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Photographer: David F. Lewis

Folly Farm

Gazetteer No. G0166

Date 1901-12

Address Sulhamstead Reading, Berkshire RG7 4DF England


Lutyens worked at Folly Farm on two occasions for two different owners. First he enlarged a medieval cottage by adding an H-shaped house of silver and red bricks with a grand two-storied hall in the centre. This first house was a simple version of a William and Mary house with a square wall court connecting it to a brick arched entrance. The next owner needed more space and a more elaborate garden layout. Lutyens added a large wing in a historically earlier style reversing his usual process of adding extensions that were later stylistically. This 1912 wing dominates because of its great roof that swoops right down over the little cloister surrounding the goldfish tank. Folly Farm remained a farm with a charming circular dairy and agreeable stables and cottages. Two elements need emphasizing about Folly Farm: its garden layout is one of the most subtle and complex of any of the houses, and the original interior colour schemes were very much Lutyens’s own. The hall had black walls with red balconies and a white ceiling and the dining room had murals (now lost) by Lutyens’s great friend the artist William Nicholson.

It is worth noting that in 1912 when Lutyens was adding the masterly vernacular wing to Folly Farm he starting work on New Delhi. (Amery et al., 1981, cat no.137)


Amery, C., Richardson, M. and Stamp, G. (1981) Lutyens, the Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944): Hayward Gallery London, 18 November 1981-31 January 1982. London: Arts Council of Great Britain.

Also Cited In

Tyack G, Bradley S, Pevsner N (2010) Berkshire. The Buildings of England. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Gradidge, R. (1982) Edwin Lutyens: Architect Laureate. London: Allen & Unwin.

Weaver, L. (1913) Houses and Gardens by E L Lutyens. London: Country Life.

Pevsner, N. (1966) Berkshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Butler, A., 1950. The architecture of Sir Edwin Lutyens: the Lutyens memorial series. Vol 1: Country Houses, Country Life: London and Scibners: New York.

HUSSEY, C., 1922. COUNTRY HOMES GARDENS OLD & NEW: FOLLY FARM–II. Near READING, The Property of MR. ARTHUR GILBEY. Country Life (Archive : 1901 – 2005), 51(1309), pp. 146-153.

HUSSEY, C., 1922. COUNTRY HOMES GARDENS OLD & NEW: FOLLY FARM–I. Near READING. THE PROPERTY OF MR. ARTHUR GILBEY. Country Life (Archive : 1901 – 2005), 51(1308), pp. 112-119.

W, 1911. THE LESSER COUNTRY HOUSES OF TO-DAY: FOLLY FARM, SULHAMPSTEAD, BERKSHIRE, DESIGNED BY MR. E. L. LUTYENS. Country Life (Archive : 1901 – 2005), 30(759), pp. 7-8, 11.

Listing Grade


Listing Reference



H Cochrane 1906 and Zachary Merton 1912