The Entrance Facade
One of a pair of chests designed by Sir Thomas Robinson for Rokeby. Attributed to Benjamin Goodison, circa 1730. Today in the collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum.
"The Rokeby Venus," Velázquez, 1647-51, formerly at Rokeby Hall, today in the collection of the National Gallery, London.
Built / Designed For: Sir Thomas Robinson
House & Family History: Sir Walter Scott visited Rokeby Hall frequently and dedicated his poem, "Rokeby" to his host. Rokeby has one of the earliest print rooms in England.
Collections: Diego Velazquez's 1647-51 "The Toilet of Venus" (aka “The Rokeby Venus,” "La Venus del Espejo”), today in the collection of The National Gallery, London, hung at Rokeby from 1813 until 1906 (see photo in “Images” section). The canvas was acquired in the early 19th century by John Morritt, after it was smuggled out of Spain during the Napoleonic wars. In 1906, after a public appeal by The National Art Collections Fund, the painting was purchased for £45,000 and presented to The National Gallery. “The Rokeby Venus” is one of only two surviving nude paintings in all of 17th century Spanish art (it was censored by the Spanish Inquisition). In late 2006 the painting featured in, and lent its name to, the movie "Venus," starring Peter O'Toole; at the same time it starred in The National Gallery's special Velázquez exhibition. Rokeby Hall today contains a unique collection of needlework pictures made in the 18th century by Anne Morritt. It's probable that a pair of George III white-painted and parcel-gilt mahogany side tables sold from Ven House June 21-22, 1999 (by Christie's for £155,500) were originally commissioned for Rokeby by Sir Thomas Robinson. On May 2, 2018 Lyon & Turnbull auctioned a number of pieces of Victorian furniture from Rokeby. The Yale Center for British Art has, in its collection, a watercolor over pencil image entitled "In Rokeby Park" by John Sell Cotman.
Vitruvius Britannicus: C. III, pl. 90, 1725.
J.B. Burke: 2.S. Vol. II, p. 221, 1855.
Country Life: XLII, 276, 300, 1917. CXVII, 1302 plan, 1955.
Title: Christie's Auction Catalog: Ven House, 1999
Year Published: 1999
Reference: pg. 110
Publisher: London: Christie's
Book Type: Softback
Title: Creating Paradise: The Building of the English Country House, 1660-1880
Author: Wilson, Richard; Mackley, Alan
Year Published: 2000
Reference: pg. 29
Publisher: London: Hambledon and London
Book Type: Hardback
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Not Listed
Seat of: Morritt family; here since 1769.
Past Seat of: Sir Thomas Robinson, 18th century. John Sawrey Morritt, late 18th century.
Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home
Ownership Details: Owned by the Trustees of the Mortham Estate.