Architect: N. Stone (1634)
Photograph: E. Smith (date unknown)
Source: RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection
This magnificent view down the long drive of Lodge Park, Gloucestershire seems timeless. Built in fine Cotswold stone, the house and park appear immaculate, the lodge at the end delightful for its measured scale.
In the seventeenth century, however, the view would have been very different: activity would have abounded all around. This was a grandstand for deer coursing. Greyhounds would have chased deer, to the delight of many spectators. This explains the prominence of the balcony, set over the three rounded arches of the portico, and the roof terrace. The building centred on entertainment, the balcony affording fine views of the activity below, and the adjoining rooms allowing guests to dine in style. The building was considerably larger then: the rear service wing was demolished in the early nineteenth century.
Built for John Dutton (1598-1657), of nearby Sherborne House, Lodge Park was completed some time before 1634. Because of its early seventeenth-century date and its splendid carvings derived from Classical architecture, it was long suggested that this was a work of Inigo Jones. However, looking more closely, this building is all about quotation: pediments, columns, rustication and balustrades refer to Italian Renaissance architecture of the sixteenth century. However, all parts jar. Decorations abut each other, almost overlapping. Hence in the eighteenth-century publication ‘Vitruvius Britannicus’ the engraving of Lodge Park shows a more considered design, less busy with carving; a correct version, but one lacking the joy of the original building that thankfully survives to this day.