DescriptionA small retreat house on the Downs for Mr William James of West Dean Park, planned as a ‘Trianon’ on the estate for use in hot weather. Six bedrooms, three living rooms and space for servants was the only accommodation provided – there were no bathrooms or lavatories. As at Homewood the garden façade of this house is recessed in the centre, but here there are columns (with tile shafts and carved stone capitals) not pilasters. In keeping with the long hot summers of Edwardian England there are large balconies for sleeping out. Outside symmetry of the chimneys resulted in the innovative placing of an ‘island’ fireplace in the principal bedroom resulting in an early ‘open plan’ interior. Mr Edward James the present owner (1981) of Monkton employed Kit Nicholson and Hugh Casson to transform the house with the help of Salvador Dali. Lutyens has been camouflaged by green paint, palm trees of bronze as columns and wildly surreal chimneys. Inside the carpets are patterned with dog footprints and the spirit of surreal wit competes with Lutyens at his more pedestrian as a neo-Georgian. (Amery et al., 1981, cat no.162)
Substantial detached house. 1902. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. External and internal alterations made in the 1930s for Edward James by Kit Nicholson and Hugh Casson with the help of Salvador Dali. Brick partly stuccoed; poly- chrome glazed tiles to hipped roof. Two storeys. South-west front of 5 main bays, the centre 3 recessed, of brick with some weatherboarding and with sleeping galleries to first floor, supported upon Lutyens’ stacked tile Ionic columns, Loggia balustrades with carved plumes. Outer bays stuccoed square headed windows flushed frame, central windows architraved; upstairs windows to outer bays with aprons treated as hanging drapery; plate glass. 4 pairs of spindly palm tree columns rising through ground and first floors flanking projecting bays and carrying drain pipes. These are said to come from the Pantheon in Oxford Street which was demolished at that time. Pointed stuccoed chimneys, one with clock face, one with inset mirror. Other facades also of architectural interest. The rear elevation has strip pilasters in the Adam style which may come from the Adelphi which was demolished at that time. Interior retains entire Nicholson/Casson/Dali decorative scheme, including curved staircase, wall fabrics and capitonné wall coverings, domed alabaster bathroom, furniture, etc. A rare survival. (Historic England, list entry 1026127)
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. Historic England. Monkton House. [Online] Available from: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1026127
Also Cited InWilliamson E, Hudson T, Musson J, Nairn I (2019) Sussex: West. The Buildings of England. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Weaver, L. (1913) Houses and Gardens by E L Lutyens. London: Country Life.
Aslet, C. (1982) The Last Country Houses. 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.