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Davenport House

  • Built / Designed For: Henry Davenport

    House & Family History: The 16th century Italian architect Palladio was a huge influence on English country house architecture, but while many houses, including Kedleston Hall and Nostell Priory, aspired to adopt the ground plan of his Villa Mocenigo, few houses were actually built with the main block and four outlying linked pavilions. Davenport House is one such house, although, unlike that other Mocenigo plan house, Holkham Hall, it is built largely of mellow red brick to provide an essentially English Baroque response to the grand Italian design initiative. Designed by Francis Smith of Warwick prior to 1726 for Henry Davenport, who had an Indian fortune to spend, the house has superb plasterwork and joinery. The entrance hall and staircase hall's walls are treated like rusticated masonry, with a grand plaster trophy of arms over the chimneypiece conceived to give the impression of a grand Italian cortile. The saloon, axially placed behind the entrance hall, could not be a greater contrast (with intricate marquetry inlay panels and a superb view across a great circular pond basin) to the rolling valley of the River Worfe below. Davenport stands at the heart of an estate that is still owned by the Davenport family. (We are most grateful to Gareth Williams for this history of Davenport House.)

  • Architect: Francis Smith

    Date: Circa 1726
    Designed: House for Henry Davenport

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  • John Bernard (J.B.) Burke, published under the title of A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, among other titles: Vol. II, p. 213, 1853.

    Country Life: CXI, 1996, 1952. CXII, 40, 114, 1952.

  • Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - HARDBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 2008
    Reference: pg. 944
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 9780300125085
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Smith of Warwick: Francis Smith, Architect and Master-Builder
    Author: Gomme, Andor
    Year Published: 2000
    Reference: pg. 184
    Publisher: Lincolnshire: Shaun Tyas
    ISBN: 1900289385
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II*

  • Current Seat / Home of: Roger and Jane Murphy

    Past Seat / Home of: Henry Davenport, early 18th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

    Ownership Details: House is owned by the Davenport family and leased to Roger and Jane Murphy. Davenport is available for events and is not open to the public, though a restaurant is open on a limited basis.

  • House Open to Public: Limited Access

    Phone: 01746-716-221

    Fax: 01746-716-021

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: http://www.davenporthouse.co.uk

    Historic Houses Member: No