An engraving of the second House from "Neale's Views of Seats," 1813.
Earlier Houses: The first Wimbledon Park was a Palladian villa built in the 1730s for Sarah, 1st Duchess of Marlborough. It descended to the earls Spencer and was the place where the 1st Earl Spencer's second daughter, Harriet, was born (Harriet was the subject of Janet Gleeson's 2006 book "Privilege and Scandal: The Remarkable Life of Harriet Spencer, Sister of Georgiana"). The first house burned and was demolished in 1785 and was replaced in 1800 by a second, smaller, house to the designs of Henry Holland.
House & Family History: In 1846 the second House was sold by the 4th Earl Spencer to John Augustus Beaumont, a property developer who laid out new roads and sold plots of land on the Estate for housing. The Park was purchased by the Borough of Wimbledon just before the Great War. The second House was demolished in 1949.
Collections: By 1728 Sir Robert Furnese, 2nd Bt. (died 1733), owned Andrea Sacchi's "Apollo Crowning the Musician Marcantonio Pasqualini," which was once owned by Pope Clement IX. The painting remained at Sir Robert's seat, Waldershare Park, until it passed to his cousin, Henry Furnese (Lord of the Treasury, died 1756), at Gunnersbury House. After Henry's death in 1756 the painting was purchased by the 1st Earl Spencer (1734-83), who hung it in the Great Room at Spencer House (the painting was sold by the New York City dealers Wildenstein & Co. in 1981 for £270,000 to the Metropolitan Museum of Art). Lord Spencer used Guido Reni's "Liberality and Modesty" (which had a frame designed by James "Athenian" Stuart) as a pendant painting for the Sacchi. The Reni was also purchased by the 1st Lord Spencer from Henry Furnese's estate and remained in the Spencer collection until 1979, when it was sold by the 8th Earl Spencer to Wildenstein & Co., from whom it was purchased by the American collector Peter Sharp; after Sharp's death Sotheby's sold the Reni in New York on January 13, 1994 for $618,500. At one time both the Sacchi and Reni were hung at Wimbledon Park House.
Garden & Outbuildings: Wimbledon Park was an Estate of 1,200 acres in the 18th century. The House was situated on high ground overlooking the spot where the oldest tennis tournament in the world today takes place. All that remains from the House is the Well House and the remnants of some garden walls.
Architect: Henry HollandDate: 1800
Architect: Francis SmithDate: 1732-33
Architect: James StuartDate: Date Uncertain
Architect: Roger MorrisDate: 1732-33
Title: Sotheby's Auction Catalog: The Estate of Peter Jay Sharp, Jan 13, 1994
Year Published: 1994
Reference: Item 73
Publisher: New York: Sotheby's, Inc.
Book Type: Hardback
Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
Author: Colvin, Howard
Year Published: 1995
Reference: pgs. 490, 504, 668, 889, 942
Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
Book Type: Softback
Title: Privilege and Scandal: The Remarkable Life of Harriet Spencer, Sister of Georgiana
Author: Gleeson, Janet
Year Published: 2006
Reference: pg. 4
Publisher: New York: Three Rivers Press
Book Type: Softback
House Listed: Demolished
Park Listed: Grade II
Past Seat of: Sarah, 1st Duchess of Marlborough, 18th century; John Spencer, 1st Earl Spencer, 18th century; Spencer family here until 1846.
Current Ownership Type: Demolished
Primary Current Ownership Use: Demolished
House Open to Public: No
Historic Houses Member: No