The Entrance Facade from "Vitruvius Britannicus," 1767.
The Garden Facade from "Vitruvius Britannicus," 1767.
One of a set of chairs made for Kirtlington, today in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
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
House & Family History: Kirtlington was built of local stone for Sir James Dashwood. The House is of nine bays and two stories over a rusticated basement. There is a piano nobile that is approached by a double staircase that spans the full width of the House. Low walls link the House with square pavilions topped with cupolas. The Garden Facade has a 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) in 1741. In 1754 Dashwood fell upon hard times and was unable to finish the interiors; however, the work that was completed is of the highest quality. The rococo stucco work, in the French style, is attributed to Roberts of Oxford. In the Saloon the overmantel is a relief of game and fish, carved virtually in the round and attributed to Grinling Gibbons; it is claimed to have been removed from Northbrook House, the Dashwood seat that was demolished in 1750. The Dining Room, designed by Sanderson, 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 country house conversions, 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 probably came from the family's earlier seat of Northbrook House, demolished at the time Kirtlington was built. A set of six circa 1750–65 Gothick-style walnut chairs and matching settee in the manner of Chippendale, and probably made as garden chairs for a folly or garden building at Kirtlington, is now in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (see photo in "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, 1755-62.
Architect: William Smith the YoungerDate: 1742-46
Architect: John SandersonDate: 1742-46
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: 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
Book Type: Hardback
Title: Walford's County Families of the United Kingdom, 1914
Year Published: 1914
Reference: pg. 315
Publisher: London: Spottiswoode & Co.
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)
Book Type: Softback
Title: Buildings of England: Oxfordshire, The
Author: Sherwood, Jennifer; Pevsner, Nikolaus
Year Published: 1974
Publisher: London: Penguin Books
Book Type: Hardback
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Grade II
Seat of: Christopher Buxton
Past Seat of: Sir James Dashwood, 2nd Bt., 18th century; Sir Henry William Dashwood, 5th Bt., 19th century. 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: Private Home
Ownership Details: House is available as a wedding venue.