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Engraving of aerial view of Rycote Park

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Engraving of aerial view of Rycote Park

Leonard Knyff and Johannes Kip
Early 18th century

This early eighteenth-century view of Rycote Park was produced by Leonard Knyff and Johannes Kip. It was included in the first edition of Kip's Britannia Illustrata in 1707.

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An engraving of Rycote by Kip and Knyff published as part of a series of idealised views of great country seats in 1714. This is the most complete view of the house to survive in the sense that its aerial perspective makes the layout of the building as well as its elevations legible.It shows the body of the house enclosed by a moat, with service buildings connected to it over a bridge to the left. In its original form, the body of the house probably comprised two open courtyards divided by a hall. The tall windows of the hall range are clearly visible. Their rectangular form suggests that the original Tudor hall had been rebuilt. By 1714 the inner court had also evidently been infilled with additional ranges of uncertain function. The principal withdrawing apartments were probably arranged along the façade to the right of the viewer. At the far end they probably terminated in the long gallery described by John Loveday in his visit to the house in 1736. Of the substantial formal gardens surrounding the house almost no vestiges today remain. Curiously, the Winstanley view of the house made in about 1695 shows a large arbour to the left of the approach to the house. This must have disappeared by the time this drawing was made, which suggests that some important changes were made between 1695 and 1714. Few details of the view, however, can be independently corroborated and the depiction of the surviving chapel shows that some of its details may be slightly distorted or simplified.

Dr John Goodall 15/04/2013

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