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“He must look upon it as his child – and a most promising one it is.” Earl de Grey and the creation of his house at Wrest Park

Garland, Shelley (2021) “He must look upon it as his child – and a most promising one it is.” Earl de Grey and the creation of his house at Wrest Park. PhD thesis, University of Essex.


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The house that Thomas, 2nd Earl de Grey (1781-1859) designed and built for himself at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire between 1835 and 1839 is notable in both design and form. It was built in an 18th century French style throughout and has a well-conceived layout. It has an unusually large and well-ordered service wing for its time and was enhanced by the use of emerging domestic technology, particularly regarding the provision of heating and water. De Grey was a skilled amateur architect who designed the house to his own specifications. Despite the house being remarkable in these different aspects it is neither well known nor well regarded. I would argue that the house is deserving of an examination of all the elements that make it unique, and how those elements work together to create a pleasing and accomplished house. It is my intention to make an account of the genesis and design of the house. In order to do this I have inspected many notable features of the house; why it was built, what influenced de Grey in choosing a French style of architecture, how well it functioned as a complex building type, what can be understood from looking closely at the layout and space planning and what types of technology were installed. I have also looked at the life of de Grey, particularly in relation to Wrest Park. This work is intended to provide a full account of de Grey and his house at Wrest Park, which will function as a biography of the house in de Grey’s time.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: wrest park earl de grey victorian country house country house technology silsoe french architectural style 19th century architecture westonbirt plan decorum in architecture blondel, le pautre and mansart james clephan institute of british architects (RIBA)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
Depositing User: Shelley Garland
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2021 14:50
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2021 14:50

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