Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Clifford Chambers, Warwickshire

Place in the sun

Clifford Manor is at one end of the main street of a village nor far from Stratford-upon-Avon. A timber-framed house of the 15th or 16th century on the site was remodelled in 1903–9, but this building was badly damaged in a fire in 1918. Edwin Lutyens was called in to repair the house, and he and Gertrude Jekyll are also said to be responsible for the gardens.

I don’t know how much of the house as it stands today is Lutyens’ work, but this façade is certainly something he could have designed, taking the familiar English country-house look and giving it individuality with features such as the oeils de boeuf and small triangular pediment.

This house is not open to the public, so I felt privileged to get a glimpse of it. Lutyens designed and modified a lot of country houses, but so many of them are tucked away down long drives or hidden by trees. It’s good that this one, its bricks glowing in the late-afternoon sun, forms such a visual asset to its quiet village of timber-framed and brick houses.


James said...

A beautiful old house.

Bucks Retronaut said...

Lutyens architecture,for me is as good as it gets.
I am always impressed by the sheer range of his energy and talent,ranging from well-mannered domestic buildings such as this one,asociated interior fixtures and fittings,right through to war memorials and viceregal palaces.
Your lovely photo made me catch my breath before I read the description.And then I just thought "Of course.Who else ?"
Many thanks for reminding me.

Thud said...

Lutyens was a true master in the use of brick.I'm pinching the odd idea for the restoration I'm involved in.

Philip Wilkinson said...

BR: Yes, he had a vast range. His houses alone range from 'Georgian' to Arts and Crafts to the unique style of Castle Drogo.

Thud: I agree about the brickwork. Some of it, including some of his brick vaulting I've seen, is really meticulous.

Peter Ashley said...

Good old Ned. Just look at the size of those chimney stacks. Lovely pic.

Vinogirl said...

The symmetry is gorgeous.

Orrin Hare said...

How utterly ravishing! My lord ... & there is something very Lutyensie about that entrance facade, isn't there?

According to English Heritage, the front of the house is original 18thC: the 1918 fire apparently knocked out a lot of the 16thC timber that was concealed behind the brick facade & burned down one wing, but the front remains original.

But ... c'mon, that roof is pure late-period Lutyens! It's an absolute dead-ringer in proportion (that steep pitch, really more French than English) & materials of Gledstone Hall, Lutyens' austere & achingly beautiful Yorkshire mansion, which began construction in 1925.

Pretty close! So, if I had to guess, I'd say that the fire burned out Clifford Manor's roof along with the rest of the old timber & then Lutyens built his own taller roof over the old facade, to create that frankly extraordinary beauty & balance.

Either way, whether half-built by him or an authentic product of the 18thC, it's clear Clifford Manor had a BIG influence on the design of Gledstone Hall six or seven years later. What a beautiful place ... thank you so much for showing us this!