DiCamillo Companion

Wanstead House (Wansted House)

  • Earlier Houses: An earlier house on the site was one of the largest in Essex; it supposedly contained 40 hearths when it was purchased by Sir Josiah Child in 1673-74.

    Built / Designed For: Sir Richard Child

    House & Family History: In the early 18th century Colen Campbell built a new Palladian house for Sir Richard Child, later Viscount Castlemain and 1st Earl Tylney, replacing an earlier house purchased by Sir Richard's father in the late 17th century. The enormous new house of 21 bays was 260 feet wide and featured an entrance hall that was 51 feet long by 36 feet wide by 36 feet high. Campbell claimed that Wanstead, with its large hexastyle portico, was the first of its type in England (the great portico from Canons, Middlesex [demolished in the 18th century], is generally believed to have been purchased by Sir Richard for Wanstead). Upon Sir Richard's death in 1750, he was succeeded by his eldest son, John, who became the 2nd Earl Tylney. At the 2nd Earl's death in 1784, having no male heirs, the Wanstead Estate passed to Sir James Long, 7th Bt., the son of the 2nd Earl's elder sister, Emma (the earldom of Tylney became extinct at death of the 2nd Earl). When Sir James died in 1794, Wanstead became the property of his infant son, Sir James Tylney-Long, 8th Bt. The young Sir James died in 1805 at the age of 11, whereupon Wanstead was inherited by his younger sister, Catherine Tylney-Long, who became the richest heiress in England. Being unmarried, Catherine leased the house to Louis Joseph, Prince de Condé. At the time of her marriage to William Pole-Tylney-Long-Wellesley in 1812, Catherine and her new husband took back possession of Wanstead and made it their seat. The house served as a center for massive gatherings; Pole-Tylney-Long-Wellesley's desire for Wanstead to exceed the splendor of the Prince Regent's Carlton House resulted in his ruin and the sale of the contents in 1822 and the demolition of the house in 1824. Two chimneypieces from Wanstead House are today installed at Chillingham Castle in Northumberland. A painting of Wanstead by The Rev. Thomas Streatfield (1777-1848) is today in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut. The Philadelphia Museum of Art has in its collection a noted painting by William Hogarth, 1728-31, that shows the family of Sir Richard Child (Viscount Castlemain), in the Long Ballroom at Wanstead (see "Images" section). Wanstead's interiors were remarkable for their splendor and set the pattern of interior decoration of large English houses for decades.

    Collections: Sir Richard Child was one of the primary patrons of the Flemish painter Joseph Francis Nollekens (Old Nollekens), which is why a large collection of his work was housed at Wanstead. The sofas, settees, and armchairs in the Double Cube Room at Wilton House were designed by William Kent and Thomas Chippendale, 1730-70, for Wanstead House. The 6th Duke of Devonshire purchased for Chatsworth at the 1822 sale of the contents of Wanstead a very large carved table and a set of gasoliers (these purchases remain at Chatsworth, with the latter today in the Sculpture Gallery).

    Comments: John Harris, writing in "The Design of the English House, 1620-1920," states that Wanstead "was the first proper temple-portico, for its ridge passed through the house to appear on the opposite front as a pilastered portico." The Campbell house is considered the archetypal Palladian great house, the first "modern" house in Britain, and the largest and most influential Palladian house in England, according to Harris.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The grotto and the temple are both extant and Grade II-listed. Sir Richard Child, Viscount Castlemain and 1st Earl Tylney, was buried on May 29, 1750 at Wanstead.

  • Architect: George London

    Date: Circa 1707
    Designed: Gardens

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    Architect: Colen Campbell

    Date: 1715-22
    Designed: Palladian house for Sir Richard Child

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  • Vitruvius Britannicus: C. I, pls. 21-27, 1715. C. III, pls. 39, 40, 1725.

    Country Life: LXXIV, 605, 1933. Jul 28, 1950.

  • Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 1995
    Reference: pg. 211
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300072074
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Sotheby's Auction Catalog: Chatsworth: The Attic Sale, Oct 5-7, 2010
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 2010
    Reference: pg. 303
    Publisher: London: Sotheby's
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Lost Houses of Britain
    Author: Sproule, Anna
    Year Published: 1982
    Reference: pg. 93
    Publisher: Devon: David & Charles (Publishers) Limited
    ISBN: 0715381040
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Authentic Decor: The Domestic Interior, 1620-1920
    Author: Thornton, Peter
    Year Published: 1985
    Reference: pg. 104
    Publisher: London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson
    ISBN: 0297785044
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Design of the English Country House, 1620-1920, The
    Author: Harris, John
    Year Published: 1985
    Reference: pg. 116
    Publisher: London: Trefoil Books (Washington, DC: The American Institute of Architects Foundation
    ISBN: 0862940672
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Country Houses in Great Britain
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 1979
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale Center for British Art
    ISBN: 0930606191
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: No Voice From the Hall: Early Memories of a Country House Snooper
    Author: Harris, John
    Year Published: 1998
    Publisher: London: John Murray
    ISBN: 0719555671
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Burke's & Savills Guide to Country Houses, Volume III: East Anglia
    Author: Kenworthy-Browne, John; Reid, Peter; Sayer, Michael; Watkin, David
    Year Published: 1981
    Publisher: London: Burke's Peerage
    ISBN: 0850110351
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Demolished

    Park Listed: Grade II*

  • Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT EARLIER HOUSE: Sir Josiah Child, 17th century. SEATED AT 18TH CENTURY HOUSE: Richard Child, Viscount Castlemain and 1st Earl Tylney, 18th century. Sir James Long, 7th Bt., late 18th century; Sir James Tylney-Long, 8th Bt., 1794-1805. Louis Joseph, Prince de Condé, early 19th century. William Pole-Tylney-Long-Wellesley, early 19th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Demolished

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Demolished

    Ownership Details: The former grounds of the house are today part of a public park.

  • House Open to Public: Grounds Only

    Website: https://wansteadpark.org.uk/

    Historic Houses Member: No