DiCamillo Companion

Chesterfield House

  • Built / Designed For: Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

    House & Family History: Chesterfield House's portico, the exterior French ironwork railings, the columns of the screen facing the courtyard, and the great marble staircase all came from Canons, the great Middlesex palace of the 1st Duke of Chandos. All of these were purchased for Chesterfield House by the 4th Earl of Chesterfield at the 1747 auction of the contents and fittings of Canons. After the demolition of Chesterfield House columns from the portico were reassembled in the Temple Lawn at Anglesey Abbey, urns and balustrades went to Buxted Park, a 1745-50 white marble chimneypiece (attributed to John Michael Rysbrack) and elements of the parcel-gilt bronze staircase balustrade went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (this balustrade, complete with interlaced "Cs" under an earl's coronet and surrounded by the arms of the Order of the Garter, was very likely made for Chesterfield House and not removed from Canons, as had been thought for many years). The chimneypiece was donated to the Met in 1956 by the Hearst Foundation; the museum purchased the balustrade (housed at Harewood House, Yorkshire, since the demise of Chesterfield House) at a Christie's auction held on July 1, 1965 in London (see "Images" section for photos of the chimneypiece and a section of the balustrade). The great marble staircase itself found its way to the Odeon Cinema at Broadstairs, London (it was destroyed by bombing during World War II). At the end of 2020 the London firm of Ryan & Smith had for sale a monumental white marble and verde antico fireplace that came from the Drawing Room of Chesterfield House (Ryan & Smith purchased the fireplace from the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia). The Chesterfield House exterior ironwork railings (cast and wrought iron with gilt iron and gilt bronze embellishments), probably made by the French ironmonger Jean Montigny in the 1720s for Canons, were listed for auction by Sotheby's in 2017 with an estimate of £150,000-250,000 (they had been sold from Harewood House in 1988); the UK government put a temporary export ban on the railings until October 2017 to enable a UK-based organization to raise the money to keep them in the country, but sufficient funds were not raised and the railings were sold to an overseas buyer. The demolition of Chesterfield House in 1937 was the catalyst for the founding of The Georgian Group. It was in the Library (see photo in "Images" section) that the 4th Earl of Chesterfield wrote his famous letters to his son.

    Collections: The 4th Earl of Chesterfield furnished his new London house with artifacts from Houghton Hall, Norfolk, including an 18-candle copper gilt lantern. A pair of vermeil casters with the arms of King George II, made 1727-28 in London by Paul Crespin and Abraham Buteaux as part of the 4th Earl of Chesterfield's ambassadorial plate service, is today in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (see photo in "Images" section). Much of the contents were auctioned onsite by Sotheby's on April 7, 1932.

    Comments: The French travel writer Pierre-Jean Grosley wrote in his 1770 book "Londres" that he considered Chesterfield House to be the equal of the great houses of the nobility in Paris. Of all the great London houses destroyed in the 20th century, architectural historians generally consider Chesterfield House to be one of the most important losses.

  • Architect: Jeffry Wyatville (Wyattville) (Wyatt)

    Date: 1811-13
    Designed: Alterations for 5th Earl of Chesterfield

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    Architect: Isaac Ware

    Date: 1747-49
    Designed: House for Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield.

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  • Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 1995
    Reference: pg. 1022, 1131
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300072074
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Buildings of England: Sussex, The
    Author: Pevsner, Nikolaus; Nairn, Ian
    Year Published: 1973
    Reference: pg. 466
    Publisher: London: Penguin Books
    ISBN: 0140710280
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: No Voice From the Hall: Early Memories of a Country House Snooper
    Author: Harris, John
    Year Published: 1998
    Publisher: London: John Murray
    ISBN: 0719555671
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Demolished

    Park Listed: No Park

  • Past Seat / Home of: Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, 1750-73; Philip Stanhope, 5th Earl of Chesterfield, 1773-1815; George Stanhope, 6th Earl of Chesterfield, 1815-66; George Philip Cecil Arthur Stanhope, 7th Earl of Chesterfield, 1866-69. Charles Magniac, 1869-91. Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood, 1922-37.

    Current Ownership Type: Demolished

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Demolished

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No