DiCamillo Companion

Northumberland House

  • Built / Designed For: Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton

    House & Family History: Northumberland House was built in 1605 by Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, on the site of a pre-Reformation convent. In 1642 the house passed into the possession of the Percy family, later dukes of Northumberland (an illegitimate son of the 1st Duke was James Smithson [born 1765], who founded the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC). Northumberland House remained in the Percy family until it was demolished in 1874 to make way for Northumberland Avenue, which connected the newly-made Embankment with Trafalgar Square. Robert Adam's brilliant and daring Glass Drawing Room was disassembled and stored at Syon after the demolition of Northumberland House; a few bits of it are still at Syon today, though most of it was sold to Bert Crowther, who famously hired the room out for parties. In 1953 Crowther's parts of the room were purchased by the Victoria & Albert Museum; in 2002 one section of the Glass Drawing Room was installed in the V&A's new British Galleries (see photo in "Images" section). The Glass Drawing Room measured 36 by 22 feet and had eight large pier glasses, with the balance of the wall surfaces paneled with red and green glass overlaid with Neoclassical designs. In 2001 the V&A commissioned a miniature model of the Glass Drawing Room as it appeared in 1775, before its 1820 enlargement (see photos in "Images" section). The design of the ceiling was reckoned to be among Adam's richest and may have had paintings by Angelica Kauffmann. A fine painting of Northumberland House by Canaletto is now on display at the Duke of Northumberland's primary seat, Alnwick Castle in Northumberland. Northumberland House, with 370 rooms, was the largest London townhouse of the aristocracy.

    Collections: Two George II Siena marble fireplaces from Northumberland House were sold by the Percy family at Christie's November 17, 1988 for £220,000 and £176,000. A bergere chair, one of a pair of two made by Morel & Hughes, London, circa 1823, for the Ante Room to the Crimson Drawing Room at Northumberland House, is today in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. The chair is based on an antique Greek design and was probably designed by Benjamin Dean Wyatt (photo in "Images" section). An inlaid scagliola chimneypiece and heart-slab formerly in the Glass Drawing Room at Northumberland House, designed by Robert Adam, 1774, and probably made by Bartoli and Richter, is now in the Green Drawing Room at Syon House (see photo in "Images"). A pair of lacquered brass gas lights (122 inches tall) is today in the collection of the Bowes Museum, County Durham (purchased by the museum in 1960), with a matching set today at Syon House; both sets of lights were made for the first floor parade rooms of Northumberland House by William Collins in 1823.

  • Architect: Daniel Garrett

    Date: 1750s
    Designed: Alterations for 7th Duke of Somerset

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    Architect: James Paine Sr.

    Date: 1750s
    Designed: Continued alterations for 7th Duke of Somerset after death of Garrett

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    Architect: Edward Marshall

    Date: 1655-57
    Designed: Great Stone Stairs to the Garden

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    Architect: John Webb

    Date: 1657
    Designed: Designs for Dining Room and Drawing Room chimneypieces

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    Architect: Thomas Cundy, Jr.

    Date: 1820
    Designed: Rebuilt South (River) Façade

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    Architect: Robert Mylne

    Date: 1760s
    Designed: Refaced courtyard walls in stone

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    Architect: Bernard Janssen

    Date: 1605
    Designed: House, together with Christmas, for Earl of Northampton.

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    Architect: Gerard Christmas

    Date: 1605
    Designed: House, together with Jansen, for Earl of Northampton.

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    Architect: Robert Adam

    Date: 1770-75
    Designed: Interiors, including Glass Drawing Room and Ballroom, for 1st Duke of Northumberland.

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    Architect: Roger Morris

    Date: 1749
    Designed: Picture Gallery

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  • Title: Sotheby's Auction Catalog: Chatsworth: The Attic Sale, Oct 5-7, 2010
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 2010
    Reference: pg. 303
    Publisher: London: Sotheby's
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Bowes Museum Guidebook, The
    Author: Conran, Elizabeth; Crossling, Bryan; Coutts, Howard; et al.
    Year Published: 1992
    Reference: pg. 75
    Publisher: London: Scala Publications
    ISBN: 1870248945
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Great Houses of London, The
    Author: Pearce, David
    Year Published: 1986
    Reference: pgs. 30-31
    Publisher: New York: The Vendome Press
    ISBN: 0865650632
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Genius of Robert Adam: His Interiors, The
    Author: Harris, Eileen
    Year Published: 2001
    Reference: pgs. 95, 101, 103
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press (London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art)
    ISBN: 0300081294
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Syon Park Guidebook
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: pg. 34
    Publisher: UK: Beric Tempest
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Light Softback

    Title: British Galleries, 1500-1900, A Guide Book, The
    Author: Winch, Dinah
    Year Published: 2001
    Publisher: London: Victoria & Albert Museum
    ISBN: 1851773622
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Lost London: A Century of Demolition and Decay
    Author: Hobhouse, Hermione
    Year Published: 1979
    Publisher: London: Macmillan
    ISBN: 333198263
    Book Type: Softback

    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

    Title: Disintegration of a Heritage: Country Houses and their Collections, 1979-1992, The
    Author: Sayer, Michael
    Year Published: 1993
    Publisher: Norfolk: Michael Russell (Publishing)
    ISBN: 0859551970
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Demolished

    Park Listed: Destroyed

  • Past Seat / Home of: Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton, 17th century. Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset, 18th century. Hugh Percy (Smithson), 1st Duke of Northumberland and 18th Earl of Northumberland; Percy family here from 1642 until demolition in 1874.

    Current Ownership Type: Demolished

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Demolished

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No