Main Image
Photographer: John C. Trotter


Gazetteer No. G0091

Date 1901

Address Old Knebworth Knebworth, Hertfordshire SG3 6PP England


Lutyens designed this house for his mother-in-law. It stands on its own in a woodland setting and from the entrance side appears to be a large, three gabled cottage on a classical base in a similar spirit to Philip Webb’s Standen or Joldwyns. The rusticated entrance porch with an open tympanum is an important visual clue to the classical spirit of this house. On the garden side the complex roof is sharply cut away to reveal a small, white classical villa emerging from a weather boarded shell. Apparently simple, Homewood has all the paradoxes of Lutyens’s larger and more complex houses.’ (Amery et al., 1981, cat no. 126)

An immensely sophisticated approach conceals the axial drive to the house, although the lodge indicates the arrangement. The small elm-weatherboarded cottage gradually reveals itself as a white-painted stuccoed classical villa. A diagonal movement through the house to the south is established at the porch where a classical entrance door is set deeply within and to one side of the porch. Here the detailing is richly ambiguous: the rusticated reveals appear as Tuscan pilasters, the tympanum of the pediment is omitted to light the interior of the porch and expressed voussirs of the flat arch, which should form the base of the pediment, support nothing but their own weight.

The staircase, similar to that of Tigbourne, rises between parallel walls in the centre of the house to a large top-lit landing and contains internal window through which the entrance vestibule borrows light. Terracing of the gently sloping site enlarges the house by implying that sections of the garden are square enclosures allied to the house. (Inskip, 1979, p.39)

House. 1900 by Sir Edwin Lutyens for the Dowager, Countess of Lytton. Vernacular and Georgian revival styles. Ground floor in whitewashed brick, upper floor weatherboarded. Plain tile roof with red brick chimney stacks. Wood mullioned and transomed windows with leaded lights. Entrance front has 3 gable ends, each with a cross window. Central tunnel arch to doorways with a segmental pediment and rusticated side piers. Suspended flat arch between the imposts. Sinqle storey end-pavilions repeat the rusticated piers and have small leaded lights. Garden elevation has a recessed centre with an applied loggia of 4 Ionic pilasters, above which is a deep eaves with mutules and panels. The ground floor has arched and mullioned french windows and the 1st floor 5 2-light windows. Wrapped around beneath the central eaves are single storey side wings with rusticated piers and angle dressings. Their inner parts are open loggias. The service side on E has a central 1-window turret with a 2-light attic window, the ground floor with a pent ice roof. Interior of house has fireplace surrounds and cornices in an early C18 style. (Historic England, list entry 1102736)


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.

Inskip, P. (1986) Edwin Lutyens: Architectural Monographs 6. 2nd edn. London: Academy Editions.

Historic England. HOMEWOOD. [Online] Available from:

Also Cited In

Bettley J, Pevsner N, Cherry B (2019) Hertfordshire. The Buildings of England. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Lawrence, R. R. (2009) The Book of the Edwardian & Interwar House [2013 ed]. London: Aurum Press.

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

Listing Grade


Listing Reference



Dowager Lady Lytton