DiCamillo Companion

Montagu House (Mountague House), Bloomsbury

  • Earlier Houses: The first Montagu House was designed by Robert Hooke for Ralph, 1st Duke of Montagu, and built between 1675 and 1679. This house was noted for its grand, very French design interiors and contained outstanding ceilings by Verrio. On the evening of January 19, 1686 the house was destroyed by fire while it was being let to the 4th Earl of Devonshire for 500 guineas a year. The losses were estimated at £40,000 (equivalent to £4.5 million in 2002 values) for the house and £6,000 (£680,000 in 2002 values) for the silver plate. The first Montagu House was replaced by the second Montagu House, Bloomsbury, the subject of this record.

    Built / Designed For: Ralph Montagu, later 1st Duke of Montagu.

    House & Family History: After the burning of Hooke's first house in 1686 a new, very Parisian-style house, was designed by a French architect by the name of Pouget for the 1st Duke of Montagu. It was built in 1687 with mansard roofs and was very advanced stylistically for its time. The state apartments were all by French artists and were greatly admired by Horace Walpole. The 2nd Duke of Montagu found his father's house too large and built himself a smaller London townhouse, Montagu House, Whitehall. Following the death of the 2nd Duke of Montagu in 1749 Montagu House, Bloomsbury, was purchased by the trustees of the British Museum for £20,000, who used the house as their first premises. In the 1840s Montagu House was demolished to make way for Robert Smirke's new British Museum (the building the museum occupies today.)

    Collections: The first Montagu House contained a fine collection of paintings, with noted works by Holbein and other Old Masters. In the 1730s some fittings and furniture from the second Montagu House were removed to Boughton House, the family's Northamptonshire seat.

  • Architect: Robert Hooke

    Date: 1675-79
    Designed: First House for Ralph, 1st Duke of Montagu (burned Jan 19, 1686)

    View all houses

    Architect: ? Pouget

    Date: 1687
    Designed: Rebuilt House after 1686 fire

    View all houses
  • Title: Great Houses of London, The
    Author: Pearce, David
    Year Published: 1986
    Reference: pgs. 114-116
    Publisher: New York: The Vendome Press
    ISBN: 0865650632
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Great Drawings from the Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects
    Author: Harris, John; Lever, Jill; Richardson, Margaret
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: pg. 69
    Publisher: London: Trefoil Books
    ISBN: 0862940362
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Country Life (magazine)
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: Feb 6, 2003, pg. 58
    Publisher: London: Future plc
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Magazine

    Title: Spencer House: Chronicle of a Great London Mansion
    Author: Friedman, Joseph
    Year Published: 1993
    Publisher: London: Zwemmer
    ISBN: 0302006176
    Book Type: Hardback

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

  • House Listed: Demolished

    Park Listed: No Park

  • Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT FIRST HOUSE: Ralph Montagu, 1st Duke of Montagu, 1st Earl of Montagu, and 3rd Baron Montagu, 17th century. William Cavendish, 4th Earl of Devonshire (tenant), until 1686. SEATED AT SECOND HOUSE: Ralph Montagu, 1st Duke of Montagu, 1st Earl of Montagu, and 3rd Baron Montagu, until 1709.

    Current Ownership Type: Demolished

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Demolished

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No


Help preserve Britain’s privately owned country houses by joining Historic Houses. Use code DICAM7 for a £7 discount off a new membership that will give you access to hundreds of historic houses.

Join Now