Marble Hill House (Greater London - England)

On the banks of River Thames, very close to Richmond is this building called Marble Hill House. It was the home of Henrietta Howard, an intellectual woman with a rather interesting life. 
She lost both her parents at a very young age and lived under the wings of the Earl of Suffolk, whole youngest son Charles Howard she married later on. However the marriage turned out to be sour one, as he turned out to be a compulsive gambler and lost all his property. 
Later they were employed by King George I and she became the mistress of his son George II, which made Charles angry. However he was given a handsome pension by the king to not bother her. Later on he became the Earl of Suffolk after his brother Edward's death and Henrietta became the Countess, since they had only separated and not divorced! 

In course of time, with the money received from Prince George II for being his mistress and his wife's lady of bedchamber, she built the Marble Hill House from 1724-29. That too she had to do in absolute secrecy, esp from her husband who was looking for every chance to loot her wealth!!! However after he died, she remarried the Earl of Berkeley. After his death, she lived in this house permanently. 
After her death, the house trasferred many hands before it came under the protection of English Heritage. However by then, most of the original paintings, furniture and products had been sold. Later on, in 1980s some of the Italian decorative paintings by Giovanni Paolo Panini were brought back to this house. 

Today though most of the original furniture, paintings etc aren't there, what's there is the original setting almost recreated. One of the two fabulous features to be mentioned are the Blue China Pottery that she loved and decorated with in many rooms and served her guests in, have been collected from various places and set up! Another is the gorgeous nature styled wallpaper complete with plants, birds, butterflies, dragon flies and many more!!! The wall paper also has a separate border detailing like bamboo stalks which gives it a complete look.

The entire building is in 3 floors. The staircases and whole wooden structure in is all made of Mahagony! The ground floor is where those miniature tea sets & nature wall papered room are there! The first floor is where most of the retrieved originals & set up to recreate original paintings, furniture etc can be seen.
The portrait of Henrietta painted in 1724 when she was in her 30s. She was partially deaf by then, however she looks peaceful, serene and gorgeous here! 
This peace of separator was found in a garage sale after it passed several hands! Its believed that Henrietta used 2 such screens in her room. 

The sofa with the upholstery made of tapestry is a piece of art! Just to believe that this was created in 1745-60, its just mindblowing!!! 

The 3rd floor is filled with several paintings, portraits and more ceramics. However the wooden planked floor was extremely squeaky!
Just behind this building is the Thames river and its a pleasure to walk on this road along the Thames and do some bird watching! And in front of the building is huuuuuuge area greenery of several acres! Perfect place for summer to see the interiors and chill out in the river side and picnic in the greenery!!!

To Get There:
Nearest Tube Station: Richmond

Entry fee: £6.60

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

17 comments:

  1. I would just love to see Marble Hill House. Aside from the fascinating history behind it, the detail in this house is just amazing. Everything from the carved features in the walls and ceilings through to the furniture, soft furnishings and ornaments. A by-gone era for sure but it's fun to imagine how they would have lived then.

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  2. Now this is somewhere I can say I've been! It's nice to see another part of London receive some recognition, and not only the usual tourist sights. You're right about the wallpaper with the birds, it's so pretty!

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  3. Now this is English heritage preserved at its best! I love the display of art (especially in the 3rd floor), even though some paintings and sections have been recreated. That's quite an interesting story. I'd never heard of it before. Cheers!!

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  4. Marble Hill House has a beautiful history and arts background. Being near River Thames, it has perfect neighborhood also just amidst nature. I loved the upholstery of sofa, paintings and wall art. This place is perfect for art admirers.

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  5. The marble hill house is quite fascinating and so is the story of Henrietta Howard. The house gives a nice glimpse of her lifestyle. Love the painting on the antique sofa and the beautiful ceramics. Portrait of Henrietta is lovely. This for sharing this beautiful piece of history.

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  6. The story of life of Henrietta is intriguing indeed. Marble Hill House sounds interesting. It is always fascinating to visit historical mansions and walk through the lavish furnishings and ornate collections which give an insight into the life of the owner.

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  7. Wow, what an incredible journey of Henrietta, so many ups and downs in her life. I hope she lived a happy life in this beautiful house. The wall paper is my favourite part of the house, it is so gorgeous.

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  8. So nice to read a post that includes in-depth history. Understanding the people gives the objects in the photos more personality.

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  9. What a beautiful home with such a rich history. the lady of the house certainly had a colourful history and life given the time she lived in too. the decor is stunning.

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  10. The history is interesting and the house looks so elegant and classy. I am glad she finally lived in the house. The decor is lovely. I would love to see this house.

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  11. Such an interesting place to visit paired with an equally interesting history to match... Glad to see that original setting is being recreated. Would be a shame otherwise.. There are indeed a lot awesome things to see here.. The wall paper, the painting and that upholstery is pretty gorgeous and very well-preserved, too!

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  12. Wow, what a story! Henrietta Howard certainly had an intriguing life! It's so sad that he was partially deaf when she was in her 30s! I would love to visit the Marble Hill House too when we visit London next time. Thanks for sharing this story!

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  13. Nice residence. Somehow I am not surprised by the history when it comes to the mistress and being paid off. I think that happens several times in history. The house does look very nice and very well kept.

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  14. As a history teacher, I eat this kind of post up! I'm so glad the house was finally put in historical protection. I love how Henrietta was able to build a life for herself in spite of her husband's money issues. Great story!

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  15. Wow! I never knew about this place even though I have lived quite close to it for a little while while I was younger. Beautiful and absolutely worth a visit. Thanks for sharing!

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  16. I never knew this place before else I would have made sure to visit in my earlier trips to England. None the less, I will definitely add this in my itinerary in my next trip. Very well written. Thanks for sharing.

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  17. Looks like a fun place to visit. I love these off the beaten path stops that are so full of history. And I will admit, that sofa looks to be in great condition considering it's 250 years old!

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