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British School


Hengrave Hall, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

The Painting

A watercolour measuring 7" x 13".

British school, c.1890.


The Subject

Hengrave Hall, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. A Tudor mansion built in 1525-38 by John Eastawe for Sir Thomas Kytson, merchant and sheriff of London. The house was constructed round a courtyard, incorporating the earlier de Hemegrave wing. The architectural writer Sir Nikolaus Pevsner considered Hengrave Hall to be ‘one of the most important and externally one of the most impressive houses of the later years of Henry VIII, in spite of much alteration.’ The south front seen in the watercolour was originally symmetrical, with canted bay windows on both sides. The right bay window was removed in 1775, at which time the right side of the façade was faced in stone and its roof gables replaced with crenellations. The centrepiece of the façade is a richly-decorated oriel window over the doorway, containing the arms of Henry VIII and the Kytson family. Flanking this are the two octagonal turrets of the gatehouse, with crocketed onion finials. In 1897-1900, after this image was painted, further alterations were carried out including the building of a north wing on the site of the demolished de Hemegrave wing.


Hengrave Hall has a royal past: Elizabeth I was entertained there in 1578 and James II stayed there a number of times in the 1670s. In the 18th and 19th centuries the Hall belonged to the Gage family. In the 20th century it served as a convent school and an ecumenical centre. It is now back in private hands.