Architect: S.P. Cockerell
Photographer: A.E. Henson (1920)
Source: RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection
Sezincote is one of the most peculiar of British country houses, made even more unusual by its setting high in the Cotswolds. Built between 1805 and 1817 Sezincote was a family creation; having been built by Samel Pepys Cockerell (1753-1827) for his brother Sir Charles Cockerell. After making a fortune in India Charles retired to rural Gloucestershire where he wanted to remodel and enlarger his existing house in an Indian style. Samuel, who had never been to India, relied on advice from artist Thomas Daniell who had spent many years drawing local buildings there.
Samuel combined Mughal and Hindu elements to produce this exotic country house. Garden and estate buildings were also built in Indian styles, for example, the lodges are in the form of thatched Bengal huts. Inside, the house is decorated in a rich but conventional classical style. The picturesque landscape gardens were laid out with the advice of Humphry Repton.
This photograph reveals Sezincote’s delightful informality. The main block is topped by a flamboyant onion dome, lantern-like pavilions, exotic chimneys and deep eaves, all of which are direct quotations from Mughal architecture. Curving out from this is the greenhouse wing, ending in an octagonal pavilion, with its many arched windows reminiscent of peacock feathers. Covered in delicate geometric carvings, and topped by pinnacles, it is little wonder the Prince Regent was so impressed after a visit in 1807: his celebrated Brighton Pavilion was much influenced by Sezincote.