Marble Hill House is an historic Palladian Villa located near Richmond on the West side of London. It was built during the first half of the 18th century by George II, and reflects the architectural and artist influences popular during his day. Visitors may tour this home seasonally by purchasing an admissions ticket online or on location at the home.
The home was originally intended as a retreat for Henrietta Howard who was at that time the known mistress of George II. Construction took place between 1724 and 1729, while George II still served as the Prince of Wales. The interior of the home, while widely reconstructed using original materials, has been fitted with new renovations in some areas. It contains a mixture of exquisite Georgian furniture and art, including a painting of the young Countess of Suffolk, Miss Howard herself.
Notable among the collections housed within Marble Hill House is that of the Lazenby Bequest of Chinoiserie art. These pieces reflect the influence Chinese art had on European artists during the latter portion of the 17th century. Artists used an asymmetry in design to depict a mythical China, relying heavily upon nature imagery and a lacquering technique popularized by earlier Chinese pieces.
This once private residence is known architecturally as a Palladian Villa. The style of Marble Hill House is intended to mirror themes popularized by Italian architect Andrea Palladio who lived during the 16th century. Palladio based his work on the symmetry and perspective found in early Greek and Roman temples. Palladian themed homes are built with these values in mind and create a uniformity of design that can be recognized immediately upon seeing one of these structures.
The structure presents three stories of identical size, stacked one on top of the other to create a flat, white bricked exterior facade. A series of symmetrically shaped windows runs the length of each story of the house, though the size and geometry of the windows are unique to each section of the villa. Matching arched doorways welcome visitors to the front of the home and usher them into a verdant back lawn which overlooks a portion of the Thames. This design was the result of a collaboration between architect Roger Morris and Henry Herbert, the Earl of Pembroke at that time.
Marble Hill House sits amidst 66 acres of open, rolling countryside as a stark and startling contrast to the hectic, bustling city it lies beside. The flat, wide expanse of open lawn that stretches in front of the home remains a popular location for outdoor concerts and public events. Both the home and its surrounding grounds, known as Marble Hill Park, have been owned by the English Heritage, a division of the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport, since 1986.