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
THE PRINCE OF DECORATORS
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 PRINCE OF DECORATORS
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,
THE BEST IN ENGLISH DECORATION
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 BEST IN ENGLISH DECORATION
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 PRINCE OF DECORATORS

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 PRINCE OF DECORATORS
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
THE PRINCE OF DECORATORS
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 PRINCE OF DECORATORS
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,
PRINCE OF DECORATORS
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,
PRINCE OF DECORATORS
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,
mingtangevans.com
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.
Image from COUNTRY HOUSES
OF THE COTSWOLDS
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
SEZINCOTE CASE STUDY
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 www.sezincote.co.uk.

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

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.
RIBA.
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.




Friday, June 27, 2014

Viscountess Rothermere at Ferne Park

The entrance (north) front of Ferne Park,
the home of Viscountess Rothermere.
Built 2000 to 2002 to designs by Quinlan Terry.
Image via QFT.
After the sale of Daylesford (see previous posts on the quintessential Cotswolds country house here, here, here, and here) to Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza, was Viscount Rothermere left without a proper country seat?  Not for long.  Jonathan Harmsworth, 4th Viscount Rothermere (born 1967, son of Vere and Pat "Bubbles" Harmsworth, see earlier post here), built an exemplary new country house, 2000 to 2002, on the 200 acres known as Ferne Park.

An aerial view of Ferne Park.
Image via QFT.
The present house is the third that had stood on the site with a view to the Dorset Hills.  The second house had been demolished in 1965.  The Harmsworths had been looking for a property with views and old out-buildings that could be developed;  Ferne Park filled those requirements.  The local planning authority had three restrictions that were gladly respected:  the house must be built of local stone, be classical in design, and be no larger than the previous house that had occupied the site.  As of this writing, Viscount Rothermere spends most of his time at his chateau in the Durdogne where he is visited by his wife and children who otherwise live at Ferne Park.

The approach to Ferne Park is on an angle
rather than axial, characteristic of
many Palladian buildings.
Image via QFT.
Claudia Caroline Clemence Harmsworth, the Viscountess Rothermere, was familiar with the work of classicist English architect Quinlan Terry who with his son Francis are principals in the firm Quinlan Francis Terry LLF in Dedham, England; subsequently, the firm was engaged to create a new classical mansion on the property.

The entrance elevation of Ferne Park
drawn by Martyn Winney.
Image from RADICAL CLASSICISM: THE ARCHITECTURE OF QUINLAN TERRY
One of the inspirational models for the new house was Came House, built in 1754, in Winterborne Came, Dorset.  Lady Rothermere thought it an imbalance, however, to have the three smaller upper windows between the engaged columns.  So the upstairs windows at Ferne Park are all the same size. (There is no traditional hard-and-fast rule on this, it must be noted.  There are other examples of similar houses of the eighteenth-century that also had all the upstairs windows the same size).

Came House, Dorset, influenced the
design for Ferne Park.
Image via Wikipedia.
The house has views to both Dorset and Wiltshire, both having rich resources of building stone.  Four different stones were used on the exterior of the house with the slight variations adding to the visual interest.

The entrance elevation of Ferne Park.
Photo via QFT.
The principle stone used for the facades was Chilmark stone, a Jurassic oolitic limestone.  In the 13th century, it was used for Salisbury Cathedral; in the 16th century, for Langford Castle; and in the 17th century for Wilton House.

The entrance elevation of Ferne Park
showing the subtle variation of stones.
Photo from RADICAL CLASSICISM:
THE ARCHITECTURE OF QUINLAN TERRY
Portland stone, another local Jurassic oolitic limestone, was used for the rusticated basement story, the columns, the entablature, and the chimneys.  Andrew Tanser carved the Rothermere coat of arms for the pediment, a feature seen in almost all the houses Palladio illustrated in Quattro Libri (The Four Books of Architecture).
The capitals of the engaged columns
are over 6 feet tall and in the composite style.
Photo via RADICAL CLASSICISM
THE ARCHITECTURE OF QUINLAN TERRY


Quinlan Terry's drawing of the capital
and corner pediment of Palladio's
S.Giorgio Maggiore, Venice,  1564 to 1580,
a model for the capitals at Ferne Park.
Image via RADICAL CLASSICISM
THE ARCHITECTURE OF QUINLAN TERRY
 
A detail of the door surround of the main entrance.
Photo from RADICAL CLASSICISM:
THE ARCHITECTURE OF QUINLAN TERRY.
 


The Rothermere coat of arms, supporters, and crest
fill the  entrance front pediment of Ferne Park.
Photo from RADICAL CLASSICISM
THE ARCHITECTURE OF QUINLAN TERRY.
 
Upper Greensand sandstone, another local stone but of the post-Jurassic period, was also used.  This pale green-ish gray stone was used as ashlar in many of the important 18th century Dorset buildings.

The long cheek walls of the entrance stairs
was inspired by the Temple of Antionius and Faustina,
Rome, AD 141.  From Palladio, I QUATTRO LIBRI, 1570.
Image via RADICAL CLASSICISM:
THE ARCHITECTURE OF QUINLAN TERRY.
 
The fourth stone, not local, was York stone.  For durability, it was used for the entrance front staircase and the south terrace paving.

The Garden (South) Elevation of Ferne Park.
Photo from RADICAL CLASSICISM:
THE ARCHITECTURE OF QUINLAN TERRY.
Quinlan Terry's drawing of the design
for the south terrace balustrade at Ferne Park.
Image from RADICAL CLASSICISM:
THE ARCHITECTURE OF QUINLAN TERRY.
 
The balusters of the (south) garden terrace utilize a design of alternating forms in order to meet building safety regulations that would prevent a child from falling through.  A Baroque rhythm, such as that used at Longhena's Ca' Pesaro in Venice, 1649 to 52, provides an appropriate solution to modern demands on classical architecture.

Jonathan and Claudia Harmsworth,
the Viscount and Viscountess Rothermere.
Photo by Francois Halard for Vanity Fair,
November 2006, via Indy Media.
Although the floor plans were well thought out in terms of proportion and natural light, they might not be suitable to the lifestyles of many American billionaires in terms of expected convenience.

A collage of images of Ferne Park by
Francois Halard for Vanity Fair ,
via Indy Media.
That said, the simplicity of plan does allow some grand Georgian rooms with handsome details.  Interior designer Veere Greeney was brought in early in the design process to help create a comfortable décor compatible with the architecture.

Another collage of images of Ferne Park by
Francois Halard for Vanity Fair,
via Indy Media.
 
In an article for Country Life magazine, May 5, 2010, David Watkins writes, "Oil paintings, watercolours, drawings and engravings of an exceptionally wide range of dates and styles, create the impression of a collection that has grown over many years.  All the [bathtubs] are old ones that have been refurbished, but there are no coloured marbles or gold taps in the bathrooms, which are plain and discreet."

The Entrance Hall of Ferne Park.
Photo via QFT.
When the house is filled with guests, the Entrance Hall also serves as a Sitting Room.  The doorway behind the folding screen leads to the service stairs and, beyond, the Kitchen.  On the opposite wall, there is a doorway to a vestibule with a coat closet and powder room, with a sitting room beyond.

The Staircase of Ferne Park.
Photo via QFT.
It is difficult to see in this photo of the stairs, but there are 'Venetian' or 'Palladian' windows, an arched head window flanked by a narrow flat head window, on both the first (main) and second floors at each end, as the house was originally built.

The Drawing Room at Ferne Park.
Photo via veeregrenney.com
The Drawing Room on the center of the south side has a shaped, ornamented plaster ceiling.  On either side is a Dining Room (which later became the Breakfast Room) and the Study.

Veere Grenney's fabric "Ferne Park."
Photo via Veere Grenney Associates
No views of the second floor have been published, but this photo of designer Veere Greeney's fabric "Ferne Park" might offer a glimpse.  It appears to be the corner of tailored bedhangings, the be-ribboned flat-pleated corner of the canopy in a Georgian room.  (T.D.C.'s note:  this detail was later discovered to be from the designer Veere Grenney's own bedroom).

The gardens of Ferne Park were designed
by Rupert Golby.
Paul Highnam photo via gardenmuseum.org.
The gardens, designed by Rupert Golby, are occasionally open to the public to benefit charities or non-profit organizations.  Such was the case on at least two occasions earlier this year.

The garden front of Ferne Park
viewed through a gate.
Photo via QFT.
Check the Events website of the Garden Museum for the schedule of Garden Open Days for private gardens that are open on behalf of the Garden Museum Development Appeal which supports the creation of the Garden Design Archive.  It is an excellent way to visit exceptional properties such as this.

Another garden gate view at Ferne Park.
Photo via Southern Spinal Injuries Trust.
There are several entrances to the estate and one still maintains a carriage entrance for the second house that stood at Ferne Park.

Original gateway from the second Ferne Park.
Photo via Images of England.
Architect Quinlan Terry used the original design as a model for a larger, modern entrance that was an interpretation of the historic precedent.

Quinlan Terry's entrance gateway to Ferne Park
based on the design for the previous house.
Photo via Indy Media.
The outbuildings from the time of the second house were made more picturesque in some instances and renovated to suit modern needs of the family.

An outbuilding at Ferne Park that has
been renovated and adapted to modern use.
Photo via MOULDING.
In 2006, an application was made to extend the main house.  Adding a Library on the west and a Dining Room on the east main floor level, plus a Billiard Room and additional service areas on the basement level, the extensions maintained the symmetry and original design concept of the house.

The extended garden front at Ferne Park.
Photo from private collection.
False windows of the north face in the added rooms conceal a fireplace and chimney.  Venetian/Palladian windows look out to the garden.

The extended east end of Ferne Park
showing the Library addition.
Photo via MOULDING.
The main house won The Georgian Group award for the Best Modern Classical House in 2003.  In 2008, The Georgian Group cited the added Pavilion, also designed by Quinlan and Francis Terry, with the award for Best New Building In The Classical Tradition.

The Pavilion at Ferne Park.
A loggia spans this side of the new building.
Photo via The Georgian Group.
William Kent's Praeneste at Rousham in Oxfordshire was given as the inspiration for the new Pavilion.  A seated statue of the influential philosopher Immanuel Kant is placed in the ornamental pool.

The Pavilion at Ferne Park.
Photo via MOULDING.
There has been much speculation in the British Press that the Viscount's French residency status is a scheme to avoid paying British taxes.  As there are several other countries that would have a much more favorable tax structure than France, that theory is inconclusive.  In any case, the new construction at Ferne Park is a great monument to new classicism in residential design and what can be accomplished with talent, taste, and a lot of money wisely spent in the concentrated effort.

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