© Mr George Harper
MENTMORE, AYLESBURY VALE, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
Mr George Harper
19 March 2006
26 September 1951
Date of last amendment:
15 October 1984
The Images of England website consists of images of listed buildings based on the statutory list as it was in 2001 and does not incorporate subsequent amendments to the list. For the statutory list and information on the current listed status of individual buildings please go to The National Heritage List for England.
SP 91 NW MENTMORE
4/120 Mentmore Towers
(formerly listed as Mentmore House)
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)