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Hampton House (later Garrick’s villa), Hampton Court Road, Richmond: designs for alterations to the house and garden buildings for David Garrick, 1774-77 (7)

Signed and dated

  • 1774-77


David Garrick (1717-79) was an actor and playwright. He was the third of seven children of Peter Garrick an army officer, and himself the son of a French Huguenot émigré merchant. From 1737 Garrick and his brother Peter established themselves as wine merchants, with an office and cellars in Durham Yard off the Strand. It was through this profession that Garrick became acquainted with various theatre managers, began to write plays, and then to act professionally in 1741. His innovative naturalistic acting style made him popular, and brought him considerable wealth. In 1747 he was able to spend £8,000 on a 50% share of the patent to manage the Drury Lane Theatre. In 1749 he married a Viennese dancer, Eva Maria Veigel (1724-1822), and five years later in 1754 they purchased Hampton House, Hampton-on Thames. Garrick retired from acting in 1776, and the management of the Drury Lane Theatre then passed to his friend, the Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816). Garrick died from kidney stones at his home at the Adelphi in 1779. He was buried in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.

The origins of Hampton House are unknown, but it has been suggested that parts of the fabric date from the seventeenth century. Robert Adam was commissioned to undertake work on Hampton House in 1774. It is known that he made alternations to both the fabric and the interior decoration, although the surviving drawings are limited. He did reface the building with Liardet’s composition stucco, and he transformed the portico on the principal (south) front into the Spalatro order, with lotus capitals. The extant plan and elevation of the house at Sir John Soane’s Museum shows the addition of offices to the left-hand side of the house. This was not executed, and instead a block was added in this location during the nineteenth century. Although Adam’s alterations to the house survive, his refacing in Liardet’s composition was – characteristically – found to be faulty, and was replaced by Eva Maria following Garrick’s death, with the extant brickwork.

Following Eva Maria Garrick’s death in 1822, both Hampton House, and the house on the Adelphi were purchased by Thomas Carr, Eva’s solicitor, who made repairs and alterations to Hampton during the nineteenth century. In 1902 it was bought by the London United Tramways in order to widen the tramway, and provide accommodation for the managing director. In the 1920s it was purchased by the Richmond-upon-Thames district council, and was then sold back into private ownership in the 1970s and is now divided into flats.

See also: Drury Lane Theatre, London; The Adelphi, London; Hendon Hall, Middlesex.

A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume I, pp. 29-31, Volume II, Index pp. 16, 72; Survey of London, Volume XXXV, 1970, pp. 9-70; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume I, pp. 179, 207-212, Volume II, pp. 121, 183, 219, 247, 258; J. Ingamells, A dictionary of British and Irish travellers in Italy: 1701-1800, 1997, p. 391; H.R. Smith, The story of Garrick and his life at Hampton, 1998, pp. 1-13; ‘Garrick, David (1717-1779)’, Oxford dictionary of national biography online; ‘Garrick’s House, Hampton Court Road, Richmond’, British listed buildings online

Frances Sands, 2014



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Contents of Hampton House (later Garrick’s villa), Hampton Court Road, Richmond: designs for alterations to the house and garden buildings for David Garrick, 1774-77 (7)