Arundel Park House is a private house of 1958-62 by Claud Phillimore. It is enclosed to the north and east with garden walls, and to the south the house opens onto a paved terrace.
Reason for Listing
Arundel Park House, including garden walls and terrace, a country house of 1958-62, by Claude Phillimore, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: with its careful use of plan, form and detail, the house achieves a strong architectural composition and a restrained elegance; its use of Regency bows typifying Phillimore's oeuvre;
* Quality of interior: the use of fine, decorative detail balanced against the simple but carefully conceived treatment of plasterwork and joinery, creates a sense of stateliness on a compact scale; this is reinforced by the high quality of materials and craftsmanship;
* Planning interest: the house uses an innovative tri-partite plan to provide distinct, self-contained spaces with a hierarchy of scale, which together give a grandeur to this modestly-sized house. It is the first C20 example of this revived Palladian plan form, which went on to enjoy considerable popularity in later neo-Georgian houses;
* Architect: this is the finest surviving work by Claude Phillimore, a key architect of the genre;
* Historic interest: the house exemplifies the post-war strand of neo-Georgianism which found favour with the landed gentry seeking to build a new type of country house to suit their changing circumstances;
* Relationship with setting: centred on the vista towards Hiorne's Tower, the concave entrance front is cut into the shallow hillside to the north, enhancing the sense of intimacy, whilst to the south the plan maximises views into the garden and across the downwards sweep of the landscape;
* Degree of survival: despite some minor internal alterations and redecoration, the house remains little altered.
Arundel Park House was built in 1958-62 to the designs of Claud Phillimore for the 16th Duke of Norfolk and his family. The principal client was Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk, who wanted a relatively small secluded house to give the family privacy once Arundel Castle began to be opened to the public. It was also intended as a dower house for herself and her four daughters as, following her husband's death, the title would pass to a cousin. The Duchess had been impressed in the 1930s by Ditchley House (1722 by James Gibbs), the fashionable Oxfordshire home of Ronald and Nancy Tree. The tripartite plan of Ditchley made a relatively small house appear impressive. She had selected the site for Arundel Park before by chance she met Phillimore, then recovering from tuberculosis at the nearby Midhurst Sanatorium, one of the Sussex charities she supported.
Claud Phillimore (1911-1994) was the second son of the second Baron Phillimore; he read architecture at Cambridge (1930-3) but set up his own practice before completing his training. After the war he was joined by Aubrey Jenkins, his exact contemporary at both school and university. Their specialism was the adaptation of old country seats to modern needs, whether by their reduction (as at Brocklesby Hall, Lincolnshire, where a mass of Victorian additions were removed in 1957-8), conversion into flats (as at Ashton Wold, Northamptonshire, in 1969), or by rebuilding. Phillimore's clients rarely sought publicity for their houses, so they remain little known. Most are variations on a Regency style, with a great number of bowed ends and porches. Working closely with his clients, almost all of Phillimore's schemes went through a great many variations before a design was finally selected. Phillimore's other major house, Tusmore in Oxfordshire, which he rebuilt in 1960 on the site of the old and reusing many of its materials, has itself been demolished and rebuilt. Phillimore's oeuvre forms part of a relatively little known strand of post-war architecture, which produced a number of new, stylistically traditional country houses, built to meet the changing needs of the landed gentry. Phillimore was particularly prolific, designing over forty new houses, and Arundel Park House is considered to be one of his finest.
The Duchess of Norfolk stipulated that Arundel Park House should be designed as a villa with linked pavilions. The east wing was to contain the domestic staff, while the west wing was conceived as an autonomous unit with its own living room and kitchen for the Duke and Duchess's four daughters. This tripartite plan is notable amongst Phillimore's own work as well as the genre more widely as it is the first C20 example of this revived Palladian form, which went on to enjoy considerable popularity for later neo-Georgian houses. Otherwise, the style of the house is in Phillimore's usual Regency idiom with his favoured use of bowed bays. The interior was decorated by John Fowler, and the landscaping was done by Lanning Roper.
MATERIALS: the house is of rendered brick, painted pale pink. The hipped roofs are of graded slate with overhanging eaves; the eaves of the central block have paired modillions. The original wooden casement windows have been replaced, replicating the original design, and reusing the original brass fittings. External doors are painted timber, and chimneys are rendered brick.
PLAN: the house has a Palladian tripartite plan, comprising a central two-storey block, with two smaller two-storey flanking pavilions for staff and family members, linked with single-storey blocks to the main house. The wings project obliquely: canted inwards towards the north (entrance) front, which is on an axis with Hiorne's Tower, a Gothic folly of 1787 (listed Grade II*). On the south (garden) front, the central block has semicircular bowed ends to east and west. The principal rooms face south, the plan maximising light and views across the gardens towards the sea. The main block is entered in the centre of the north front, leading to a small entrance hall, with a gun room to the right, an additional lobby with larder, inserted lift (formerly a WC), and secondary stair to the left, and the main double-height stair hall ahead. To the left of this is the kitchen, and to the right, the library. Along the south front with bowed east and west ends, is the large drawing room and dining room. On the first floor, rooms are arranged around the central stairwell. The two principal bedrooms are on the south front, with a dressing room between. Further bedrooms, bathrooms, a linen room, and a small study (originally a bathroom) fill the remainder of the space. A small spiral stair leads up to a glazed octagonal cupola and a balustraded admiral's walk on the roof. The basement has storage and plant.
The flanking pavilions both have independent external accesses at the centre of their north fronts and are laid out as self contained annexes with a kitchen, sitting room, bedrooms and bathroom. The west link to the main block is divided into a narrow corridor on the north side, with a loggia on the south side. The east link contains a scullery, stores, and an extended breakfast room adjoining the kitchen.
EXTERIOR: the north façade of the central block has five bays. It has a central semicircular colonnaded porch, with a bow above set back behind a metal balustrade. There are pairs of flanking windows, with partially surviving louvred wooden shutters to the ground floor. The front door is said to date from 1750, brought from Norfolk House, St James's Square, London, demolished in 1938. The three-bay south façade has tripartite 'Wyatt' windows, set in recessed segmental arches at ground-floor level, with louvred wooden shutters to the first floor. There are similar tripartite windows in the two-storey end bows. To the north, the link blocks have oval oculi. To the south, the west link has a glazed loggia, and the east link is screened by planting. The pavilions have three-bay elevations to the north and south.
INTERIOR: the interiors of the main house have a restrained grandeur, featuring simple plaster vaults and recessed arches, and showing the influence of Soane. The vaulted entrance lobby leads to the impressive full-height staircase hall with a top-lit Soaneian vault. The staircase is L-plan with stone treads; it has an elaborate wrought-iron balustrade with the monogram of the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk, and a crystal ball finial to the bottom newel.
The principal rooms were designed around the family's important art and furniture collection, now returned to Arundel Castle. Walls are painted render or papered. Floors are Portland flags with black squares at intersections, or timber with carpets in the reception rooms. Ceilings are white painted render. Pairs of double doors into, and between, principal rooms are mahogany, inspired by those in the Cube Rooms at Wilton House, Wiltshire. They have gilt roundels, acanthus carving and ormolu (a gold-coloured alloy of copper, zinc and tin) door handles, and are surrounded by substantial Vitruvian scroll architraves. Other internal doors on the ground floor (in the main part of the house) are of the same style, but are painted and have more modest moulded architraves. The drawing room and library have fine C18 marble chimney pieces.
The drawing and dining rooms have dado rails and plain coved cornices. The dining room retains its original Colefax and Fowler green-printed wallpaper above the dado, and flanking the double doors are two tall niches with oval recesses above. The library has segmental arched recesses fitted with book shelves. A dummy door to the drawing room is decorated with books, the titles commemorating the building of the house. The kitchen has been refitted, and the pantry, which once separated the kitchen from the dining room, has now been incorporated into the kitchen. The loggia walls were originally painted with murals depicting the seasons at Arundel by Lawrence Toynbee; these are no longer visible.
The bedrooms are reached from the continuous landing through segmental-headed openings set in larger recessed arches.
The interior of the pavilions are relatively little-altered, but are of much lesser interest.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the garden walls are integral to the design of the house. To the north they are low, curved retaining walls enclosing the drive, with steps up to the grounds beyond. They are rendered to match the finish of the house, with stone copings and urns flanking the entrance to the drive and the steps. To the east the walls are higher and enclose the gardens around the east pavilion. The south terrace in front of the central block has a pair of carved stone lions on pedestals and steps down to the east and west. There is also a garage to the east of the house, which is contemporary with the house but has been excluded from the listing.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.