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Latitude: 52.0856 / 52°5'8"N
Longitude: -1.7107 / 1°42'38"W
OS Eastings: 419919
OS Northings: 243069
OS Grid: SP199430
Mapcode National: GBR 4N5.69Y
Mapcode Global: VHBYD.9VG1
Entry Name: Stonecrop Including Garden and Forecourt Walling and Pond
Listing Date: 27 March 2007
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1391921
English Heritage Legacy ID: 502943
Location: Ilmington, Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, CV36
Civil Parish: Ilmington
Built-Up Area: Ilmington
Traditional County: Warwickshire
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire
Church of England Parish: Ilmington St Mary
Church of England Diocese: Coventry
1747/0/10010 CAMPDEN HILL
Stonecrop including garden and foreco
urt walling and pond
House. 1955 onwards. Designed and largely built for himself by Robert Harvey with the help of members of his family.
MATERIALS: Coursed Cotswold stone walling with elm panels and a roof of cedar shingles. Plate glass is used extensively for the windows at ground floor level. The eaves are lined with bare plaster which also appears on ceilings inside the house. Wood panelling, either pine, elm or afrormosia, is used extensively for the fitted furniture, walls and ceilings inside.
PLAN: The sloping site amongst orchards with extensive views over the North Eastern escarpment of the Cotswolds was an important consideration in the design of the building. The space of the house projects into the surrounding landscape with walls extending to define a terrace, steps and raised beds on the north garden side and enclosing walls to the rectangular entrance court to the south. The house has two wings set at right angles to each other. The wing facing north-west towards the view houses the sitting and dining rooms and the main bedroom with the kitchen. A massive, near-square chimney stack at the centre of the north-west front forms the focus of the exterior and the interior of the house. From this the second wing, housing bedrooms, entrance and garage, extends to the south-east at mezzanine level and appears to blend with the hillside, which forms the south-eastern wall of the car port/garage.
The walls are of gold-coloured Cotswold stone and the texture was deliberately left rough. Harvey specified that the stonemasons should not break the stone up into chunks, but should instead produce long pieces which he laid himself in courses with a pronouncedly horizontal emphasis. There are occasional blocks of stone which project from the wall plane creating a texture which is similar to that on Wright's building at Taliesin East. The roof of cedar wood shingles sweeps low to the entrance court and the north east front and the eaves extend some way beyond the body of the house to provide sheltered porches for the front and back doors and a walkway to the garage and also to throw off the rain and avoid the need for downpipes. Large planks of elm and plate glass are used extensively and undecorated plaster is used under the eaves and throughout the interior. At the corners of the building, at ground floor level, the sheets of plate glass are butted and glued without obvious structural supports. The first floor has two bedrooms and a bathroom which connects to the main bedroom and is mainly lit by bands of dormer windows. There is an angled wooden balcony which includes seating extending from the main bedroom.
EXTERIOR: The house is approached along a curving drive which ends at the entrance court. The house forms the north-eastern and north-western sides of the court with a retaining wall to the south east. The entrance to the garage is at the south-east end and there is a rectangular pond fed by a spout in the wall. From the court there is a clear view through the house, diagonally and down, across the sitting and dining areas to the northern view. The ground floor walling is of stone and above this is a near-continuous band of plate glass windows. The north-eastern front has a mass of shingled roof to the left side which appears to emerge from the line of the hillside. The covered walkway connecting the garage to the back door is at the centre and at the far right the two floors are evident as the house steps down the hillside. Between the ground and first floor windows are substantial elm boards placed horizontally and these also wrap around the canted balcony which extends at far right. The gable end behind has deep eaves with a series of three, gradually recessed bargeboards [a motif which occurs elsewhere]. The north-west face has a near-symmetrical main block with a continuous band of windows to the ground floor, above which are set a frieze of three heavy horizontal elm beams forming the walling to the first floor. Above this at centre is a dormer with slanting roof and to the apex at centre is the chimney stack. Recessed and at right is the single-storey continuation of the sitting room and conservatory.
INTERIOR: The plan form takes advantage of the sloping site and much play is made of the flow of space throughout the more public areas of the house. The sitting room, which is the largest of the interior spaces, connects with the dining area which, in turn, leads through to the kitchen. This even extends upwards to the main bedroom at first floor level which has a balcony. The sitting room is set over three levels, with an entrance balcony leading to the central floor area, which then steps down to the dining area. It has features which are seen elsewhere in the house with crazy-paved flooring which has been polished to a shiny finish, fine joinery and bare plaster to the ceilings. The hearth lies to one side of the space, with a massive block of stone forming the lintel. The staircase is set beside the chimney, at the juncture of the two wings, and this also takes advantage of the possibilities of interesting cross-vistas offered by the contrasting floor levels. By contrast with the rough stone walls, wood is often used in large, polished pieces for cupboards, doors or panelling. Several of the rooms have wood ceilings and the children's room and the attic space above the present playroom also have exposed roof trusses of Harvey's own design.
HISTORY: The house was designed in 1955 by the local architect Robert Harvey for himself and his family. It was largely self-built with the help of family and friends to offset costs and incorporates a quantity of recycled building material including wood and plate glass which were used partially due to the shortages of building materials at the time and also due to financial constraints.
According to Louise Campbell [cf. Sources] "After the foundations were laid and work on the house had begun, costs apparently threatened to get out of hand and Harvey himself took over much of the building work helped by his brother and brother-in-law, both of whom were accomplished joiners."
Harvey found it difficult to secure planning permission for many of his early houses, especially those around Ilmington in the northern Cotswolds, and consequently talked little about his work. He remained a strongly private figure until his death. However, in the late 1990s the importance of his work began to be recognised by Dr Louise Campbell at Warwick University.
The house was lived in by the architect and his family until its sale in 2006. Some kitchen and bathroom fittings have been replaced but, otherwise, the house remains largely as built.
SOURCES: Louise Campbell, 'Against the Grain: The domestic architecture of Robert Harvey', Twentieth Century Architecture 4, 53-60; Gerard Mermoz, 'Stonecrop, Illmington, Warwickshire', The Twentieth Century Society Magazine (January 2003).
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: Starting from an understanding of and respect for the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, Robert Harvey went on to form his own style which combined native English materials and modern ones and explored the possibilities of flowing space. His personal synthesis is expressed most fully in this, his own house, and quality of design, innovation, precise detailing and intactness are all manifest. As a result, Stonecrop is generally considered to be amongst Harvey's very best and most carefully considered designs.
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