In the sec­ond of two ar­ti­cles, ex­plains how an ini­tia­tive to re­store a house associated with Win­ston Churchill and Nancy Lan­caster has got off to an im­pres­sive start

John Goodall

Country Life Every Week - - In The Garden - Pho­tographs by Paul High­nam

Ditch­ley Park, Ox­ford­shire part II The prop­erty of the Ditch­ley Foun­da­tion

our­teen rooms on a floor and not one good one,’ com­plained the in­cred­u­lous Mrs Lybbe Powys after her tour of Ditch­ley in Au­gust 1778. Her shrill judg­ment can prob­a­bly be read as a re­flec­tion of the ex­pec­ta­tion for ever-larger re­cep­tion rooms in 18th-cen­tury houses. As de­scribed last week, the 2nd earl of Lich­field had com­mis­sioned the ar­chi­tect James Gibbs to de­sign this new seat in 1720 and its in­te­rior had been fur­nished in stages with the in­volve­ment of Wil­liam Kent and his close as­so­ciate Henry Fl­itcroft.

Mrs Powys was cer­tainly not alone in find­ing dif­fi­cul­ties with the house. In­deed, after his in­her­i­tance of the es­tate in 1743, the 3rd earl toyed with the idea of mak­ing ma­jor changes to it. A sur­viv­ing draw­ing shows a pro­posal to erect tow­ers on each cor­ner of the cen­tral block and a ped­i­ment over its cen­tral door. the de­sign seems closely al­lied to Wil­liam Kent’s ear­lier ad­di­tions to Bad­minton in 1745–7 and, as fel­low Ja­co­bite sym­pa­this­ers, the Duke of Beau­fort and earl of Lich­field knew each other well.

In the event, the plans were never ex­e­cuted, but one associated in­ter­nal al­ter­ation was made: a large din­ing room was cre­ated on the east side of the build­ing by knock­ing two


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