DescriptionThe home of the Lytton family since 1490, when Thomas Bourchier sold the reversion of the manor to Sir Robert Lytton, Knebworth House was originally a red-brick Late Gothic manor house, built round a central court as an open square. The panelled banqueting hall off the main entrance is by John Webb, the best-known pupil of Inigo Jones. In 1813-16 the house was reduced to its west wing, which was remodelled in a Tudor Gothic style by John Biagio Rebecca for Mrs Bulwer-Lytton, and then was transformed in 1843-45 by Henry Edward Kendall Jr. into the present Tudor Gothic structure. A third storey added to the E, entrance front in 1878 by John Lee. The interiors were styled by JG Grace. Servants’ wing added at same time by George Devey, this demolished and replaced in 1950. Sir Edwin Lutyens, married Lady Emily Bulwer-Lytton (1874-1964) in 1897 at Knebworth. She was the daughter of The 1st Earl of Lytton, who served as Viceroy of India between 1876 and 1880. From 1907, Lutyens alterations included the library, the banqueting hall, drawing room and some bedrooms. Lutyens also simplified the main parterre. A herb garden, with an interlaced quincunx design, was drawn by Gertrude Jekyll in 1907, although not planted until 1982. (Contributor: Paul Waite)
The Dining Parlour, at the n end, has c17 panelling painted white by Lutyens; a coved passage between the two rooms has remains of c16 arabesque painted decoration after Vredeman de Vries, exposed during repair work. The library, at the nw corner of the house, was also redecorated by Lutyens, replacing a scheme by Crace. Fireplace with marble roundel of the 1st Earl by Alfred Gilbert; he and Lutyens also did the Earl’s monument in St Paul’s Cathedral…The rest of the first floor contains bedrooms along a corridor carved out by Lutyens. …The stable block, detached from the house to s, appears to be of 1813–16, but is older and timber-framed behind its red brick Tudor Gothic front. – w of the house a formal garden by Lutyens. The small herb garden on its s side was designed by Gertrude Jekyll in 1907, but not laid out until 1982. (Bettley et al, 2019, pp.340-1)
BibliographyBettley J, Pevsner N, Cherry B (2019) Hertfordshire. The Buildings of England. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Also Cited In
ClientEarl of Lytton