Fancy spending a lunchtime strolling through the gardens of one of Twickenham’s iconic landmarks? Are you a history or architecture enthusiast? If your answer is yes, then a new permanent interpretation in the grounds of Orleans House Gallery could be just the thing for you.
Five new external interpretation markers have been installed as part of the iconic landmark’s seventeen month transformation project. The markers display text and images showing the original locations of the three hundred year old building’s front door, the corner of the house, as well as the 19th century circular fountain, library and gallery, and the former boat house.
These information boards will bring the historical site to life, as the main house and link building were demolished in 1926, and give visitors an insight into the history of Orleans House as a grand house of Ducs and Secretaries of State. Visitors will be able to get a feel for the scale of the original building commissioned in 1710 by the then Secretary of State for Scotland, as well as the 19th century additions.
The brass-topped wooden markers have been developed from images taken from Richmond Borough Art Collection and adapted by an illustrator.
The external markers are complimented within the newly-developed Orleans House Gallery by an interpretation area exploring the history of the site, which includes a large wooden model of the building as it appeared in 1926, the year it was demolished.
Cllr Paul Hodgins, Leader of Richmond Council and Chairman of the Orleans House Trust said:
“We want people who visit Orleans House Gallery to understand its role as a living, evolving piece of history within our borough. Over the last three hundred years it has served as a passion project to curry favour with royalty, a French Duc’s home-away-from-home, an art gallery, an education base, and now as an epicentre of the borough’s cultural programme.
“The new interpretation markers will allow people to picture the house at its grandest with its circular fountain, library entrance and boathouse. You will also see the steps to a tunnel under Orleans Road which still exist in the woodland around the House, even though the tunnel was boarded up with the demolition of the boathouse.
“The reopened Gallery will have so much to see and I do hope people take time to get lost in its fascinating history and enjoy the peacefulness of its surrounds once it is open to the public in March.”
— from a Richmond Council press release - 19 February 2018