This List entry was subject to a Minor Enhancement on 28/06/2017
CLIFTON HILL, Clifton (South-East side),
Clifton Hill House and attached front walls
(Formerly Listed as: CLIFTON HILL (South side) Clifton Hill House)
House. 1746-1750, dated 1747. By Isaac Ware. Built by Thomas
Paty. For Paul Fisher. Limestone ashlar with lateral and ridge
stacks and a slate hipped roof. Double-depth plan. Palladian
style. 3 storeys and basement; 11-window range.
Very good garden front has a central 5-window block with
3-window basement wings, to which ground floors added mid C19.
Vermiculated basement to a band, rusticated ground floor to a
plat band, first-floor sill band, cornice and parapet;
pedimented central 3-window section broken forward. A large
double stair projects from the centre of the basement to the
ground floor, with a balustrade and ramped rail, and urns on
the half-landings. Balustrades with urns to the wings.
Basement windows set in semicircular arches have tall keys and
impost bands, and 6/6-pane sashes with thick bars, and a
semicircular-arched central doorway below the stair.
Ground-floor doorway has a heavy Gibbs surround, split key,
thin consoles to a cornice, and half-glazed door; ground-floor
windows have deep keys. 6/6-pane sashes, 3/3 panes to the
second floor, with blind boxes to the first and left side of
the ground floors, and tall 2/2-pane sashes to the C19 wings.
The tympanum has a carved armorial shield of the original
owner with festoon each side. A cast-iron balcony to the
right-hand wing on thin stanchions with pierced brackets and
The road elevation is identical apart from the basement, but
with a 4-window right-hand ground-floor wing set forward with
a balustrade, and left-hand C19 service block; mid C19 porch
extended from the doorway with a matching Gibbs surround and
console cornice; monogram of the patron and date 1747 in the
INTERIOR: a good interior with fine rococo plaster ceilings. A
central through passage with vaulted ceiling, a large stair
hall with stone open-well stair with wrought-iron foliate
balusters and a fine decorated ceiling; fine rococo ceiling to
the former dining room, good C19 plaster ceilings to other
principal rooms, and good marble fireplaces; study with 3-bay
vaulted ceiling, with Gothick ogee labels with crockets and
pinnacles to openings; 6-panel door with fielded panels;
dogleg service stair to the basement has column balusters,
fielded panelling to pantry and basement rooms, stone niche
with a tap from the well, kitchen fireplace surround, and
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: attached ashlar wall either side of the
road doorway, with rusticated piers and scrolled brackets to
the sides of the doorway. Now part of a university hall of
residence linked by a mid C19 block to Callander House (qv).
A fine Palladian villa, part of an important group of early
and mid C18 villas at Clifton: the plasterwork is probably by
Thomas Paty, who was also responsible for the plasterwork at
Redland Court (qv).
Clifton Hill House was the home of writer John Addington Symonds and his wife Janet Catherine North from 1871-1877. It had previously been his father’s house and his boyhood home. Symonds’s writing was inspired by his sexuality and his affairs with other men. He influenced understandings of homosexuality in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly with the posthumous publication of Sexual Inversion (1897), which he had co-authored with Havelock Ellis.
Listing NGR: ST5751172924