Russell-Cotes Museum


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Russell-Cotes Museum, Russell Cotes Road


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Statutory Address:
Russell-Cotes Museum, Russell Cotes Road

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

Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SZ 09222 90894


This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 28/05/2020

SZ 0990 19/169

RUSSELL-COTES ROAD (south side), Russell-Cotes Museum


II* House museum and art gallery, formerly East Cliff Hall. 1894 by Bournemouth architect John Fogarty for Sir Merton and Lady Russell-Cotes: eastern picture gallery wing added 1918-1919 by H.E. Hawker; western gallery wing added 1990 by Bournemouth Council Architect's Department. Cement render. Tiled mansard roof with tall rendered chimney stacks and decorative cast iron balustrade; pyramidal roof flanked by conical roofs to southern bays. French villa style, on steep slope having single storey to road and three to garden.

Porch of 1907: bulbous windowless pavilion of staircase adjoining has glazed dome on domical leaded base. Garden front has central canted bay flanked by bowed bays with continuous copper hood above second floor windows and loggia to first floor (which follows the line of the bowed bays) approached by stone, balustraded imperial steps having a segmental arch giving access to stairs to first floor. Attached double height picture gallery rendered with rusticated pilasters and terracotta busts in modallions; cornice and balurstrade with urns. To left, two storey bowed conservatory; rendered ground floor with three round-arched openings and glazed first floor with shallow conicle roof. Attached three storey extension, known as The Display Space, in similar but simplified style to the house. Remarkable middle class aesthetic interior to house with rooms off of a large top-lit, double height, galleried hall with black and gold painted imperial stair.

Interior decoration by O. Thomas. Much stencilling, hand-painted ceilings and panels, tiles and gold lincrusta wallpaper; some good door furniture. Good stained glass to windows, screens and top lights. Hall with mosaic lined marble fountain and star painted ceiling with top light depicting phases of the sun and signs of the zodiac. Stair with stencilled dado and gold painted classical frieze below stained glass dome depicting bats and owls with clouds and stars; mosaic lyre pattern squinches with lunettes having painted figures in roundels. Dining room has painted peacock frieze on deep coving, brought forward on freestanding pink marble Cornithian columns which flank a round arched inglenook with Elizabethan style overmantle and grate with blue and white figure painted cheeks; flanked by stained glass windows. Fretwork screen to window bay. Morning room ceiling replaced following war damage and painted in contemporary theatrical trompe-l'oeil style by Anne Zinkeisen. French style drawing room has C18 Florentine doors, white and gold plaster ceiling, elaborate chimney piece and overmantle and fretwork screen to window bay. Upper rooms have various scenically painted ceilings and cornices. Scenes include Burmese, Japanese, pastoral and nautical. Lady Russell-Cote's boudoirs in Adam Revival style having a pink stencilled scheme incorporating cameo medallions and laure swags; good chimneypiece and overmantle; fretwork screen to window bay. Arabic style painted polygonal vestibule with stained glass dome leads to study having open screen, golden imitation Spanish leather wallpaper and painted coved cornice depicting pastoral bird scenes. Irving Room has painted medallions. Picture gallery top lit with patterned stained glass including a compass; Corinthian screen to gallery entrance and Corinthian doorcases with painted texts to openings form an enfilade. Tiled toilets and former bathroom with stencilled walls, tiled dado and painted panel depicting a peacock, a parrot and fruit. The Display Space has top lighting domes, one with stained glass depicting local landscapes by Sasha Ward; circular opening to second floor allows dome to be seen from first. Floors approached by spiral stair in glazed turret.

Lord and Lady Russell-Cotes made their money from the Royal Bath Hotel, Bournemouth. They travelled widely and collected extensively; the house was built both to accommodate the collection and entertain on a large scale. In 1908 they presented the house and contents to the Corporation of Bournemouth, though retaining their right to live their for their lifetime. By 1922 both had died and the house and gallery were opened to the public. It is particularly complete example of middle class aesthetic taste. The Display Space contains commissioned sculpture, stained glass and furniture by contemporary artists and designers, in the tradition of the original house.

Listing NGR: SZ0922290894


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

Legacy System number:
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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

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 05 Sep 2001
Reference: IOE01/04847/03
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Trevor Fenwick. Source Historic England Archive
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