Villa Rotonda and its influence

Nuthall Temple

Elevation of the east front of Nuthall Temple, Nottinghamshire

Copyright: RIBA Library Drawings Collection


Nuthall Temple was the last house to be built in the 18th century to show the influence of the Villa Rotonda.

Like many other 18th-century British country houses, it was formed of an almost square building topped by a dome and entered via a temple-like portico. However, here the portico does not project from the building but is recessed, more akin to Scamozzi’s Rocca Pisani.

In terms of the dome the villa is also closer to the Rocca Pisani than to the Villa Rotonda, with its octagonal drum and saucer dome.

The architect, Thomas Wright, was designing for Sir Charles Sedley, a country landowner, however he had clear ideas about how he thought a country seat such as this should look since he was also designing a villa for himself in County Durham at around the same time.

Ultimately, the story of Nuthall Temple is not a happy one. Completed to a high standard in 1757, it passed through generations of the Sedley family and then on to the Holden family. In the 1920s the Holdens faced high death duties and so sold the estate to a demolition firm.

Nuthall Temple fell into ruin and remained a curious local landmark for many years, until dynamite was finally used to demolish it and clear the way for the M1 motorway.