22/30/4 HIGH STREET
Grove House including Moorish Room
(Formerly listed as:
House, later C17, known as the Brick House in 1669, enlarged in the mid-C18 and remodelled in the early to mid-C19 and early to mid-C20. MOORISH ROOM added 1892-6 based on drawings of the Alhambra by Owen Jones (1809-74).
MATERIALS: front C18 range, red-brown brick with red brick dressings, rendered quoins, plinth, plat band, parapet, porch and gable walls; pitched slate roof. Rear C17 range; red brick with red brick dressings, similar rendered dressings and a hipped slate roof. The MOORISH ROOM is of stock brick with flush red brick and stone dressings, and the dome is clad in lead.
PLAN: a double-pile plan building, in other words of two parallel ranges, of two storeys and a basement. To the north of the main ranges is a shallower three-storey range. Attached to the north-east corner of the house is a single storey Moorish Room or music room which leads to a small conservatory and footings of a polygonal conservatory or glasshouse. The MOORISH ROOM is a rectangular single storey building with a large domed roof.
EXTERIOR: a symmetrical five-bay main range has six-over-six-pane sashes, mostly later C19, under scalloped canopies, the upper floor cills resting on a slender rendered plat band. Windows lighting the stair are replaced in original openings with fixed rectangular leaded lights within an integral round arched head. The ground floor sash at the base of the stair, and now partly blocked, may be of early C19 date. The south gable wall has inserted windows also with leaded rectangular panes and overlights. A rendered moulded cornice and blocking course has a shallow central pediment. The mid-C19 porch is flat-roofed with pilasters at the angles and round-headed side openings and with a pair of eagles perched on the roof. The front door is panelled and part glazed and, although it appears to be C20, is hung on robust HL and H hinges.
The shallower three-storey, two-bay range has a plain brick parapet and six-over-six-pane sashes in exposed boxes on the upper floors, some may retain early glazing bars. On the ground floor a door is inserted into one window opening while the second is enlarged. A small oculus is inserted on the first floor. There are brick stacks on the north gable wall of each front range and centrally on the ridge.
Rear: also of two storeys and five bays. Quoins and the parapet are similar to the entrance front. Windows are tall and narrow, reminiscent of late C17 or early C18 forms, but on the ground floor have flat-arched gauged red brick architraves. The upper floor has six-over-six-pane sashes with very slightly cambered heads. Windows on the ground floor have full-height casements beneath rectangular overlights, all with rectangular leaded lights, and open on to a central splayed flight of stone steps and a shallow balcony which extends across the full width of the façade. The balcony is formed of concrete slabs supported on pierced cast iron brackets and projects over the basement. Railings are replaced.
Attached to the Moorish Room is a simple rectangular gabled timber conservatory which leads to a polygonal paved area with a rendered parapet wall which is thought to have supported a glazed superstructure, possibly with a central opening, beneath which is a circular pond with a stone rim. These are all loosely based on the Court of Lions, at the Alhambra.
EXTERIOR OF THE MOORISH ROOM: the northern elevation has triple horseshoe headed windows. Similar openings flank the conservatory on the garden front. The roof has ribbed segments and supports an almost spherical cupola of which each segment has a circular glazed opening and on top of which is a finial surmounted by a crescent moon.
INTERIOR: the hall is a single space with stairs set against the southern gable wall, opposite a pair of round arched alcoves and a doorway which flank a small moulded stone fireplace. The modillion cornice at least in part appears to be C18 and is said to resemble others in the neighbourhood. Walls are panelled, with a rinceau moulded dado. Doors are of six moulded panels in deep panelled linings and moulded architraves. Windows also have panelled linings. Oak stairs probably of early to mid-C20 date, when the hall appear to have been remodelled, are thought to be based on the C18 stair. The stair has columnar Corinthian newels and twisted balusters, three per tread, moulded tread ends and a ramped, moulded rail. The form is echoed in the dado which has raised and fielded panels. The former drawing room has a late-C19 or early-C20 moulded stone fireplace with herringbone brick linings, the adjacent room has mid-C20 three-quarter panelling with an integral fireplace. Upper floor rooms have plain six-panelled doors; one fireplace has a moulded surround and overmantel. Small sections of moulded cornices ceiling mouldings remain, most visible in corridors. Back stairs have turned newels and stick balusters. The basement has brick-vaulted cellars and stone flag floors, some reset at a lower level.
INTERIOR OF THE MOORISH ROOM: laid out as a central rectangle under the dome, with shallow lateral bays under horseshoe-shaped arches supported on slender timber shafts enriched with plaster mouldings. It is very richly decorated. Thin pre-cast plaster wall panels and dado panels simulated to look like tiles are attached to wooden slats fixed to the walls. Tiles, where used, may be imported from Spain. The apparently carved interlacing under the dome is of embossed paper, although the pierced fretwork panels above and surrounding the door and window openings are of timber. External and internal windows in gilded frames have shaped heads, some cusped, with leaded coloured glass either in geometric patterns or with slender leaded rectangular clear glass lights; some internal doors and windows have open timber fretwork panels. Panelled doors, in enriched gilded frames and with glazed panels under cusped arched heads, lead to the conservatory. Polished stone steps lead to a gallery at entrance level with a pierced balustrade of small rectangular fretwork panels with inset panels resembling cypress trees or seeds. Floors are of polished stone inlaid with dark marble spokes radiating from a central octagon. The room retains most of its original polychromy in rich reds and blues and greens, with gilded timber shafts, which very closely copy Owen Jones' drawings of his interpretation of the Alhambra. The room was heated, cast iron vents echoing the design of the dado panels are set into the lower wall.
HISTORY: local tradition associates the building of the Moorish Room or music room at Grove House with JC Stutfield, a retired army officer who leased the house from 1892 until his death in 1925, who, it is said, having converted to Islam while in the East, built the Moorish Room as a mosque. More accurately it appears that Stutfield, who joined the army in 1873, was based in Gibraltar in 1880 from where it is possible that he visited the Alhambra in Granada, in southern Spain. Equally, the Moorish Room may have been inspired by his brother HEM Stutfield (d 1929) who travelled to Morocco and published various works on mysticism and religion. The Alhambra, set above the Spanish city of Granada, is one of very few medieval Islamic palaces to survive in the world. Built in the C13, and largely decorated in C14, it fell to the Catholic forces of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492, after which it became a royal residence. Between the end of the C16 and the later C18 it was neglected until it was rediscovered by travellers on the Grand Tour. In the 1830s Owen Jones (1809-74) and Jules Goury (1803-34), as young architectural students, spent many months recording the site, their studies published between 1836 and 1845 as Plans, Elevations, Sections, and Details of the Alhambra.
The Moorish Room at Grove House is a very rare surviving example of Jones' interpretation of polychromy at the Alhambra, theories which influenced the C19 restoration of the historic site. But for the fact that Jones had died in 1873, the room could be ascribed to him. His influential ideas and designs were made available to the public by example, through the Alhambra Court at the Crystal Palace, built when it moved to Sydenham in 1854, but gained particular prominence through the publication of Plans, Elevations, and Sections and Details of the Alhambra, which was effectively used as a pattern book. This is an example of how advancing knowledge affected taste, introduced first through the Grand Tour to elite circles, but also how it became commonly available through the increased availability of accurately reproduced information, in this case through Jones' pioneering use of chromolithography, which he developed to reproduce coloured plates for the books. The extraordinary, untouched, survival of the room at Grove House also demonstrates the technical process. It shows that the interior was pre-cast and assembled on site. Pattern book designs could therefore be mass-produced to supply a large and demanding market for off-the-peg interiors. There is at present little indication of this industry, other than in the survival of untouched interiors such as this.
In the public realm this interest in Moorish taste spawned theatres and baths such as the Turkish baths at Victoria Baths, Manchester of 1866 (Grade II*) and at Bishopsgate, City of London, built in 1894-5 (Grade II). In the domestic house, and very much in the male domain, it inspired smoking, music and billiard rooms, such as the Moorish smoking rooms at Rhinefield Hall Hampshire built by Romaine Walker in 1888-90 (Grade II*), and the smoking room at Breadsall Priory, Derbyshire, in 1861. This widespread taste for Moorish fashion in the home began to decline by the end of the C19 after which much of it was replaced.
Owen Jones interest in polychromy, of which Islamic art was a part, is seen across the spectrum from the interior of churches such as St Bartholomew, Sutton Waldron, Dorset built in 1847 (Grade II*), to commercial buildings such St Paul's House Leeds, of 1878 (Grade II*), and the former bazaar and winter gardens Bristol of 1878 (Grade II; and in domestic buildings such as Woodhouse Hall, Leeds of 1847 decorated using his designs (Grade II). Although Jones had died in 1874, his drawings provided the model for the Moorish music room Grove House in the 1890s. The room was associated with a conservatory in the centre of which is a circular pond and a narrow canal leading from it, reminiscent of the Court of the Lions at the Alhambra, all of which may have combined to create a setting for exotic plants, fragrances and possibly birds.
SOURCES: B Cherry and N Pevsner, Buildings of England, London 2: South, 1983, p 479.
Unpublished: Tonia Raquejo (trans Mariam Rosser-Owen). El Palacio Encantado: La Alhambra en el Arte Britanico (The Enchanted Palace: the Alhambra in British Art),1989, p 161-165
Mariam Rosser-Owen, Grove House: report from site visit on 19 October 2007, Victoria and Albert Museum, 2007
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, http://www.oxforddnb.com/ accessed 26 October 2009
Twickenham Museum,www.twickenham-museum.org.uk, accessed 20 October 2009
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: Grove House, an C18 house on a C17 core, remodelled from the early- to mid-C19 to the early C20, and to which The Moorish Room was added in the 1890s for JC Stutfield, based on designs by Owen Jones, is designated at Grade II* primarily for the Moorish Room and for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural Value: the early and successively altered house has special interest for the suriving form and fabric; of more than special interest is the Moorish inspired room which very closely follows drawings of the Alhambra by the influential C19 architect and antiquarian Owen Jones
* Plan: a double pile plan house of later C17 and C18 ranges; a late C19 music room or salon related to an attached conservatory in fashionable Moorish manner, following the revival of interest in the C14 Alhambra, southern Spain
* Materials: untouched fabric which shows that the interior was manufactured off-site and assembled on site, a rare indicator of an industry which was capable of supplying a mass market
* Intactness: a very rare surviving intact Moorish domestic interior, which is an example of a once widespread fashion
* Historical Interest: influence on C19 taste of the survey of the Alhambra by Owen Jones and Jules Goury, published as Plans, Elevations, Sections, and Details of the Alhambra, 1836 to 1845, and of Owen's Alhambra Court at the Crystal Palace of 1854