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Sutton Scarsdale Hall

Sutton Scarsdale Category Historic Sites
Sutton Scarsdale Hall image

The imposing shell of a grandiose Georgian mansion built in 1724-29, with an immensely columned exterior. Roofless since 1919, when its interiors were dismantled and some exported to America: but there is still much to discover within, including traces of sumptuous plasterwork. Set amid contemporary garden remains, including ha-ha ditch and parish church

Notable craftsmen were employed here: Edward Poynton of Nottingham carved the exterior stonework and the Italian master craftsmen Arturi and Vasalli carried out the fine stucco (plasterwork) detailing in the principal rooms, remnants of which can still be seen.

Grinling Gibbons is believed to have contributed some of the interior wood carvings. The cost of this splendid building left the Scarsdale heirs with depleted funds and they were eventually forced to sell the hall in the 19th century.

John Arkwright, a descendant of the industrialist Richard Arkwright bought the hall, but in 1919 the family sold it to a company of asset strippers.

Many of its finely decorated rooms were sold off as architectural salvage and the house was reduced to a shell. Some rooms still exist: three interiors are displayed at the Museum of Art in Philadelphia.

A pine-panelled room is at the Huntington Library, California. It was offered to the Huntington by a Hollywood film producer who had used it as a set for a film, Kitty, in 1934. He had bought it from William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper magnate and well-known collector.

The ruins of the hall were saved from demolition by the writer Sir Osbert Sitwell, who bought it in 1946 after he had heard of the impending sale to dismantle the stonework.

In 1970 descendants of the Sitwells persuaded the Department of the Environment to take the building into guardianship and preserve it for the nation.

A recent programme of works has been undertaken by English Heritage to preserve and protect the fragments of the original stucco interior

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