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Listed Building
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Oxfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SP 47834 24221


ROUSHAM ROUSHAM PARK SP4724 14/204 Rousham House 27/08/57 (Formerly listed as Rousham House, together with Dovecote and stables) GV I Country house. Built c.1635 for Sir Robert Dormer; remodelled 1738-40s by William Kent for General James Dormer; enlarged c.1860 by William St. Aubyn. Coursed limestone rubble with ashlar quoins and dressings; lead roof; hipped Welsh slate roofs to side wings; moulded stone ashlar stacks. C17 H-plan with wings flanking hall, had side wings added by Kent and rear block added by St. Aubyn. Jacobean 3-storey, 7-window range front with canted bays to front of side wings and crenellated parapet. 3-storey porch has round-arched doorway and C17 studded inner door with musket holes. Chamfered stone-mullioned windows; Kent removed ground and first-floor mullions and his octagonal glazing is retained in windows to right; c.1860 plate-glass sashes. Ogee-cupola by Kent to roof. Jacobean-style block by St. Aubyn to rear. C17 house flanked by Kent's 2-storey pavilions: on garden side are canted bay windows with octagonal glazing set in Jacobean-style mullioned and transomed windows, which are flanked by Gothick ogee niches with statues of classical subjects by Henry Cheere; dentilled cornice with small pediments. Joined to house by one-storey corridors with crested parapets: marble busts by Scheemakers and urn set in ogee niches, and C17 studded door with musket holes set in chamfered Tudor-arched doorway. Interior: each staircase has mid C17 staircase with turned balusters and lantern finials set on newels; fine mid C17 panelled room on first floor of west wing. C17 and C18 interior features, of prime importance being the Parlour and Library. Parlour in east wing by William Kent: panelled room with elaborately-moulded doorcases. Richly carved Baroque overmantel, with Medusa's head, swags etc., by John Marden has swans flanking painting of Mountebanks by Van Laer; painted ceiling by Kent depicts romantic landscapes and arabesques, and Ceres, Bacchus and Venus in central medallion; carved wall brackets made by Kent for General Dormer's collection of Italian bronzes. Library in west wing has vaulted Moorish ceiling and Gothic frieze to fireplace by Kent; overmantle frames portrait of General Dormer by Van Loo; frieze has relief of Leda and the Swan by Rusconi. Library turned into Drawing Room c.1760 by Thomas Roberts of Oxford, who made elaborate rococo plasterwork frames for doorcases, windows and portraits, with eagles set in broken pediments. The Parlour is a rare and complete example of Kent's work. The house and gardens (q.v.), also landscaped by Kent, for General James Dormer, are still owned by the Cottrell-Dormer family. The gardens have been noted as being "The most complete and typical of William Kent's gardens" (Hussey, 1967) and are of prime importance as the most complete early example of informal landscape design. (Rousham Park is included in the H.B.M.C. Register of Parks and Gardens at Grade I; Buildings of England: Oxfordshire: pp741-3; National Monuments Record; M. Jourdain, The Work of William Kent, 1948, passim; H.M. Colvin, A. Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1660-1840, 1978, p493; M.T. Wilson, William Kent 1685-1748, 1984, pp214-7; C. Hussey, "Rousham, Oxfordshire", Country Life, Vol 94 (1946)). (For Rousham Park Gardens (q.v.) see also K. Woodbridge, "William Kent's , Gardening: the Rousham Letters', Apollo, Vol 100 (1974); C. Hussey, English Gardens and Landscapes, 1700-1750), 1967, pp147-153; J. Fleming, "William Kent at Rousham", Connoisser, Vol 153; C. Hussey, "A Georgian Arcady.,.", Country Life, Vol 94 (1946))

Listing NGR: SP4783424221


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Colvin, H M, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, (1978), 493
Hussey, C, English Gardens and Landscapes 1700-1750, (1967), 147-153
Jourdain, M , The Work of William Kent, (1948)
Pevsner, N, Sherwood, J, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire, (1974), 741-3
Wilson, MT , William Kent 1685-1748, (1984), 214-7
'The Connoisseur' in The Connoisseur, , Vol. 153, ()
'Country Life' in Country Life, (1946)
'Country Life' in Country Life, (1946)
Woodbridge, K, 'Apollo' in William Kents Gardening the Rousham Letters, , Vol. 100, (1974)
Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, Part 34 Oxfordshire


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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