Kenwood House was originally built in the early 18th-century and purchased by the chief justice Lord Mansfield in 1754. He commissioned a famous architect of the time – Robert Adam – to expand the house, and added a south facade overlooking Hampstead Heath.
When Mansfield died in 1793 the building passed to his nephew – David Murray – who added two more wings designed by George Saunders. When it caught the interest of property developers in the 1920s, the land was purchased by the Kenwood Preservation Council who sold it to Lord Iveagh, heir to the Guinness fortune.
Kenwood House boasts a spectacularly ornate library filled with great works of art. When Lord Iveagh bought the building in 1925, he filled it with works by Rembrandt (Self Portrait), Gainsborough, Vermeer (Guitar Player) and Stubbs. There are also pieces by Van Dyck and Turner.
The house was generously bequeathed to the nation upon his death in 1928.
If you enjoy this then try: Carlyle’s House (catch the tube from Highgate to Carlyle’s House); Hampstead Heath; Keats’ House (walk it in 22 mins or catch a train from Highgate to Keats’ House); Leighton House Museum (catch the tube from Highgate to Leighton House Museum) and 18 Stafford Terrace (catch the tube from Highgate to 18 Stafford Terrace).
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