DescriptionBuilt for the daughter of Richard Combe, for whom Shaw designed Pierrepont, Fulbrook is wayward, with many inventive features. Particularly interesting is the complicated form of the South West wing and the South garden front, set at right angles to the entrance, with its deeply undercut verandah. The interior is one of his first formal classical designs. A series of letters to Mrs Streatfield survive and fully document the building of the house. The design was begun in October 1896; drawings were finished on February 24, 1897; and the contract signed on April 5, 1897 with the house virtually complete in May 1898, but many details in the garden etc., were not settled until March 1899 when the ‘extra’ bill was paid. Lutyens received 2 ½ per cent of the contract sum of £6,840 (in contrast to 6 per cent today), but he did use a Clerk of Works, paid separately by Mrs Streatfield. (Amery et al., 1981, cat no.114)
Compact, medium-size house by Lutyens, 1896–9, making the best of its site on a knoll above the River Wey. Paid for as a wedding present to Gerald and Ida Streatfield by her father, Richard Combe of Pierrepont (q.v.). A fine building but one with a picturesque disunity in the elevations (Nairn called it ‘genius and banality side by side’). Mostly in the Tudor style. Near-symmetrical gabled stone entrance front on the W side, E-plan with a porch and wings projecting, that on the r. dissolving into the counterpoint of a roof descending from the adjoining S range with two storeys of glass canted bays between tile-hanging; as an afterthought, but one of sinuous elegance, is the tile-hung octagonal turret (for an extra lavatory) which jolts the W front out of balance. On the N side the wing sweeps down in a catslide and, together with a matching roof on the E front, magnificently frames the kitchen court.
The garden front to the S is an unexpectedly audacious – if not really successful – play on the tradition of a Wealden house, with canted bays at either end under gables and the eaves of the roof carried between them in a continuous line on curved bracing above a deep recess. In this there is a square bay flanked l. and r. by galleries for the bedrooms under timber arches and with turned balusters and loggias beneath (features expressly required by Ida Streatfield so, if the result is strange, Lutyens was only trying to please). The E front was in the Norman Shaw style: a square bay under a tile-hung gable, balancing a fat chimney with studded brick, and set back to the r. two conjoined tile-hung gables balancing a double-diamond chimneystack, the horizontal rhythms in each case maintained by the outward sweep at the foot of each stretch of tile-hanging. All this slightly obscured by extensions for a swimming pool by Roderick Gradidge, 1974.
The lugged stone architrave of the porch is a hint of the classical INTERIORS, Lutyens’s first excursion into this genre. The plan is unusual, with the entrance door actually set into the porch’s S wall and thus leading more directly into the main hall of the long garden front. The spatial dynamics of this living hall are especially interesting: the room is divided up by deep moulded beams linking the bay windows to apsidal and straight-ended recesses in the opposite wall. Ionic columns and piers at the junctions and framing the staircase, which runs off at one corner between two walls, with a semicircular opening on the side to the hall reflected as a blind arch on the inner side and with the first use of the elongated keystones so familiar later on. Some doors have the lugged and arched architraves also used e.g. at Tigbourne Court (p. 749). The dining room fireplace keystone flares into a large cove of red brick. In other rooms, fireplaces with rusticated surrounds of bevelled bricks. How one architect could put all these things together in one building is almost beyond belief.
The GARDENS were extensive, including a lake, downhill to the SW. Terraced gardens to the W; in the mid C20 the plantings were diluted and some of the structures, including a pergola, removed. There is also a LODGE, designed in 1897, another stroke of genius on a tiny scale. One gable and a very tall bold double chimneystack, and delicate arches with typical intermittent voussoirs of tiles, Roman fashion, a miniature Tigbourne. (O’Brien et al., 2022, pp.349-50)
BibliographyAmery, 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.
O’Brien, C., Nairn, I. and Cherry, B. (2022) Surrey. Pevsner Architectural Guides: Buildings of England. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Also Cited InGradidge, R. (1980) Dream houses: The Edwardian ideal. London: Constable & co. ltd.
Inskip, P. (1986) Edwin Lutyens: Architectural Monographs 6. 2nd edn. London: Academy Editions.
Gradidge, R. (1982) Edwin Lutyens: Architect Laureate. London: Allen & Unwin.
Aslet, C. (1982) The Last Country Houses. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Nairn, I., Pevsner, N. (1971) Surrey (Pevsner Architectural Guides: Buildings of England). 2nd edn. Yale University Press.
COUNTRY HOMES GARDENS OLD & NEW: FULBROOK HOUSE, SURREY, …. THE RESIDENCE OF .. MR. GERALD STREATFEILD. 1903. Country Life (Archive : 1901 – 2005), 13(317), pp. 144-150.