Dining room from Kirtlington Park, Oxfordshire, 1742–48
Designed by John Sanderson (English, active from 1730, died 1774)
the dining room at Kirtlington Park, in Oxfordshire, was widely regarded as one of the most beautiful Rococo rooms in England. Sir James Dashwood (1715–1779), baronet, devoted much of his energy and fortune to the building and furnishing of Kirtlington Park. The interiors were by the London architect John Sanderson (active 1730–74) whose original designs, now in the Metropolitan Museum, show several variations for an essentially Palladian room. What is not Palladian is the stucco decoration, which exhibits a combination of Italian Baroque and early French Rococo motifs: masks, eagles, shells, scrolls, and trophies of fruit and flowers. Large-scale stuccowork came into vogue in England in the 1720s, when a number of skilled stuccadores arrived from northern Italy. But the exuberant plasterwork in this room was done by a young local artist from Oxford, Thomas Roberts (1711–1771). Two paintings by François Boucher, made in 1768 for the duc de Richelieu, now occupy the large plaster frames on the end walls.