Description: Wentworth Woodhouse
Date Listed: 29 April 1952
English Heritage Building ID: 335617
OS Grid Reference: SK3960897659
OS Grid Coordinates: 439608, 397659
Latitude/Longitude: 53.4742, -1.4047
SK39NE WENTWORTH WENTWORTH WOODHOUSE
4/110 Wentworth Woodhouse
Country mansion, now college of further education and partly unoccupied.
C17 core; remodelled from c1724-28 to c1734 to form west front; east
front commenced immediately and largely completed in the next two decades;
service wings heightened late C18.
Remodelled for Thomas Watson Wentworth perhaps by William Etty (Allan).
East front commenced by Ralph Tunnicliffe (d.1736); scheme revised and
completed by Henry Flitcroft who continued on interiors for Charles
Wentworth, 2nd Marquis of Rockingham. John Carr worked for the 2nd Marquis
prior to heightening the service wings for William Wentworth Fitzwilliam,
the 4th Earl. C17: some walling of tooled sandstone and brick in English
bond. West front: brick in Flemish bond, ashlar sandstone central feature
and dressings; lead and copper roofs. East front: ashlar, rear walls brick;
slate roofs. Both elevations symmetrical, their axes offset. Baroque
style west facade conceals irregular plan adapted from C17 house. Symmetry
of Palladian east front carried through to some of the internal planning
with principal suite of rooms arranged 'en enfilade'.
West front: 2-storey central part, single-storey wings, half-basement
throughout. 4:9:4 bays, central part recessed, central feature breaking
forward. Rusticated quoins. Sashes with glazing bars. Central 3-bay
feature with 4 giant Corinthian pilasters rising from rusticated basement.
Concave door surround with pilasters in the curve, the outer ones garlanded;
bird carved on frieze; cartouche above. Flanking windows with shaped
pediments. Venetian window to 1st floor; flanking sashes have aprons carved
with trophies and carved keystones. Frieze with serpents and griffins
interrupted by heraldic device which impinges on window below. Carved
modillions to cornice and single-bay open pediment. Parapet with urns and
statue. Remaining bays with rusticated, arched, surrounds to basement
windows and architraves with projecting voussoirs to ground floor. Bays 4
and 14 have curved Venetian windows, that to bay 4 with external steps.
Inner returns of wings have elaborate architraves to doorways (engraving
1728) now windows. Dentilled 1st-floor band to central part, 1st-floor
windows in architraves. Modillioned cornice, parapet with ashlar panels
infilled with brick. Quoined and corniced stacks rise from wings.
East front: 2 and 3 storeys. 49 bays, fully articulated. Balustraded
throughout. 19-bay central block has rusticated ground floor. Central
9-bay part taller and breaking forward with steps flanking vast hexastyle
portico. Corinthian columns rise from piano nobile; frieze bears motto
'MEA GLORIA FIDES'; arms in tympanum; statues to apex and balustrade.
Pilastered doorway within portico has fanlight and scrolled pediment;
flanking windows with broken pediments formerly with busts. Other 1st-
floor windows have alternating segmental and triangular pediments. Upper
windows with sill band and consoled cornices. Underside of portico coffered.
Service wings: 3 storeys, 3:5:3 bays. 3-bay pediment on giant Doric columns.
Moulded string to 2nd floor. Quadrants link wings to end pavilions: Gibbs
surrounds to lower floors. Pavilions with cornices beneath upper stage;
clock on north pavilion; wind indicator on south; urns to corners; domed
roofs with lanterns and weathervanes.
Interior: principal rooms of central block retain decorative schemes of
magnificent quality. Many rooms designed by Henry Flitcroft and executed
by the finest craftsmen of the day. Tuscan-pillared entrance hall with
Neo-Classical statues. Domestic suite to north: Painted Drawing Room with
walls stretched with canvasses by Auguste de Clermont; the Low Drawing
Room with coved niches carved in the manner of Grinling Gibbons. Chapel
with C17 carved entrance: box pews; Ionic columns to gallery; Venetian
west window. Imperial staircase by John Carr in Adam style. Marble
Saloon: scagiola columns, balcony, pilasters above; ceiling in Jonesian
style. Niches with mid C18 statuary; panels by James Stuart; overmantels
by John Gibson (1821). To the south a sumptuous suite of rooms with richly
gilded coffering to the ceiling of the Van Dyck Room and extravagant
stuccoed panels in Whistlejacket Room. Suite of rooms to north of Marble
Saloon of similar quality, 2 fireplaces by Fisher of York (1768).
Statuary Room: busts by Chantrey, Greek goddesses on pedestals attributed
to Nollekens. Rooms of west front with Rococo motifs notably doorheads in
entrance hall. Some rooms retained from the C17 house: Old Hall with
painted panelling and round-arched arcades. Other C17 rooms refitted:
Long Gallery, remodelled by Flitcroft, columned screen and sparing Rococo
decoration to ceiling. To the north a suite of rooms named Clifford's
Lodgings rebuilt by Carr c1762: room with pine panelling and marble
fireplace with multicoloured inlay. The whole decorative scheme and many
other features of note are described at length elsewhere.
Interesting appendages to main structure include bridge constructed from
the south pavilion to higher level gardens of west front and the small
octagonal kitchen to rear of north pavilion.
J. Allan, 'Wentworth Woodhouse', Archaeological Journal, vol 137, 1980,
H. Colvin, Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, 1978,
Country Life: Mar 31, 1906. Sept 20 and Sept 27, Oct 4 and Oct 11, 1924.
Sept 8, 1934. Dec 27 1956. Nov 1, 1962.
Tony Davis, Wentworth Woodhouse Visitors' Guide, 1982 ed.
J. Harris, 'Wentworth Woodhouse', Archaeological Journal, vol 125, 1968,
C. Hussey, English Country Houses: Early Georgian 1715-1760, 1955, pp147-54.
N. Pevsner, B.O.E. Yorkshire West Riding, 1967 ed, pp539-44.
Engravings of house in York Minster Library, Topographical Prints,
Listing NGR: SK3934397852
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.