DescriptionLutyens originally came to Tavistock to discuss plans for a building estate for the Duke of Bedford. While the building estate did not materialize, Lutyens was commissioned to design a home for Major Gallie in the same area. (Little Court originally got its water from the reservoir designed for the estate and accessed through Lutyens’s design, The Pimple.) The ten-bedroom house was built with walls of local, greenish-brown stone and a stone-slated roof.
The U-shape of the front (north) elevation provides a forecourt with a center, columned entry portico containing a glazed porch and a double set of doors as protection against the north winds. Each wing of the symmetrical front elevation carries the distinction of a stepped chimney. Butler notes that the steps of the chimneys “both decrease in thickness and are slightly battered with a further inward tilt of their top two stones.” The rear elevation, facing south across the slightly sloping site, is more unusual. Here, the back of the U-shaped plan is joined with a center projecting block. A mansard roof with a deep coved eave covers the main U-block block of the house, while the projecting center block has a pitched roof that slopes down to just above the ground floor windows, with no coved eave. This center section is emphasized by the painted balustrade to either side, surrounding the flat roofs above the loggia and part of the drawing room.
On the interior, the rear walls of the dining room and morning room are three-feet thick to provide deep window reveals and window seats. The service area in the east wing is set up so there is a private area for a large kitchen window to look out upon, screened from the garden area and loggia on the south side of the house by a small wing for fuel, boots, and water closet. No windows overlook the forecourt entrance for the left (east) service wing or the garage and workshop in the right (west) wing. (Contributor: Robyn Prater)
Also Cited InPevsner, N., Cherry, B. (1989) Devon. The Buildings of England. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Butler, A., 1950. The architecture of Sir Edwin Lutyens: the Lutyens memorial series. Vol 1: Country Houses, Country Life: London and Scibners: New York.
THE LESSER COUNTRY HOUSES OF TO-DAY: LITTLECOURT, TAVISTOCK. DESIGNED BY SIR EDWIN L. LUTYENS, R.A. 1925. Country Life (Archive : 1901 – 2005), 58(1500), pp. xlv, xlvi.