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.
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 "The Toilet of Venus" (Diego Velázquez "La Venus del Espejo," 1647-51), today in The National Gallery in London, hung at Rokeby from 1813 (acquired by John Morritt, after it was smuggled out of Spain during the Napoleonic wars), until it was purchased in 1906, after a public appeal, for £45,000 by The National Art Collections Fund (www.artfund.org), and presented to The National Gallery (which also refers to the painting as "The Rokeby Venus," reference NG2057, being 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 Rokeby Venus featured in, and lent its name to, the movie "Venus," staring Peter O'Toole; at the same time as it starred in The National Gallery's special Velázquez exhibition, tracing his career and including almost half of his surviving works in existence. The House also 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.
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.