Astoft

New Place, Shedfield, Hampshire

1906 by Lutyens with early 17th century interiors
 
 
  Notes in italics from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight by Nikolaus Pevsner and David Lloyd (1967)
Yale University Press, New Haven and London.
 
         
 

New Place.  Built by Lutyens in 1906 for Mrs Franklyn, primarily to accommodate some magnificent fittings from an early C17 house on the Welsh Back in Bristol, which was demolished in that year. The house is built entirely of deep red brick, unrelieved by any other external materials apart from tiling. The style is more or less Jacobean, to accord with the date of the fittings.

The house is now a De Vere Venue for conferences and training.

 
         
  Click on photos to enlarge  
         
                   
         
  Entrance from the road is through a pair of iron gates between brick piers, aligned directly on the centre of the symmetrical facade. This is E-shaped, with boldly projecting wings of three storeys, a centrepiece of two stories with an attic, and a square two-storeyed porch. The wings, gabled, have broad canted bays rising through all three storeys; the windows are brick-mullioned, of two tiers with transoms on the ground and top storeys, of one tier only on the second storey. A group of three tall diagonally set chimneys rises from the inner facade of each wing, which is otherwise simply treated in brickwork. The effect of the wings is one of restrained, almost functional simplicity, with no embellishment except where it expresses the structure.    
         
                   
         
  Decoration is concentrated on the centrepiece, with its balustrade of openwork lozenge pattern (partly concealing attic windows) and especially on the porch, which has a balustrade at the same level, a delicate and mannered brickwork pattern in relief on the wall surfaces (rhythmically coined on the angles), and what amounts to a Norman arch of three recessed orders, in brick, resting perversely on massive brick responds with every few courses incised. A gentle flight of steps leads up to the doorway.  
         
                   
         
  The SW (garden) front is decidedly awkward, of the same basic pattern as the main front, but the wings are broader and the central recess narrower, its centrepiece a two-storeyed bay shaped as five sides of a dodecagon, with mullioned windows in three tiers below (lighting the Bristol Room) and two tiers above and a top-heavy fascia; chimneystacks flank the wings as in the main facade.  
         
                   
         
  The NW frontage is decidedly the back, but it is intriguing; again with tall wings and recessed central part, but here the top two storeys of the central part are  under a sweeping roof, pierced with five dormers artily arranged. On the NE side are single-storey outhouses round a small courtyard and an overall asymmetrical effect, with dormers again artfully placed in a sweeping stretch of roof.  
         
                   
         
  The interior seems at first an anti-climax, as the porch leads into the side of a tunnel-vaulted corridor treated with extreme simplicity with rough whitewashed walls ... This is part  of Lutyens's artistry; the passageway does not appear to go anywhere special to the r.; the eye is led l., where it ends invitingly in a two-light window opening to the  SW. Halfway along the passage in this direction a doorway attracts attention ...; and one is enticed into the showpiece of the house, the BRISTOL ROOM - filled with the fittings from the state room of the original house (in Bristol). The fittings here and elsewhere in New Place date from c.1623-8 ... and were commissioned by John Langton, a merchant who  was mayor of Bristol in 1628 ...
The panelling on the walls is a fairly regular pattern of panels of different sizes and a not very obtrusively decorated frieze, effectively setting off the two show features (fireplace and door below), and also the ceiling, which has an elaborate (but not too overwhelming) strapwork pattern, widely spaced pendants, and small scale delicate detailing mostly of formalized foliage designs.   
 
         
              
         
  The fireplace is a magnificent piece, with double fluted Ionic engaged columns, on strapwork-decorated bases, supporting a mantelpiece with wide frieze, circle-patterned with foliate decoration, the centre part of which is brought forward slightly, and rests  on Ionic volutes, which are supported by corbels carved in the form of realistic busts, seemingly of Turks; the space between and beside the corbels, above the fireplace itself, is filled with  arabesque decoration. The overmantel, which  rises to the ceiling, has a slightly projecting centrepiece with a lively royal coat of arms and flanking caryatid pilasters; to l. and r. are recessed panels with winged mermaids (said to represent Peace and Plenty); at the outer ends the overmantel slightly  projects again, with two more  caryatid pilasters on each side, directly above the  Ionic columns flanking the fireplace. ...  
         
                   
         
  The door of the room internally has a projecting wooden frame with two composite pillars, inlaid with ivory, ebony and mother-of-pearl, almost free-standing, on tall panelled bases, supporting an architrave with a large panel containing a coat of arms, embellished with side strapwork and broken pediment, and flanked by pierced obelisks; the frieze of the architrave has small carved Turk-like heads. On the sides of the doorcase are formalized figures and thick scrolls. The door itself (now in the  reception area) is of mahogany (very  early example of the use of mahogany in England), with a profusion of panelling, also inlaid with precious materials, strapwork, and formalized figures, including one representing justice on the central panel.  
         
              
         
                   
         
              
         
  There are simpler, though still quite rich, fittings from Bristol in other rooms (including a fireplace with a Tudor-shaped arch and fairly conventional Jacobean overmantel with round arch between demi-columns) ...  
         
              
         
  The other really notable Bristol feature is the STAIRCASE, reached unobtrusively through a Tudor-shaped arch from the main passageway opposite the entrance; this has balusters thickly embossed with fruit and foliage, heraldic beats on top of the newel posts, and the original ceiling, with thickly foliated oval centrepiece and equally heavy (yet elegant) swags, at the top.  
         
              
         
  On the first floor we revert to Lutyens's self-effacing reticence, though there is something of a transitional stage in what amounts to a long gallery, with three simple transverse Tudor arches, and a side opening into the small space over the porch. ...  
         
  The name New Place was chosen by Mrs Franklyn to perpetuate the name of Shakespeare's house in Stratford. She had ancestral connections to Shakespeare's mother, Mary  Arden.  
         
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