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© Mr George Harper

IoE Number: 42105
Photographer: Mr George Harper
Date Photographed: 19 March 2006
Date listed: 26 September 1951
Date of last amendment: 15 October 1984
Grade I

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SP 91 NWMENTMORE4/120Mentmore Towers(formerly listed as Mentmore House)26.9.51

SP 91 NW MENTMORE 4/120 Mentmore Towers (formerly listed as Mentmore House) 26.9.51 GV I Formerly a country house, now the British Seat of the World Government of the Age of Enlightenment. Built 1852-4 by Sir Joseph Paxton and G.H. Stokes for Baron Mayer Amschel de Rothschild. Ancaster ashlar, flat lead roofs. In the Jacobethan style, much influenced by Wollaton Hall. Main block of 2 storeys is almost square in plan with projecting 3-storey corner towers and single storey wings flanking entrance courtyard. Right wing masks service court to north. Main block is articulated by entablatures and pairs of lugged pilasters on plinths: ground floor is Doric with triglyph entablature; first floor is Ionic and has plinths with cartouches. Balustraded parapet with stone urns on plinths and, on N.E. side, a central scrolled gable with broken segmental pediment, clock and flanking obelisks. Towers have Corinthian pilasters on plinths with cartouches, entablatures with carved heads, and scrolled gables with small pediments, central open roundels, heraldic lion finials and corner obelisks. Groups of round stone chimney shafts with panelled capitals and linked cornice heads. Stone mullion windows with double transoms. N.E. front has 5-light windows in outer bays, and slightly projecting centrepiece with 2-light windows flanking 4-light. Towers have 4-light windows or elaborate strapwork cartouches. Central double panelled doors with large radiating fanlight. Single storey porch has semi-circular arch to each face with carved lion-head keystones, flanking pairs of lugged Doric columns, and triglyph entablature with central Rothschild crest. Flanking wings have rows of 6 arched niches, triglyph entablature and balustraded parapet, and terminate in similar 2-storey towers to front. Remainder is similar, the S.E. front with central heraldic crests and cyphers dated 1851, and keyblock dated AH1878. Service wing is of 2 storeys and a basement with a single Doric order and similar parapets, and is built around a small court with inner walls of white brick and entrance arch to N.W. Interior: central 2-storey hall is faced with Caen stone and has arcaded first floor gallery with marble balustrade. Glazed ceiling with wooden ribs, plaster coving with moulded strapwork cartouches. Ground floor of hall has large arched doors with early examples of plate glass, and fireplace, said to have come from Rubens' house in Antwerp, of black and white marble with large projecting entablature hood on scrolled sheep herms. Other ground floor rooms have heavy carved marble fireplaces with large mirrors above, carved skirting boards and door surrounds with panelled doors. Rooms in S.E. range have plaster ceilings with gilt Rococo decoration, some C18 imported from France. Dining room has very fine C18 boiseries and gilt ceiling from the Hotel de Villars, Paris, with C18 Genoese velvet in some panels and paintings by Van Loo over the mirrors. Small room to right of entrance front also has C18 french panelling with overdoors by Boucher. Stairwell is of Caen stone with Jacobethan plaster ceiling; single lower flight and double upper flights of stairs with marble balustrades. First floor has suites of bedrooms, also with marble fireplaces, and with bathroom fittings adapted from C18 french commodes. His Lordship's Room has plaster gilt Rococo ceiling. Mentmore is also notable as one of the earliest houses to have a hot water and central heating system. (SAVE Britain's Heritage, Mentmore for the Nation, 1977)

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