Reg Haskell Photography

The Chinese Dairy at Woburn Abbey

Ornamental dairy in Chinese Chippendale style. Circa 1788 by Henry Holland for Francis 5th Duke of Bedford. Flanking covered ways are simpler and not Chinese in style, and may be later additions. Porch added soon after 1804 by Humphry Repton. Mainly of painted timber, with slate roofs. Dairy: small square building sited on western edge of ornamental pond. Single-storeyed, with shallow cross-gabled roof. Flat-roofed verandah around N, E and S elevations. W elevation built up against coursed ironstone wall. E elevation has central part-glazed double doors flanked by casement windows of same proportions. N and S elevations have large central windows. Gable of each elevation pierced by segmental-arched light. Roof is surmounted by octagonal lantern with fretwork sides and canopied roof. Verandah has timber columns with moulded bases and ornamental cut timber brackets to top. Geometrical trelliswork balustrading between columns and forming verandah parapet. Paved with hexagonal stones. External paintwork is predominantly red and white. INTERIOR: ornate painted decoration, probably by John Grace (Pevsner p.170), mostly mock fretwork and bamboo-work, in blue-grey, orchre, gold and black. Round-arched alcoves within angles give room octagonal form. Windows contain painted glass showing figures, birds, insects and foliage. S window includes "John Theodore Perrache fecit. 1794." Grey marble and ceramic tiles to lower part of walls. Stone paving (including marble) to floor. Around walls and to centre of room are bamboo and fretwork tables with marble tops. Bamboo and painted gauze lantern suspended from centre of ceiling. An important example of late C18 chinoiserie. Covered ways: adjoin to N and S, N one linking dairy to game larders (see item 10/150 ), S one running along rest of W side and part of S side of pond. Hollow-chamfered timber piers and timber segmental arches surmounted by gabled roof. Similar colour scheme to dairy exterior. Bedfordshire Record Office: CRT 130 Woburn 47, Notes on the park and garden buildings at Woburn Abbey, compiled by C Rhodes.
(ref: Historic England)
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