Essay in Defence of Ancient Architecture, published in 1728 and Lectures on Architecture, published in 1734.  The first book was an attack on the Baroque and promoted the ideal of Classical simplicity, which was very much in tune with what the Palladian architects such as Lord Burlington were promoting.  In Lectures on Architecture he argued that the design of any building was based on seven ideal geometric proportions.  James Lees-Milne (the Earls of Creation) said that the proportions which Robert Morris recommended, were carried out to the letter at Marble House. The second part of the Lectures on Architecture are dedicated to Roger Morris.  We know from a satirical poem by Jonathan Swift, written the year the book was published, that the Marble Hill was far from built in 1727, when he wrote of Marble Hill:

    My house was built but for show
    My lady’s empty pocket know;
    And now she will not have a shilling
    To raise the stairs, or build the ceiling


    Robert Morris showed a picture (below) in his book, in Defence of Ancient Architecture, of an Ideal House and the book was written just a year later and probably a year before Marble Hill itself was completed and this design, as one can see, is actually very similar to Marble Hill, when it was actually completed.  This, together with the other evidence would suggest, in my view, that Robert may well have been closely involved with the building of this house.






    John Moses
    Chairman



    Back
     


    Pictures in Marble Hill House: The Conversation Piece





    Two of the most important paintings at Marble Hill are those by Philip Mercier (1691-1760): The Letter Writer and by Hubert-François Gravelot (1699-1773): le lecteur or The Judicious lover and they are both important examples of a style known as the Conversation Piece. There are in fact only two paintings by Gravelot in this country, including Marble Hill House. 

    Mercier and his family were Hugenots and had settled in Hanover, to avoid religious persecution in France. However, Mercier later visited Paris and his style was much influenced by Watteau. On returning to Hanover, Frederick Prince of Wales, the son of George II, became his patron and took Mercier to London, where he joined Frederick's household. He subsequently fell out of favour with the Prince, but did not suffer financially, because when he died in 1773, he left a very substantial fortune. He spent most of the rest of his life in England.

    Gravelot was a French painter, engraver, and illustrator and had an important influence on English painting. He studied in Paris, under Boucher, and already had established himself as a well-known illustrator before going to London in 1732. The Oxford Dictionary of Art says: “His delicate, elegant drawings, in a Rococo tradition derived from Watteau, were highly influential on his English contemporaries including Hogarth, Highmore, and Hayman.” He worked with Hogarth as a teacher at the St Martin's Lane Academy, which Hogarth had re-established in 1734 and where Gravelot taught drawing.  Gainsborough was one of his pupils and Francis Hayman was also teacher there. Gravelot and Hayman worked on the designs at Vauxhall Gardens. Gravelot designed the tickets and Hayman decorated the supper boxes. Gravelot became a popular designer and engraver and his works included illustrating Gay's Fables (1738), Shakespeare (1740), and working again with Hayman, Richardson's novel Pamela (1742). Gravelot returned to Paris in 1746, but continued to work for English clients.

    Both Mercier and Gravelot were, in part, responsible for introducing the style known as the Conversation Piece, which developed into the portrait form known as the Conversation Portrait.  The Conversation Piece had been popular in the Netherlands in the 17th century and was developed by Watteau in his fête galante paintings, a number of which are in the Wallace Collection.  However, William Vaughan (British Painting: the Golden Age) says "the  style known as Conversation Portrait was fashioned by Flemish and French emigré painters in London, in particularly, Philip Mercier and says that the typical picture shows an elegant social gathering". Mercier’s The Music Party; Frederick and his Sisters at Kew 1733 is a good example. The original is in the National Portrait Gallery and there is a copy in the Museum of Richmond. Neither of these two paintings here are “Conversation Portraits.”

    John Moses
    Chairman 

    Back
     


    Pictures in Marble Hill House: English Portraiture in the 18th century

    There were a number of English portrait painters in the 17th century such as William Dobson, but portraiture in England was dominated by artists from the continent such as Van Dyck, Lely and Kneller. In the 18th century, an important school of English portrait painters developed, which by 1750s dominated this market. It is difficult to ascertain why this development happened.  Although it may have been partly  due to the first two Georges’ lack of interest in commissioning portraits, in the 18th century the court ceased to be the major centre of patronage.  The aristocracy and gentry were growing richer and there was also a large and increasing mercantile class and many of them wished to have their portrait painted and both the landed classes and the mercantile class were quite happy to be painted by British Portrait painters.  There were also a number of gifted English portrait painters such as Hogarth, Reynolds and Gainsborough.  Most of the leading English portrait painters of this period are represented at Marble Hill.  


    One of the earliest of English 18th century portrait painters was Charles Jervas (c, 1675-1739), whose painting of Henrietta Howard [1] is in the Dressing Room.  He studied under Kneller and succeeded him as the principal painter to the future George II in 1723 and it was possibly because of Henrietta’s connection with George II that Jervas painted her portrait.  Alexander Pope commissioned this portrait and one of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu [2]  (which is not in the house) , as pendants.  There is a portrait of George II [3] by a less well-known artist, Charles Phillips (1708-1747), in the gallery c. 1738.  This was probably a memorial painting to Queen Caroline, who died in 1737, as it depicted George II standing by her library in St. James’s Palace.

    From the mid 18th century portraiture was dominated by what is known as the Grand Portrait and based on the portraiture of Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641), famous for his portraits of Charles I and his courtiers which suggest both natural grace and authority.  There are two copies of portraits by Van Dyck in the Great Room at Marble Hill, one of Charles I [4], which actually only shows part of the original  painting, which also portrays his Queen, Henrietta Maria.  The second is of Henrietta Maria with her dwarf Sir Jeffrey Hudson [5].  (The first is in the Royal Collection and the second is in the National Gallery of Washington.)  Both Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) and Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) were particularly influenced by Van Dyck and based their style on the Grand Portrait. Reynolds founded the Royal Academy in 1768 and was its first President. In Marble Hill there are three paintings by Reynolds.  One is in Miss Hotham’s Bedchamber, which is of Lady Diana Beauclerk (c. 1763) [6] who in her later years lived at Little Marble Hill, which was demolished in the 19th century.  The other two are in the Gallery, one is of Lady Juliana Penn (1729-1801) c. 1767 [7].  She was married to Thomas Penn (1702-1775) who was the son of William Penn the founder of Pennsylvania.  Secondly there is a relatively early painting of an Unknown Man (c. 1748) [8], which lacks the grand style which Reynolds is generally known for.  In the Gallery, there is also a portrait of the Rev. Joseph Amphlett c. 1758, by Gainsborough [9].  The portrait was almost certainly painted when Gainsborough was relatively unknown, just before leaving Suffolk for Bath in 1759, where his career took off and his success enabled him to set up his studio in Pall Mall in 1774 as one of the country’s leading portrait painters


    In the Dressing Room, there are beautiful pendant portraits of Abraham Ackworth [10] and Margaretta Ackworth [11] by Thomas Hudson (1701-1779) dated 1745, which are almost certainly painted at the time of their marriage.  Hudson is not so well-known today, but was famous in his own day and Reynolds was briefly apprenticed to him.  William Hogarth (1697-1765) is represented by a modest painting of the Rev. Sir Robert Pye (c. 1731) [12], which is also in the Dressing Room.  Hogarth is of course very well-known for his portraits and series of “moral” paintings  and also for running St. Martin’s Academy, our first art school, from 1734 until his death in 1765, which played a major part in developing the Rococo style in England. In the Gallery there is also a painting by Allan Ramsay (1713-1784) of Admiral Bridge c. 1747 [13].  Ramsay came from Scotland but worked primarily in London and was appointed painter-in-ordinary to George III and painted his famous coronation portrait.

    John Moses
    Chairman 

     

    Appendix

    1. Charles Jervas (c.1675-1739) : Henrietta Howard


    Date painted: 1724
    Oil on canvas, 97.2 x 117 cm
    Dressing Room, Marble Hill House


    2. Charles Jervas (c. 1675-1739) : Lady Mary Wortley Montagu 



    Not in Marble Hill House
    Oil on Canvas, 75.5 x 63 cm
    Collection: Chawton House Library


    3. Charles Phillips (1708-1747) : George II (1683–1760) in the Library of St James's Palace



    Date painted: c. 1738
    Oil on canvas, 112 x 86 cm
    Gallery, Marble Hill House


    4. Anthony van Dyck : Charles I (1600–1649) and Prince Charles (1630–1685) 



    Date painted: 1632 - copy of original which is in the Royal Collection, Windsor Castle
    Oil on canvas, 233.5 x 147 cm
    Great Room, Marble Hill House



    5. Anthony van Dyck : Henrietta Maria (1609–1669) with her Dwarf, Sir Geoffrey Hudson



    Date painted: 1633 - copy of original which is the National Gallery of Art, Washington
    Oil on canvas, 236 x 143.5 cm
    Great Room, Marble Hill House


    6. Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792):���  Lady Diana Beauclerk (1734-1808)



    Date painted: 1763–1765
    Oil on canvas, 127 x 101.6 cm
    Miss Hotham's Bedchamber, Marble Hill House


    7. Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792): Lady Juliana Penn c. 1767 
    [Image not currently available]



    8. Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792): Portrait of a Gentleman (c. 1748)




    Date painted: 1748
    Oil on canvas, 76 x 63.5 cm
    Gallery, Marble Hill House


    9.  Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788):  Rev. Joseph Amphlett (c. 1758)
    [Image not currently available]


    10.  Thomas Hudson (1701-1779):  Abraham Ackworth (1719–1781)



    Date painted: c.1745
    Oil on canvas, 127 x 101.6 cm
    Dressing Room, Marble Hill House


    11. Thomas Hudson (1701-1779):  Margaretta Mabella Ackworth  (1727–1794)



    Date painted: 1725–1750
    Oil on canvas, 127 x 101.6 cm
    Dressing Room, Marble Hill House


    12.  William Hogarth (1697-1765):  Sir Robert Pye Bt (c. 1696-1734)



    Date painted: c1731
    Oil on canvas, 42.9 x 33.7 cm
    Dressing Room, Marble Hill House


    13.  Allan Ramsay (1713-1784):   Admiral Bridge (c. 1747)



    Date painted c1747
    Oil on Canvas, 72.5 x 60.5 cm
    Gallery, Marble Hill House

    Back
     


    Notes on the Servants at Marble Hill House


















    Whilst sparse, the records and correspondence give us some information on the servants in the house.  They are mentioned in letters, and in wills. The following notes are by Bruce Gordon-Smith, an MHS guide.

    Susan (housekeeper) / Susanna Graydon (housekeeper)
    The earliest reference to a servant is in a teasing letter written to Henrietta by Alexander Pope, the poet.  Pope describes to Henrietta a visit, made in her absence, by him and his friends to the partially completed Marble Hill House.  The date is June 20th 1726.

     "We cannot omit taking this occasion to congratulate you on the increase of your family, for your cow is very happily delivered of the better sort, I mean a female calf.  We have given her the name of Caesar’s wife Calpurnia. This Roman lady was suckled by a cow from whence she took that name.  In order to celebrate this birthday, we had a cold dinner at Marble Hill.  Mrs Susan offered us wine upon the occasion – we could not refuse it.  Our entertainment consisted of flesh and fish and the lettuce of a Greek island called Cos.  We have some thoughts of dining there tomorrow, to celebrate the day after the birthday and on Friday to celebrate the day after that, where we intend to entertain Dean Swift”.

    Mrs Susan is clearly the housekeeper or maybe the cook – or both. The question arises whether this Susan is the same person as the housekeeper Susanna Graydon, given a bequest in the 1758 Will.

    Miss Beddingfield (companion)
    The next example shows Henrietta showing a very keen interest in the welfare of her niece Dorothy Hobart.  Following the death of Henrietta’s sister in law, Dorothy was sent to live at Marble Hill.  The year is 1741, the month April and George Berkeley exchanged letters with his wife about a distant relative Miss Beddingfield who was acting as companion or governess to Dorothy.

    On April 4th Henrietta writes:

    “Miss Beddingfield was much ruffled this morning (by Dorothy). You remember that the night before you went I was under great apprehensions that her little companion would engage her in an affair very improper for her. But I do think it is now perfectly well settled without her knowing anything of it.” 

    What this was all about we do not know but on April 21, George adds his comments:

    “I was always apprehensive that Dorothy might learn ill tricks from Mrs Beddingfield and keeping such constant company with that paralytic woman might in time shake herself, if you did not prevent that bad habit.” 

    The problem was clearly sorted out – for the moment.

    John Finch (valet)
    George Berkeley had his own personal valet John Finch. Henrietta must have regarded him with affection because he was given £10 quarterly for life – or £40 a year - in her 1758 Will.  This will received probate in 1767/8 so he did receive this money if he was still alive.

    Mr Russell (Butler)
    No Information

    Mr Burrows (Steward) 
    Mr Burrows was living in a property on the estate until 1768/69.  He may have been the Steward to Henrietta since it would be unusual for a servant of lesser rank to be allowed to live in a farmhouse on the estate with six acres of land attached. The land was formally leased out in 1769.  Marie Draper states that he worked for Henrietta Howard in her book “Marble Hill House and its owners” (GLC 1970, chapter 8 – page 
    48).

     
    Elizabeth Richards (Lady’s maid)
    Elizabeth Richards, the lady’s maid, faithfully cared for Henrietta during her last years of illness.  Henrietta held Elizabeth in such high regard that she gave her a legacy of £100 in the 1765 Will. This was a huge amount to give a servant for the time. However it appears she may not have received it as probate was granted on the earlier 1758 will. The list of furniture in the 1767 inventory for the large servant garret on the second floor far exceeded the sparse furniture provided for the other garret bedrooms. Mrs Elizabeth Richards is the most likely occupant of this room, and the furnishings reflect Henrietta’s high regard for Elizabeth.

    Thomas Hurd (Footman to Henrietta)
    Thomas Hurd, was given £6 annually for life in the 1758 will. 

    Other Staff
    Junior roles were housemaid, kitchen maid, scullery maid and footman. Outside servants were coachman and gardener.  We know the names of the three maids Miss Betty, Miss Mary and Miss Dolly but we are not told which positions they occupied.

    Moody the Gardener
    Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope thought that Henrietta's gardener, Moody, passed too much time spending his wages tippling in the Dog and Partridge.  Swift commemorated him in poetry, adopting the persona of Marble Hill House complaining about not having its lawns brushed enough:
     
    Him [Alexander Pope] twice a-week I here expect,
    To rattle Moody for neglect;
    An idle rogue, who spends his quartridge
    In tippling at the Dog and Partridge;
    And I can hardly get him down
    Three times a-week to brush my gown.
     

    Personal Page Boy
    William Pyne's The History of the Royal Residences (1816–1819) suggests that Henrietta Howard's page is depicted by William Kent clinging to the outside of the balustrade in Kent's Kensington Palace staircase fresco of royal servants.  



    Henrietta's Dog Fop
    Lucy Worsley, Historic Royal Places curator, has suggested the small dog which can just be seen peering through the next balustrade might even be Henrietta's dog, Fop.



    Henrietta Hotham's maid
    Henrietta Hotham great niece lived with Henrietta until the age of about fourteen and appears to have had a maid to look after her with whom she had a good relationship.  This is evidenced by Walpole's account of a New Year’s Day party in 1764. Having received a ring as a present she rushed off to show her maid.  

    Henrietta's Staff after 1760
    On the accession of George the Third in 1760, Henrietta lost her valuable royal pension of £2000 per annum.  Consequently she would have had been forced to rely on fewer servants as her financial position deteriorated.  Caroline Pegum of English Heritage puts the number of servants during the 1760's at no more than a dozen including part time staff.  Senior servants were steward / butler/ housekeeper/ cook/ lady’s maid.  It is possible that housekeeper and cook roles were combined at this time.

    Correspondence between Henrietta and Lord  Chesterfield
    Lord Chesterfield and Henrietta, assisted by Horace Walpole, engaged in a satirical correspondence whereby Henrietta and Lord Chesterfield adopted the persona of their servants.  Betty, Henrietta’s maid, is made to sound Irish, supposedly writing to Lord Chesterfield’s footman:

    "Blessid fathers, I never writ to a man in my days but our farmer and he can’t read.  But I knows he gets the Doctur to read it to him so that’s no sin you know. Well, well.  God’s will and my Lady’s be done. We poor folks must do as we are bid and if grate folks makes us do ill, they are ansurable for it.  I have bought me a negligee and a few odd things that I wants.  And my lady is pure well, only she coffs a little now and then all day long.  She is as good a lady as ever trod in shoolether !!!”

    Helpfully, Lord Chesterfield, in the persona of his footman, Thomas Allen, explains that servants called Mr, Mrs, or Miss with a surname denotes seniority and those similarly with just a Christian name are of lower status.  From this and other sources we can establish that Mr Burrows was the Steward, Mr Russell was the Butler and Elizabeth Richards was the Lady’s maid.  Maids of lower status were called Miss Betty, Miss Mary and Miss Dolly.

    Back

     


    Richmond Lodge



    The affair between Henrietta Howard and George, Prince of Wales (the future George II) may have begun at Richmond Lodge, probably in 1718, (Tracy Borman: King’s Mistress, Queen’s Servant).  The proximity of Richmond Lodge may also have been a factor in Henrietta’s decision to purchase land in 1724 in Twickenham to build Marble Hill.  However, Tracy Borman suggests in her biography of Henrietta that the principal reason why she built her house there, was probably because it would have been near to her close friend, Alexander Pope, who also had recently built a villa at Twickenham.  The Prince of Wales had taken a lease of Richmond Lodge, because of his obsession with hunting. Henrietta Howard said: “We hunt with great violence and every day have a tolerable chance of our neck being broken”.  Richmond Lodge was too small for all the Prince of Wales’s retinue and he rented a row of houses in 1724, which had been built in 1717 as a speculation, for his Maids of Honour, and the Row became known as Maids of Honour Row (Sally Jeffery: The Building of Maids of Honour Row, Richmond: Georgian Group Journal: 2010). Henrietta never lived there. As a Woman of the Bedchamber, she had to be on hand to wait on Princess, later Queen Caroline.

    Richmond Lodge was at the south-west corner of the present Royal Botanical Gardens.  The lodge was probably built in the early 17th century as a hunting lodge for James I, but was extensively altered and remodelled for William III again in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.  It is possible that Nicholas Hawksmoor may have been involved in the rebuilding of Richmond Lodge.  William III used it himself as a hunting lodge, then let it to a friend John Latten who assigned the lease to the Duke of Ormonde, who was a distinguished soldier, but he had to go into exile for supporting the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion.  His estates were confiscated, apart from Richmond Lodge, which was saved thanks to his brother Lord Arran.  In 1718 the Prince of Wales took the lease of Richmond Lodge from Lord Arran.

    However, in 1727 when George II became King, his wife Queen Caroline, decided to create one of the first English informal gardens.  The gardens extended from Kew all the way to Richmond Green.  She commissioned Charles Bridgeman to landscape the gardens.  He built a terrace walk along the Thames to Kew and a canal and a “wilderness” within the grounds.  Caroline also commissioned William Kent to build two extraordinary follies, The Hermitage and Merlin’s cave.  The former had busts of philosophers and the latter had waxworks with a poet, Stephen Duck, as its resident custodian.  Queen Caroline died in 1737 and no more work was done on Richmond Lodge until 1760 when George III inherited the lodge on the death of his grandfather, George II. 

    After George III married Queen Charlotte in 1761, they used the lodge as a country retreat.  He decided to have the whole park landscaped once again, commissioning Capability Brown.  The “landscaping” included pulling down the hamlet of West Shene.  This hamlet had faced the Thames at the south-west corner of the estate.  George III also instructed Sir William Chambers to build an observatory in the grounds to observe the transit of Venus in 1769.  (The observatory is still there).  George III was planning to replace Richmond Lodge with a new palace.  However in 1772, he inherited the White House, opposite the present Kew Palace, from his mother.  George III decided to make the White House his country retreat in place of Richmond Lodge.  George III had recently bought Buckingham House (now Buckingham Palace), so he had Richmond Lodge pulled down, but could not afford to replace it, as he had limited funds available .  The White House itself was pulled down in 1802.

    John Moses
     
     
    Back
     


    Thomas Hudson



    In Marble Hill in the Dressing Room there are two outstanding portraits by one of the leading portrait painters of the day, Thomas Hudson (c. 1701-1779).  The sitters are Abraham Acworth and his wife Margaret Acworth and are almost certainly pendants and probably commissioned at the date of their marriage in 1745.  Abraham Acworth was rich young man, having come into a large inheritance from his uncle and was also a clerk of the Exchequer.  His wife wrote a cook book, one of the first women to do so.  Both paintings remained in the family until 1981 when Angus Acworth bequeathed then to the NACF (now the Art Fund) which presented the paintings to Marble Hill House.  Hudson himself had been apprenticed to Jonathan Richardson who later became his father-in-law.  Joshua Reynolds was briefly apprenticed to him in 1741. Joseph Wright of Derby was also his pupil.  Like Reynolds he came from Devon and until 1740 he divided his time between Devon, Bath and London, when he established himself in London. 

    By the 1740s, Hudson was one of the leading portrait painters in London.  He was clearly influenced by the very free flowing Rococo style, which had been very much promoted in the St. Martin’s Lane Academy, run by Hogarth.  The teachers there included Gravelot and Hayman, who are both represented at Marble Hill. Hudson, alongside a number of leading painters such as Hogarth, donated paintings to the Thomas Coram Founding Hospital with a view to promoting the Foundling Hospital.  There are three paintings by him at the Coram Museum today including one George Handel and another of Theodore Jacobsen, the architect of Coram Hospital and the latter is regarded as one of his finest portraits.  Hudson very much relied on drapery painters as did Reynolds and regularly used van Aken until the latter’s death in 1749.  Hudson painted his portrait, which is in the National Portrait Gallery as is a number of his other portraits including a portrait of George II.  There are a number of portraits of naval officers at the National Maritime Museum Greenwich.  He also painted a famous portrait of Admiral Byng, which is still at the family home, Wrotham Park, Hertfordshire.  Byng is today remembered for being executed on the quarter deck of his own flagship for cowardice, when he withdrew his fleet from Minorca.  George II insisted on the sentence being carried out in spite of many pleas for clemency. 

    Hudson’s popularity declined by the end of 1750s, when Reynolds and Gainsborough were now dominating the portrait market.  Throughout his career Hudson had been an avid collector of Old Master drawings and paintings as well as works by his contemporaries.  He visited the Low Countries in 1748 and Italy in 1752. In 1753 he bought a house at Cross Deep, Twickenham, just upstream from Pope’s Villa.  He retired toward the end of the 1750s, dying at Twickenham in 1779.  His extensive private art collection was sold off in three separate sales.  Hudson is far less remembered today even though he was a very popular portrait painter in his own lifetime. It was his misfortune to be born in the age of some of our greatest portrait painters such as Hogarth, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Lawrence and Romney and from Scotland, Ramsey and Raeburn.

    © John Moses


    Back
     

     

    Ham House in the Seventeenth Century: The Cutting Edge of English Architecture






    Ham is just across the river from Marble Hill.  In late 18th century, the house was regarded as very old-fashioned.  In 1770, Horace Walpole said: ”that the house was so blocked up with trees and gates that you think yourself an hundred miles off and a hundred miles back.”  In 1872, Augustus Hare, when visiting the house said, “No half-inhabited chateau of a ruined family in Normandy was ever so dilapidated as this home of the enormously rich Tollemaches”.  Yet in the 17th century Ham could be regarded as the cutting edge of English architecture, particularly after it was remodelled by the Duke and Duchess of Lauderdale.  The house was probably built as a villa rather than as a country house and such villas were built as places for the nobility, gentry and rich merchants to escape from London.  Even in the 17th century there were a number of villas along the Thames, though their number grew substantially in the course of the 18th century.  The house was built for Sir Thomas Vasavour probably between 1608 and 1610.  It is not known who the architect was. 

    Vasavour died in either 1624 or 1625 and the house passed briefly to the Earl of Holdernesse, but he died in 1626.  It then passed to a Sir George Ramsay, and in 1633 the house came into possession of William Murray.  He was traditionally known as Charles I's whipping boy, but he was generously compensated by Charles when he became king.  Murray was a member of the Court and wished to ensure that the interiors reflected the latest fashions when he carried out an extensive refurbishment of the interior between 1638 and 1639.  The finest room, following this restoration, was probably the North Drawing Room, which included the fireplace with its twisted columns and these are almost certainly taken from the Raphael Cartoon 'The Healing of the lame man’.  Raphael based them on the columns in the old St. Peters in Rome, which was pulled down in 1506.  These columns had come from the eastern Mediterranean and were believed to have been part of the temple at Jerusalem, thus the term Solomonic columns.  The cartoons were then at the Royal Tapestry factory at Mortlake.  The design of the fireplace was probably made by a Danish artist Franz Cleyn, who was the director at the Royal Tapestry factory.  Charles I had bought the cartoons through agents in Italy.  The long gallery was likely to have been created when the house was first built, but the Great Staircase was put in as part of Murray’s refurbishment.

    The Civil War began in 1642 and Murray fought on the Royalist side and he received his peerage in 1643, when he became the first Earl of Dysart.  He went into exile after the execution of King Charles I in 1649 and died in Edinburgh in 1655.  The title passed to his daughter Elizabeth.  She married Sir Lionel Tollemache in 1648, but the family avoided having their property being sequestrated by Parliament, but it was not until the restoration in 1660, that for Elizabeth it was safe to use her title, the Countess of Dysart.  Sir Lionel Tollemache had died in 1669 and Duke of Lauderdale's first wife had died in 1671.  No major rebuilding took place until after she married the Duke of Lauderdale in 1672. 

    In the 1670s Ham House was totally remodelled.  The Duke of Lauderdale, who was Secretary of State for Scotland, was both important and rich.  It would not have been surprising if he had pulled this house down and built a more modern house.  As we know, the Lauderdales kept the original house, probably at his wife’s request, although the house was widened by creating two ranges of rooms and by filling in the area between the wings on the south side.  The architect was William Samwell (1628-1676).  One of the most important innovations by the Lauderdales was the installation of twenty six sash windows on the south front.  This appears to be one of the earliest installations of sash-windows on a large scale.  Some of the windows on the east side were double sashes, which is perhaps an early example of double glazing.  The counter-balanced sash-window was an English invention, though it had originally been thought that the counter-balanced sash-window had come from France or Holland*.  The sash windows, which we see at Ham on the south front today, were installed in the 1730s by John James.  He also remodelled St. Mary's Twickenham in 1715.

    One of the first additions in the interior was the creation of a set rooms forming the State Apartments including the Queen’s Bedchamber for the visit of Queen Catherine of Braganza, Charles II’s consort.  Ham was one of the first houses to incorporate French ideas in the planning of its rooms, such as the sets of apartments and the enfilade.  Probably the earliest example of the enfilade is in France, at Vaux-de-Vicomte near Paris, which was completed in 1662 not long before the refurbishment at Ham.  Two other important innovations at Ham were the library and the Duchess of Lauderdale's bathroom.  Ham House has the earliest surviving library in a private house.  The library and the library closet are relatively small compared to the libraries put into country houses of the late 18th century.  The duchess's bathroom was also something of an innovation for the late 17th century.  There was a set of stairs connecting her bed chamber with the bath.  It was probably a steam bath.  If it was, she would have sat on a chair and the water would have regularly warmed up by water from a jug.  In 1682 the Duke of Lauderdale died and Elizabeth Duchess of Lauderdale died in 1698, and thus the Lauderdale era came to an end.


    *In 1981 a distinguished academic Dr. Hentie Louw convincingly argued in his D.Phil. that the counter-balanced sash-window was invented in England, probably in the King's Surveyor's office at the end of the 1660s

    © John Moses

      Back  
     

    Dundas House: Marble Hill in Edinburgh





    Dundas House, Edinburgh was designed by Sir William Chambers in 1771.  Its exterior design is an exact replica of Marble Hill House apart from using the Corinthian Order rather than the Ionic and it is also built on a slightly larger scale.  Like Marble Hill, the fenestration is 1-3-1 and the centre is articulated by four pilasters crowned by a pediment, with the first floor windows emphasised to show that the piano nobile is on the first floor.  Like Marble Hill, the ground floor is rusticated.  The design of the interior was originally close to that of Marble Hill, based on a tripartite plan; but after being taken over by the Royal Bank of Scotland (1825) the interior was altered substantially over the years to meet the Bank’s needs.  

    It was built for Sir Lawrence Dundas, one of the MPs for Edinburgh, who had supported the Act of Parliament to extend Edinburgh and allow the building of what is known as the New Town.  Dundas was also the Governor of the Royal Bank of Scotland.  Coming from a relatively modest background, he made a huge fortune as an army contractor.  As well as this house in Edinburgh, he had a house in London and the Orkneys and an estate in Yorkshire.

    The reason he employed Sir William Chambers, King George III’s favourite architect, was probably to show “he had arrived”.  Chambers had already designed Duddingston House in Edinburgh for the Earl Abercorn in 1763.  Dundas House is generally regarded as the finest in the New Town and is likely that Dundas, a self made man, wished it to display his wealth. 

    A more difficult question is why Chambers, a distinguished architect in his own right and already using the new Neo-Classical style (at Duddingston House), copied the design of a house in the Palladian style, when this style was actually going out of fashion.  The answer may possibly lie in the fact that Chambers leased Whitton Park in 1765, which was designed by Robert Morris for the Duke of Argyll.  Chambers, having leased this house, was probably paying homage to Roger Morris by designing Dundas House in the style of Marble Hill House.

    © John Moses
     
    Back

     
     

    The Northey Suite






    The Northey Suite is a carved mahogany settee and set of seven side chairs.  Displayed predominantly in the Dressing Room on the first floor, each season different pieces are selected to emerge from beneath their protective case covers, revealing the lively and colourful needlework upholstery. 

    The needlework, or canvas work, was carried out in polychrome wool and silk threads using tent stitch.  This simple, diagonal, stitch has been used to depict a wide range of pastoral scenes, from grazing goats, horses, cows and a turkey, to figures playing bowls, cards and musical instruments.  The shield-shaped scenes are surrounded by borders of flowers including daisies, tulips, passion flowers and roses.  While the individual stitches that make up the pastoral scenes have been worked over a single warp and weft thread (petit point), the floral borders consist of larger stitches worked across double threads (gros point).  It was not uncommon, in the 18th century, to use a different technique for the borders, which would be subject to greater wear and tear, but the stylistic variation suggests they may have been carried out at different dates.  It is thought that the floral borders were worked by Anne Northey in about 1760 to surround the late 17th century or early 18th century panels.  Anne was the wife of William Northey, a Commissioner of Trade and Groom of the Chamber to George III.  Needlework upholstery, particularly pictorial covers, was increasingly fashionable in the first half of the 18 th century.  The covers were frequently worked by amateur needlewomen who would purchase canvas which had the design, often based upon engravings, already drawn upon it.  It was a popular activity amongst Henrietta Howard’s female friends.  For example, Lady Betty Germain (sister of Henrietta’s second husband George Berkeley) stitched the bed-hangings for her four poster bed at Knole in Kent, while Catherine Hyde, Duchess of Queensbury, who lived near by at Petersham, ‘worked’ furniture covers.

    Although the Northey Suite only became part of Marble Hill’s collections in 1972 (with a further chair acquired in 2007), Henrietta furnished her house with needlework hangings and upholstery.  As the 1767 and 1768 inventories of Marble Hill record, in the Great Room there was a needlework settee with two cushions and two bolsters, in Miss Hotham’s Bedchamber a four post bedstead with needlework curtains, and in the Gallery an armchair covered with needlework.  The Wrought Room, on the second floor, derives its name from the embroidered hangings of the bed, described in the inventory as ‘A Four post Bedstead with Curtains and Furniture to Ditto worked’.  Rather than needlework carried out using wool on canvas, ‘wrought’ traditionally referred to stitched linen.  

    Henrietta certainly had a taste for high quality textiles, as Alexander Pope may have alluded to in his An Epistle to a Lady (1735):

    She, while her lover pants upon her breast, 
    Can mark the figures on an Indian chest; 
    And when she sees her friend in deep despair, 
    Observes how much a Chintz exceeds Mohair.  


    We don’t know whether Henrietta, like Anne Northey, stitched her own furniture covers but her great niece, Henrietta Hotham, reveals some of their textile pursuits in a letter to her parents: ‘…you must get me a small knotting nedle, round at both Ends; and a Pound of the best thread for mine and my Aunts use. I wish you would get us some flax and then I shall amuse myself with the Spinning Wheel which I cannot yet get out of the Box’ adding ‘Aunt wants a Blue, and a green Gauze Handkerchief half of each will be big enough this hot weather; and a little lace to trim them’.

    ©  Dr Esmé Whittaker (Curator, Collections and Interiors/London & South East, English Heritage)
     
    Back
     
      

    Uncovering the lost landscape of Marble Hill


    With the preparation of a Landscape Conservation Management Plan, the true significance of Marble Hill's now mainly lost landscape began to be to understood.

    Alexander Pope and Charles Bridgeman are both known to have been involved in the early formation of the garden.  Letters record that they were both drawing up plans for the garden in 1724.  It was at this date that the landscape at Marble Hill began to be laid out, focusing on the land to the south of the house towards the river due to complications in land ownership.  The primary resource that has proved most useful to gaining a better understanding of the landscape is an undated plan, which is thought to have been drawn up to record a survey undertaken in 1752.  This survey allows us to capture a glimpse of the garden created by Henrietta.  The plan is incredibly detailed and shows many interesting lost features including an Ice House Seat, Ninepin Alley, Flower Garden, Green House, Mount and Kitchen Garden.  It also shows avenues of trees and the terraces leading down to the river, as well as the Ice House and Grotto which, of course, survive today.

    The design of the garden was based on the fashionable idea of the ‘ancient’ villa landscapes which had arrived in England through 16th century Italian writers such as Palladio but were popularised further in 1728 when Robert Castell published Villas of the Ancients Illustrated.  This book included illustrations supposedly showing the garden layouts that surrounded villas in Ancient Rome.  The landscape at Marble Hill incorporated a lot of these ‘ancient’ features, including a lawn in the shape of a hippodrome.  Through further research and a landscape survey we hope to better understand these features so the importance of this lost landscape can be understood and shared.

    © Emily Parker (Landscape Advisor at English Heritage)

    Back