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Ditchley House Including Flanking Pavilions

A Grade I Listed Building in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.8879 / 51°53'16"N

Longitude: -1.4344 / 1°26'3"W

OS Eastings: 439020

OS Northings: 221191

OS Grid: SP390211

Mapcode National: GBR 6TH.Q4G

Mapcode Global: VHBZJ.3T13

Plus Code: 9C3WVHQ8+56

Entry Name: Ditchley House Including Flanking Pavilions

Listing Date: 27 August 1957

Last Amended: 30 August 1988

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1251422

English Heritage Legacy ID: 434119

Location: Spelsbury, West Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire, OX7

County: Oxfordshire

District: West Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Spelsbury

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Spelsbury

Church of England Diocese: Oxford

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Listing Text

18/165 Ditchley House including
27/08/57 flanking pavilions
(Formerly listed as Ditchley
Park Mansion)


Country house. 1722 by James Gibbs and built by Francis Smith for the 2nd Earl
of Litchfield; interiors by William Kent, Henry Flitcroft, Vassali, Artari and
Serena. Limestone ashlar; Welsh-slate roofs with ashlar stacks. Double-circuit
plan with quadrant links to rectangular pavilions. 2 principal storeys plus
attic storey and semi-basement; 2-storey pavilions. 11-window front of main
range, with rusticated quoins rising from a basement plinth through 2 storeys to
a heavy modillion cornice, breaks forward in the middle 3 bays, but the outer
pairs of bays project to form short wings with windows in the inner return
walls. Principal windows have 18-pane sashes with moulded eared architraves,
projecting double-stepped keyblocks, and sills carried on consoles; central
doorway, with a triangular-pedimented Gibbsian doorcase and large 8-panel double
doors, is approached by a wide flight of steps with urns on the balustrade.
Basement has plainer openings with moulded arrises; attic storey has 9-pane
windows, with moulded architraves and single keyblocks, and it rises to a
secondary cornice. Garden front is similar except that the doors are glazed.
7-window return fronts have similar details but break forward only in the middle
3 bays: left side has a further Gibbsian doorway approached by a bridge-stair
with wrought-iron balustrade; right side, facing the Lion Court, has a full
basement on which the entrance is concealed by a C20 wooden porch with paired
rusticated Tuscan columns. Parapet has a variety of large stone urns marking
angles and projections, except the front central section which has 2 lead
figures (Loyalty and Fame) by Carpentier. Lower 7 x 5-bay pavilions have hipped
roofs and tall cupolas. Windows have small-pane sashes and moulded architraves
with projecting keyblocks, at first floor the keyblocks rising to a moulded
cornice and plain parapet; central doorways have eared architraves and
triangular pediments, the left doorway now altered to a window. Middle 3 bays at
rear of pavilions are recessed. 5-bay single-storey quadrants have large sashes
and Doric pilasters supporting a triglyph entablature. Left quadrant has a
glazed colonnade to rear; 2-storey rear of right quadrant has a blind arcade
with large sashes and Doric pilasters supporting a triglyph entablature. Left
quadrant has a glazed colonnade to rear; 2-storey rear of right quadrant has a
blind arcade with large projecting keyblocks. Lead rainwater heads are inscribed
or "1722". Interior: 2-storey Hall, probably by Kent, on the theme
"Learning", has a marble chimneypiece carved by Edward Stanton and Christopher
Horsnaile below a triangular-pedimented overmantel on which recline
personifications of Arts and Sciences; further figures appear on the pediments
of a large niche opposite, flanked by Coriithian columns, and the related
doorway to the Saloon. Chimneypiece and niche are flanked by lesser pedimented
doorways and by lanterns apparently suspended by chains from lion masks. Above
the lesser doors and the large pictures by Kent which flank the Saloon doors are
busts on festooned brackets, and all around the upper part of the room are
Classical reliefs. Coved and coffered ceiling has an oval painting by Kent. The
settees and marble-topped side table are in the heavy style of Kent but may be
by Henry Flitcroft. The Saloon, decorated by the Italian stuccatori, has paired
ionic pilasters, a deep entablature, and a fine ceiling incorporting a central
relief and portrait medallions. Flanking the Hall door are reliefs of Minerva
and Diana, and an elaborate shell-headed niche, now containing a marble dolphin
buffet, faces the chimneypiece. To left, the Green and White Drawing Rooms are
by Flitcroft with fireplaces by Peter Scheemakers and Henry Cheere: the former
retains its original ceiling and pedimented Corinthian overmantel; the latter,
larger and more sumptuous, has a later Adam-style ceiling, but is otherwise
intact with gilded cornice, scroll-pedimented overmantel, and elaborate plaster
frames to portraits by Lely and Kneller. The Velvet Room, originally the state
bedroom, has a fireplace by Cheere with pedimented overmantel, and is hung with
Genoese velvet of c.1730. The Small Dining Room, formerly the Tapestry room,
retains its original marble fireplace, and has a chinoiserie frieze to the
ceiling cornice. The circuit to right of the Saloon passes through the Library,
with 2 similar fireplaces by Horsnaile and Stanton, both with black Corinthian
columns and formerly serving separate rooms, and then into plainer rooms,
which, like the bedrooms, are complete with contemporary panelling and
fireplaces. Principal staircases, enclosed by the 2 circuits, have 3 turned and
fluted balusters to each tread; the 4 corner projections of the house each have
a service stair. Ditchley is Gibbs's most important surviving country house, and
remains one of the finest and most complete early-Georgian houses.
(Country Life: October 22th 1904, p594, and June 9th and June 16th 1934, p590
and 620; Buildings of England: Oxfordshire: pp572-6)

Listing NGR: SP3907121196

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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