DescriptionThe Pleasaunce is quite startling on every elevation; each is different and mostly eccentric in its own way. Even the out-buildings are roguish. There were two villas of the 1880s on the site when Lutyens was commissioned to convert them into a seaside house. Lutyens wanted to take down the villas and build a new house but the Batterseas would not agree to that. Clearly unable to integrate them into one unified design, he seems to have decided to disguise them with a plethora of different architectural elements. In the garden façade alone there are nine different window types and five different building forms thrown together. The immensely long pergola has a roof of ‘simple sublimity’ (Lutyens writing of Mapledurham’s roof, August 28, 1898). Alterations continued for many years, but the house does seem to have been habitable from Raymonds Asquith’s description of August 2, 1898: “Lord Battersea suffers terribly from his wife, who is full of philanthropy and temperance and all that sort of nonsense, and while she is entertaining down at Buckinghamshire, he has been deputed to arrange a cricket match between the serfs of the Overstrand estate and the tenants of his Battersea shops – and here they are eating and drinking and talking their curious dialect, and exhaling a poisonous atmosphere of retail religion through one of the most beautiful houses’ in Norfolkshire. I call it monstrous!’ (Amery et al., 1981, cat no. 116)
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.
Also Cited InGradidge, R. (1980) Dream houses: The Edwardian ideal. London: Constable & co. ltd.
Gradidge, R. (1982) Edwin Lutyens: Architect Laureate. London: Allen & Unwin.
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.
Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. (1997) Norfolk 1: Norwich and north-east. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
Listing GradeII*, II, II*, II
Listing Reference1049817 1001013 1305854 1049777