Sunday, July 27, 2014

Eyford Park, Reprised

The manor house of Eyford Park, Gloucestershire.
Photo via Number One London.
There apparently has been a glitch in the publishing of the previous post for readers of The Devoted Classicist who subscribe to receive these essays via Follow By Email; "Eyford Park, England's Favorite House" was not sent out, or at least, it was not received by all.  The service is out of the blogger's control, but if the post has been missed, this should solve the problem by clicking on the link here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Eyford Park, England's Favorite House

The entrance to Eyford Park, Gloucestershire,
designed by Guy Dawber and built 1911 to 1912.
Photographed by Paul Barker, published 2004.
Country Life Picture Library.
Concluding - at least for now - the series of a dozen consecutive posts with a connection to the quintessential English country house Daylesford (starting with Pat "Bubbles" Rothermere here from April, 2014), Devoted Readers are asked to consider the house known as Eyford Park.  Country Life magazine named the private residence "England's Favorite House" in a 2011 contest of over more than 150 properties judged by Emma Bridgewater, Annabel Astor, Charlie Brooks and "Downton Abbey" creator Julian Fellowes.

Eyford Park, the entrance (north) front,
photographed by Paul Barker, published 2004.
Country Life Picture Library.
Although not the grandest or even the most architecturally significant, Eyford Park has "that elusive quality, a homely [editor's note:  yes, this is correctly used; see comments] warmth that simply makes you want to live there.  This is a testament to the skills of the family that has owned it for three generations," the Country Life committee said in a press release.  Sir Cyril Kleinwort with Lady Kleinwort bought the estate in December, 1972, with their giving up nearby Sezincote to one of their daughters.  Later, Eyford Park was bequeathed to their daughter Charlotte Herber-Percy who lived in the main house until about 2010 when she passed it on to her daughter Serena Prest.  Mrs. Heber-Percy then moved to the converted stable block.

Eyford Park, aerial view from the south.
English Heritage, View Finder.
Local legend has it that John Milton began writing Paradise Lost in the first house on the property, built as a retreat in the 1640s.  A second house was built, this time in the location as the present house, as an Italianate mansion in the 1870s by the Cheetham family.  Although the lodge still remains, that house was demolished by John Cheetham to build the current house, commissioned in 1911 from architect Guy Dawber.

A portrait of the architect Sir Guy Dawber
by William Orpen, 1930, from the RIBA collection
via BBC Public Catalog Foundation.
Guy Dawber became a great admirer of the vernacular architecture of the Cotswolds early in his career, working as clerk of the works during the construction of Batsford Park (later inherited by the father of the famous Mitford sisters) near Moreton-in-Marsh after an apprenticeship in Dublin.  Dawber started his independent practice in 1890 in London, soon becoming well known for middle-sized stone country houses, often in the revival Tudor or Late Stuart styles.  In 1925, Dawber founded the Council for the Preservation of Rural England after writing extensively on the vernacular buildings of the Cotswolds, Kent, and Sussex.

The west end of Eyford Park.
Country Life Picture Library.
While it can be tricky to apply a label of architectural style on every house, The Devoted Classicist would called this an Arts & Crafts house of the later period where classicism become more into play than the more medieval aspects that were hallmarks of the early days of the movement.  Some would call it (English) Queen Anne (which is different from the earlier period of that name in the U.S.) and some would call it Edwardian.  In any case, there is no question that it is anything less than a spectacularly handsome house.  It is Grade II listed.

An oblique view of the south (garden) front
of Eyford Park.
Country Life Picture Library.
Although there are some quirky features that resulted from an apparent pre-construction revision to make the house slightly smaller, compromises are not immediately evident on the entrance (north) front or the garden (south) front.  Inside, some of the uses of the rooms have changed to suit the needs of the current owners and some spaces have changed with opening of walls and rearranging partitions.

The north garden at Eyford Park
in a 2008 photo by Paul Barker.
Country Life Picture Library.
"What I've been trying to do is to modernize it and make it more child friendly," Mrs. Prest told Country Life.  "I hope we've hit the right note, with baths that work (they never really did in my grandmother's time) and yet none of that modern, hotel-like feel of interior design.  Eyford is not a Chatsworth or a Blenheim - it only has six bedrooms - but it's really alive.  Each day, I pinch myself at how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful, peaceful, yet practical house."

A detail of the site plan of Eyford Park.
The area in pink indicates a proposal for an indoor
swimmng pool in a portion of the converted stable block.
Drawing via public documents.
Guy Dawber laid out the gardens in the 1920s, but the Kleinworts brought in Graham Stuart Thomas in 1976 to improve the landscaping, as he had done at Sezincote; he returned again during the ownership of Mrs. Heber-Percy.  And John Fowler of Colefax & Fowler was consulted on the decoration, as also he had done at Sezincote.

The proposed floor plan for Eyford Park.
(Not as built)
"Recent Designs in Domestic Architecture"
The Billiard Room and the Housekeeper's Room were deleted, along with the Kitchen wing.  The Drawing Room was made longer, but the fireplace was left off-center.  Later, a flat roof garage was added on the east end; it now has a rooftop conservatory.  The Hall was later made into the Dining Room and the Business Room was later made into the Breakfast Room.  Presumably, the original Dining Room is now a Family Room.

The garden side of Eyford Park as originally
proposed in a circa 1910 rendering.
"Recent Designs in Domestic Architecture"
"About 60% of the carpets and curtains and 90% of the furniture are my grandmother's," Mrs. Prest told Country Life.  It is not difficult to see the influence of John Fowler in the Drawing Room, for example.

The Drawing Rom of Eyford Park
as photographed by Paul Higham,
and published in 2011.
Country Life Picture Library.
In 2004, Penelope Reeve was brought in to paint murals on the walls of the space that became the Dining Room.

The Dining Room, originally the Garden Hall.
Country Life Picture Library.
A series of scenes inspired by the canals of Venice cover the walls and incorporate the members of the family, including the housekeeper.

A detail of the current Dining Room
in Eyford Park.
Country Life Picture Library.
The Breakfast Room was apparently intended as a home office for the original owner, a diplomat often in foreign service, explaining its relatively formal proportions and detailing.

The current Breakfast Room of Eyford Park.
Country Life Picture Library.
An archway was added to connect the Kitchen and Breakfast Room as a concession to modern living.

A view from the Kitchen to the Breakfast Room
in a photo by Paul Higham published in 2011.
Country Life Picture Library.
More evidence of Penelope Reeve's murals line the passage outside the Dining Room at the staircase.

A detail of the staircase at Eyford Park
in a photo by Paul Higham, published 2011.
Country Life Picture Library.
The paneling of the staircase is painted in three glazed straw tones as one comes to expect from a Colefax & Fowler scheme to highlight the architectural detailing.

The staircase at Eyford Park
in a photo by Paul Higham, published 2011.
Country Life Picture Library.
The attic (not shown) was converted to additional family use, giving "rooms where a million dogs or children can mill around."

The upstairs landing at Eyford Park.
(Photo by Paul Higham not used)
Country Life Picture Library.
Despite the accolades, Eyford Park is not particularly well-known.  The house is not open to the public but charity-related events have sometimes been held on the grounds.  Eyford Park appears on the dust jacket of Clive Aslet's book THE EDWARDIAN COUNTRY HOUSE, A SOCIAL AND ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY and the same image along with another appears inside, but other than captions, there is no accompanying text.  It is an excellent book, however, and highly recommended for those interested in the country houses built in Britain between 1890 and 1939.  Note must be made that it is a rewrite of sorts, or a new, expanded edition of Clive Aslet's 1982 book THE LAST COUNTRY HOUSES.  These titles as well as others by Clive Aslet are available for order at a discount from the published price here.

by Clive Aslet, published November, 2012.
If reading this in a format other than the standard on-line version, visit the main blog site to leave a comment, learn more about The Devoted Classicist, search the archives, and read other posts in this series with a connection to Daylesford.  And lastly, a special thanks to Devoted Readers TB and TW who generously contributed advice and images for this post.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sezincote, Part II

The Saloon at Sezincote.
Photo from private collection.
This post of The Devoted Classicist is a continuation of the previous about the exotic Moghul inspired Cotswolds house, Sezincote.  An earlier house was extensively rebuilt over a period of years starting about 1805 by architect Samuel Pepys Cockerell for his brother Charles Cockerell.  Both had worked for the East India Company and S.P. Cockerell had used Anglo-Indian motifs at nearby Daylesford.  Such drastic changes would not be allowed to a  historic house today, so it is particularly interesting to study the extent of the commitment to a residential architectural expression in terms of both artistic and social expression.

The entrance (east) front of Sezincote.
Published in Country Life magazine, 2002.
Image via Country Life Library.
Although Thomas Daniell and John Martin were also commissioned to produce drawings that would be used in the construction of Sezincote, S.P. Cockerell, and later his son, Charles Robert Cockerell were the lead architects.  Much of Sir Charles Cockerell's fortune was spent on the house and surrounding estate.  After Sir Charles' death in 1837, the house passed to his son Sir Charles Rushout Rushout [sic], 2nd Baronet Cockerell, of Sezincot [sic], Gloucestershire.  After Rushout's death in 1879, it was put up for auction in 1880 but not sold until 1884 when it was purchased by James Dugdale.  It remained in the Dugdale family until sold in 1944 (or some sources say 1946) to Sir Cyril and Lady Kleinwort.

The Basement (ground floor) Plan of Sezincote
  drawn by S.P. Cockerell, 1811.
Image via RIBA.
Some refer to it as a small large house and others as a large small house.  Although the exterior of the house was known from exhibitions and publications such as J.P. Neale's 1823 BEAUTIES OF ENGLAND, the interior was not particularly unusual and Sezincote was not part of the tours of grand country houses such as Blenheim and Chatsworth.  The interior was essentially neoclassical, a Late Georgian/Early Regency house, so the Kleinworts were not obligated to decorate it in the Indian style.  John Fowler of Colefax & Fowler may have been regarded as in his peak at this time when he was brought to Sezincote in the mid-1950s, redecorating most of the principal rooms over a period of the next few years.

The Entrance Hall at Sezincote.
Photo from JOHN FOWLER
by Martin Wood.
The Entrance Hall was decorated by Fowler to be simple but cheerful with yellow dragged glaze walls and yellow corduroy curtains.  Although elegant, there is a comfortable, inviting quality that many find so difficult to achieve.  With the relatively low ceiling height of the Basement/Ground Floor, there are no ceiling lights here, but lamps made from antique Chinese tea canisters are placed on fluted plinths at the pilasters.  The painting of Sezincote over the sideboard is one of the seven paintings commissioned by Sir Charles from Thomas Daniell; the Kleinworts were able to trace the subsequent history of the paintings and buy back six of them.
A detail of the baseboard in the Entrance
Hall of Sezincote.
Photo from JOHN FOWLER
The baseboards (or skirting boards as they say in England) were marbleized with the help of Jean Hornak according to Martin Wood in his book JOHN FOWLER, PRINCE OF DECORATORS.  The detail above shows how the visual weight is given by the marbling and how the humble fabric of the curtains is given style with the addition of a decorative tape.
The Drawing Room of Sezincote.
Photo from private collection.
The Drawing Room created by John Fowler for the Kleinworts also shows a realistic scheme to accomplish modern living in a stately home.  In this 1960s view, comfortable upholstered furniture is complimented by simple curtains, a large Oriental rug, some pictures and books.
The current Dining Room at Sezincote.
Photo from COLEFAX & FOWLER,
Judging from the ceiling height, the Kleinworts found it easier to use a room on the ground floor as their Dining Room.  In 1982, George Oakes, who had been trained by John Fowler to become one of the best decorative painters of the day, painted murals on the walls of capriccios, architectural fantasies inspired by the work of Thomas Daniell. 

Details of the George Oakes murals
in the Dining Room at Sezincote.
Photo from COLEFAX & FOWLER,
The Dining Room's chimney breast is painted with trompe l'oeil elements of Indian architecture.  The dado is painted to simulate marble.

The Stair Hall at Sezincote.
Photo from JOHN FOWLER

The Stair Hall is a windowless interior space with light coming from upper fanlights and an architectural lantern/cupola above.  Fowler had trouble with the wall color, Martin Wood wrote, and it had to be painted twice, at Lady Keinwort's expense, to achieve the pink that would age to the desired dusty hue.  Large tapestries are framed to appear as enormous paintings, an idea repeated from Cholmondeley ("CHUM-lee) Castle.  (Thanks again to Curt DiCamillo's Pronunciation Guide). 
The Upper Hall as it appeared in a 1931
photo from the archives of RIBA.
The main rooms for entertaining were originally on the story above the ground level, the Principal Floor, and there was a Chamber (bedroom) Floor above that.  The 1811 plans show the largest room on the Principal Floor being the "Eating Room," evidence of the elaborate entertaining by Sir Cockerell.  The room adjacent with the curved bay is labeled "Drawing Room" but other sources refer to it as the ballroom.  Beyond that is a large room designated as the "Breakfast Room."
The Principal Floor Plan and the Chamber Floor Plan
as drawn by S.P. Cockerell, 1811.
Image from RIBA.
Although, as it was noted in the previous post, Sir Cockerell used the north pavilion as his bedroom, the room above the entrance hall is labeled as the "Principal Bed Chamber."  Additionally, there are 3 more bedrooms and three dressing rooms in the main block, plus a wing extending to the west with Lady Cockerell's bedroom and dressing room along with what appears to be her maid's room.  Also, in that wing is another bedroom with en suite dressing room, a Nursery, a nursery bedroom, a Cook's Bedroom and another maid's room.  On the Chamber Floor, there are nine bedrooms and an assortment of dressing rooms and servants' rooms.
The current Master Bedroom at Sezincote.
Photo from JOHN FOWLER
The original Dining Room on the Principal Floor became Lady Kleinwort's bedroom.  The corona of the bed features an eagle holding the elaborate bed hanging in its beak.  The William Morris carpet of Arts & Crafts design was added after John Fowler's time.
Details of the upper wall and ceiling
of the current Master Bedroom at Sezincote.
Photo from JOHN FOWLER
John Fowler painted the walls and ceiling of Lady Kleinwort's bedroom in three shades of blue.  The detail above shows Fowler's masterful use of paint with color used to give visual depth and interest to the architectural elements.

A drawing of John Fowler's design for
curtains in Lady Kleinwort's Bedroom.
Image from JOHN FOWLER
The watercolor sketch shows Fowler's design for the curtains at the big arched window in Lady Kleinwort's Bedroom.  Made of shantung silk (often used in bridal gowns) by John Mason (the curtain-maker who had worked with Fowler to create the hangings for the famous William Kent bed at Houghton Hall) the curtains of the room help soften the grand space.  In the photo of the room, note the contrasting color in the lining of the jabots/tails.
A reflective view of the Saloon at Sezincote in a 1931 photo
showing a pair of mirrors flanking the entrance..
Image from RIBA.
The Saloon, having a sprung floor to lend credence to its former use as a ballroom, is the best known space in the house.  Fowler is thought to have been the influence behind some changes to simplify the walls and give even more focus to the curved window wall.  The pair of mirrors flanking the entrance were removed, along with the overdoor pediments to the adjoining room, and the doors to the adjoining room were brought forward.  The picture hanging rail, probably a late nineteenth-century addition, was also removed.

The Saloon at Sezincote as it was published
in a 1939 issue of Country Life magazine.
Image from Country Life Library.
The walls of the Saloon were framed with batten strips, covered with burlap, lining (probably flannel or felt; it was not specified in the research fouind), and yellow silk moire.  The "fish-eye" view of the last image of the room probably gives the most accurate rendition of color for both the walls and the curtains.
The Saloon at Sezincote
as decorated by John Fowler.
Photo from JOHN FOWLER,
Two panels of mirror fills the gap between the three pairs of French doors to the balcony, with the curtain treatment being continuous.  The elaborate treatment was meticulously recreated by Fowler with his curtain-makers, Chamberlain and Mason.  Using an illustration from Ackerman's Repository, a monthly magazine published between 1809 and 1829, as their guide, the swags required expert planning to get the desired effect.
Detail of the Saloon curtains by
John Fowler at Sezincote.
Photo from JOHN FOWLER,
The Saloon curtains' trimming of bullion fringe and bobble tassels was designed by Fowler and custom made by Clarke's, according to author Martin Wood.
The Saloon at Sezincote.
Image from private collection.
Fowler's customary 'dash of French' was given by a Louis XV bureau plat topped by a pair of candelabras fitted as table lamps with simple white card shades to give the desired pools of light.  John Fowler also decorated the Kleinwort's London house on Cheyne Walk, Chelsea.

The Oriental Bedroom at Sezincote.
Photo by Ming Tang-Evans,
Tent poles from Charles Cockerell's original bedroom in the north pavilion were used to create a new bed from the ornamental spears.  Decorator Stanley Peters furnished this room in a style in keeping with the public rooms of the house.  (The pavilion bedroom, not pictured, has been redecorated to reflect the original décor in Sir Charles' day, as a tent room with a canopy of stars printed on the underside and the walls draped in a printed cotton specially commissioned in India).

A mural in the Oriental Bedroom
of Sezincote by Geoffrey Ghin.
via Bridgeman Images
A corner of the Oriental Bedroom features a mural by Geoffrey Ghin to represent an interpretive view of the house from an imaginary folly. 

An ivory veneer chair, circa 1770,
 now at Sezincote.
Photo by Diane James via
Lady Kleinwort was able to add to the Asian collections in the house with purchases of her own.  A set of six sandalwood chairs with cane seats, veneered with ivory and detailed with black lacquer and gilt were bought at auction in the 1940s.  Believed to have been made in Vizagapatam, in the Madras district of India, around 1770, the chairs are said to have been a gift to Queen Charlotte from Warren Hastings of Daylesford.
Design for a dairy for Sezincote in the form
of a chapel by William and Thomas Daniell, 1807.
Image via RIBA.
As mentioned in the previous post on Sezincote, garden designer Humphry Repton was also a collaborator on the development of the estate.  Repton no doubt had input in the layout of features such as the carriage drive and ha-ha, but probably not the out-buildings.  A friend of Thomas Daniell, Repton had been first contacted in 1805 and invited to submit designs, but he was not experienced in the exotic styles other than the Chinese influence of the late eighteenth-century.

Floor plan and interior elevations for a dairy for Sezincote
in the Moorish style by S.P. Cockerell, 1808.
Image via RIBA.
Perhaps Repton's greatest contribution to the advancement of exotic style lies in the idea that it was the landscape architect (born 1752, died 1818) who was instrumental in getting George, the Prince of Wales, to visit Sezincote in 1807.  The commission to transform the Royal Pavilion at Brighton ultimately fell to architect John Nash, however.
A view of the south garden at Sezincote.
Photo by Beata Moore via Light Encounters.
In 1961, a tennis pavilion was added in the style of the historic architecture.  In 1965, Lady Kleinwort brought in Graham Stuart Thomas, a partner in Sunningdale Nurseries and an advisor to the National Trust, for guidance on creating gardens sympathetic to the house.

The Tennis Pavilion at Sezincote
added in 1961.
Photo by Kendra Wilson via Gardenista blog.
Today, Sezincote remains a private home, occupied by the Klienwort's grandson Edward Peake and his wife Camilla, but it can be visited.  The garden is open afternoons January to November on Thursdays, Fridays and Bank Holidays Mondays and the house is open on the same afternoons May to September inclusive. Tea and cake are served in the Orangery when the house is open for tours. Six times a year, the house and garden are available for rental for a special event such as a wedding.  For more information, visit the house's official website

Sezincote at cherry blossom time.
Photo via Petersham Properties
For all the posts in the series related to Daylesford, just clink on the name in the right-hard margin of the regular web version of The Devoted Classicist under the heading of LABELS.  Up next:  Sir Cyril Kleinwort's subsequent residence, also decorated by John Fowler.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Sezincote, from the south end of the curving Orangery.
Photo via Petersham Properties.
Continuing the series of posts related to the quintessential Cotswold country house Daylesford, Sezincote is a nearby house that was also the work of architect Samuel Pepys Cockerell.

Sezincote, set in the Cotswolds Hills
near Moreton-in-Marsh.
Photo via Petersham Properties.
Colonel John Cockerell, brother of the architect, purchased the Sezincote estate in 1795, just prior to his retirement from the East India Company.  He had served on the staff of Governor-General Warren Hastings of Daylesford, and it was common practice for the retired officers to retire near their former leader.
Sezincote, view to the entrance front.
Photo via Wikimedia.
The name Sezincote, pronounced "SEE-zin-kit" according to The DiCamillo Companion Guide to Pronunciation of House Names,  is derived from Cheisnecote, meaning the home of the oaks, "la chene" being French for an oak tree and "cot" meaning a shelter or dwelling in Old English.  This name is recorded in the Domesday Book, the record of the survey completed in 1086 to assess property holdings and their value, on orders of William the Conqueror.  The existing Jacobean gabled manor house was acquired from the Earl of Guilford.  There were some improvements by S.P. Cockerell, but John  died three years after purchase and left the property equally to his two brothers, the architect and the youngest brother, Charles Cockerell when the estate was settled in 1801.

Architect S.P. Cockerell
in a portrait by his friend George Dance, 1793.
Image from the British Museum.
Although S.P. was an established architect at the time of John Cockerell's death, his brother Charles had served profitably in India, amassing a fortune.  Charles Cockerell bought his brother's interest and commissioned him for the renovation, but rebuilding did not start until about 1805.  S.P. Cockerell was involved at nearby Daylesford between 1790 and 1796 where he introduced the "Hindoo" style.  But Daylesford was basically a neo-classical house, with the exception of the dome, with the exotic theme primarily being introduced by the furnishings and art.  Charles Cockerell wanted a more dramatic architectural statement than that presented at Daylesford.

Sir Charles Cockerell by George Hayter.
Note Sezincote in the background.
Image via Wahoo Art.
The extensively reworked and expanded house was a collaboration between the owner, his architect brother and the artist Thomas Daniell.  The garden designer Humphry Repton was also a collaborator, but to a lesser degree. 

The Basement (Ground Floor) Plan of Sezincote
in an 1805 drawing by S.P. Cockerell.
The partitions of the existing house
to be removed are noted.
Document image via RIBA.
Charles wanted the prestige of high-style architecture to advance his social status and his political career.  (He sat in the House of Commons for most of the period between 1802 and 1837, sitting for five different constituencies.  He was granted the title 1st Baronet in 1809).  Warren Hastings had commissioned William Hodges to travel through India between 1781 and 1783 to draw and paint the architecture, resulting in the publication of SELECT VIEWS OF INDIA; this was credited in influencing the dome at Daylesford.  Picking up on the practice of patronage, Charles commissioned Thomas Daniell and his nephew William to conduct a ten year study in India, painting and sketching, using a camera obscura to project the images to be traced for accuracy, returning to London in 1794; thirteen years were spent to produce ORIENTAL SCENERY in six volumes.

Sezincote in an aquatint by John Martin, 1817.
Image from Royal Pavilion, Libraries & Museum,
Brighton and Hoven.
Charles Cockerell had a genuine interest in Indian architecture and art, it would seem, despite his goal of improving his social standing.  After the 1803 British occupation of Delhi, there was a huge surge in interest for the imperial romance promised by the subcontinent.  At his Robert Adam-designed London house at Hyde Park Corner (purchased in 1793, now demolished), he displayed a bas-relief of two satyrs in front for public view.  Amid objections that the sculpture was obscene, Cockerell stood his ground on the terms that it was art, reinforcing it as a symbol of his superiority.

The north pavilion of the main house
was used by Charles Cockerell as his bedroom.
Photo: Country Life.
Cockerell's own bedroom at Sezincote was in the north pavilion, the opposite end of the house from the Orangery.  The interior was decorated in the style of a Moghul tent, no doubt reflecting on the culture of the vast empire that covered what is today India, Bangladesch, Pakistan, Afganistan, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tajikistan.  The bed faced the rising sun.

S.P. Cockerell's drawing with specifications
for the bridge at Sezincote, 1809.
Image via RIBA.
S.P. Cockerell produced drawings and specifications for all facets of the house and gardens until his retirement due to health in the 1820s, when his architect son Charles Robert Cockerell took over for him.  But Thomas Daniell produced many of the drawings used for the construction as did John Martin; both Daniell and Martin had exhibitions of the drawings that they had made for the creation of Sezincote.

Thomas Daniell's color study for the
bridge at Sezincote.
Image via RIBA.
The bridge and Serpent Fountain
at Sezincote, published 1939.
Photo:  Country Life.
The argument could be made that the auxiliary buildings at Sezincote are more exotic than the main house.  Using the main entrance to the estate, the drive crosses the River Evenlode with an 1800 to 1805 limestone bridge adorned with Brahmin bulls, originally for carriages but now used by cars; it is a Grade II listed structure.  The design of the bridge is said to be inspired by the Caves of Elephants in Mumbai Harbor. The other entrance is through the farm buildings complex which is hardly less picturesque.

An elevation drawing of the Gardener's House and Stables
at Sezincote, circa 1805, by Thomas & William Daniell.
Image via RIBA.
A view of the Gardener's Cottage in the
walled garden in a 1931 photo.
The Coachman's House in the Stable Yard
as seen in a 1931 photo.
The Farm Buildings as seen in 1931.
Photo via RIBA.
The Temple Pool is also a Grade II listed structure.  The temple is dedicated to Surya, the Hindu sun god.

Thomas Daniell's drawing of the Surya Temple.
Image via RIBA.
John Martin's 1817 view of the Temple Pool.
Image via the British Museum.
The ha-ha at Sezincote is made of local Cotswold stone.
Photo by Kendra Wilson via Gardenista blog.
Despite the exotic trappings, the main house at Sezincote is essentially a neo-classical house in both plans and elevations, but with "Moghul" elements.  The dominant feature is the weathered copper onion dome set on a plinth.

The entrance front of Sezincote.
Photo by Pippa Mackenzie Photography.
The horizontal beam over the main entrance, the shaped pillars, and the peacock tail arches over the windows of the principal floor show a Hindu influence.  The wide over-hanging eaves, chajja, to give deep shadows and the four small minarets, chattris, that mark the four corners of the central block, show the Muslim influence.

A view towards the main block of Sezincote
from the north wing, published in 1939.
Photo from Country Life Library.
The Regency period ironwork has a tracery quality reminiscent of Moghul filigree, especially now that it is painted turquoise to approximate the color of the patina on the dome.

Horse-mounting steps at the entrance to Sezincote.
Photo by Kendra Wilson via Gardenista blog.
The south front, facing the garden, has a more exotic look with the big bay and the grand curving Orangery of colored glass in a peacock tail pattern. 

The south bay of Sezincote
with the arched windows of the
Saloon above the Billiard Room.
Image via Flickr.
George, the Prince of Wales (who would become Prince Regent in 1811 and George IV in 1821), visited Sezincote in 1807 to see the uncompleted house that he had heard so much about.  Sezincote is credited with influencing the transformation of George's beloved Royal Pavilion at Brighton from a simple farmhouse into an exotic fantasy.  Starting with the riding school and stables completed by William Porden in 1808, the extensive redesign and extension of the Royal Pavilion was carried out by John Nash from 1815 to 1822.

More of the story of Sezincote, along with photos of the interior, will continue as Part II in the next post of The Devoted Classicist.  See the regular on-line version of this blog to leave a comment and to search the archive for past posts.

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