DiCamillo Companion

Kirtlington Park (Kertlington Park) (Northbrook House)

  • Earlier Houses: Northbrook House, an older family house which stood about a mile away from the current house, was demolished when the current house was built.

    Built / Designed For: Sir James Dashwood, 2nd Bt.

    House & Family History: Kirtlington is a Palladian style house of nine bays and two stories over a rusticated basement that was built of local stone for Sir James Dashwood in the mid-18th century. Sir James was a Tory and a Jacobite with very traditional, conservative views; he held events at Kirtlington to support Bonnie Prince Charlie's claim to the British throne (he even planted Scottish fir trees at Kirtlington to show his Jacobite [traitorous] loyalties) and actively worked against laws that gave religious toleration to Jews in Britain. Kirtlington's piano nobile on the entrance facade is approached by a double staircase that spans the full width of the house, while walls link the main block with square pavilions topped with cupolas. The garden facade is notable for its pediment with swags of flowers and the Dashwood arms in the tympanum. Though the architects credited with its design are William Smith the Younger and John Sanderson, their work is much indebted to the designs of James Gibbs, who submitted plans (unused) to Sir James in 1741. In 1754 the Dashwoods fell upon hard times and were unable to finish the interiors; however, the work that had been completed was of the highest quality. The yellow Dining Room, designed by John Sanderson and featuring Rococo stucco work attributed to Thomas Roberts of Oxford, was sold and removed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 1931, where it remains on display today (a copy of the original Dining Room was later installed in the house). The famous Monkey Room was decorated by the French artist J.F. Clermont in 1745; it contains monkey huntsmen with the theme of the four seasons. Fireplaces were installed by Sir Henry Cheere and John Cheere in 1746 and 1748. Christopher Buxton, one of the pioneers of 20th century country house conversions and restorations, makes Kirtlington his seat today.

    Collections: An extremely fine panel carving of dead game and fish by Grinling Gibbons is set into the overmantel of the Entrance Hall, where it has probably been since Kirtlington was built in 1742. The panel very likely came from the family's earlier seat of Northbrook House, demolished at the time Kirtlington was built. A set of six circa 1760–65 Chippendale Gothick style walnut chairs, and matching settee, probably made as garden chairs for a folly or garden building at Kirtlington, are today in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (see "Images" section).

  • Garden & Outbuildings: Thomas Greening first drew up plans for the park in a formal style; these remained unused. Capability Brown later landscaped the Park in the mid-18th century.

  • Architect: Thomas Hopper

    Date: 1838
    Designed: Alterations for Sir George Dashwood, 4th Bt.

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    Architect: William Smith the Younger

    Date: 1742-47
    Designed: House (completed by John Sanderson) for Sir James Dashwood, 2nd Bt.
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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    Architect: John Sanderson

    Date: 1747-48
    Designed: Finished house (succeeding Smith the Younger) and designed interiors, all for Sir James Dashwood, 2nd Bt.

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    Architect: Lancelot Brown

    Date: 1755-62
    Designed: Park

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  • Vitruvius Britannicus: C. IV, pls. 32-36, 1767.

    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. 6, 1853.

    Country Life: XXXI, 542 plan, 1912.

  • Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - HARDBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 2008
    Reference: pgs. 425, 542-43, 900, 960
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 9780300125085
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: In Search of the Perfect House: 500 of the Best Buildings in Britain & Ireland
    Author: Binney, Marcus
    Year Published: 2007
    Reference: pg. 616
    Publisher: London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
    ISBN: 9780297844556
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Walford's County Families of the United Kingdom, 1914
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 1914
    Reference: pg. 315
    Publisher: London: Spottiswoode & Co.
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Treasure Houses of Britain, The - SOFTBACK
    Author: Jackson-Stops, Gervase (Editor)
    Year Published: 1985
    Reference: pg. 177
    Publisher: Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art (New Haven: Yale University Press)
    ISBN: 0300035530
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Buildings of England: Oxfordshire, The
    Author: Sherwood, Jennifer; Pevsner, Nikolaus
    Year Published: 1974
    Publisher: London: Penguin Books
    ISBN: 0140710450
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II

  • "Sir Bernard's Stately Homes" (1998 - TV comedy, episode 4, as Bronson House). "Father Brown" (2022 - TV series, in the episode "The Red Death").
  • Current Seat / Home of: Christopher Buxton

    Past Seat / Home of: Sir James Dashwood, 2nd Bt., 1745-79; Sir Henry Watkin Dashwood, 3rd Bt., 1779-1828; Sir George Henry Dashwood, 4th Bt., 1828-61; Sir Henry William Dashwood, 5th Bt., 1861-89; Sir George John Egerton Dashwood, 6th Bt., 1889-1909. Archibald Alexander Leslie-Melville, 13th Earl of Leven and 12th Earl of Melville, 20th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Wedding & Event Venue

  • House Open to Public: By Appointment

    Phone: 01869-350-236

    Email: [email protected]

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

    Historic Houses Member: No