Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, the Grade-I-listed country home of Sir John Soane, reopens to the public on 16 March 2019 following a three-year, £12-million conservation and restoration project. Architect Jestico & Whiles has restored the 1804 manor according to Soane’s original design, and upgraded the adjacent gallery, which was built in the 1930s. Heritage specialist Julian Harrap Architects also consulted on the project.
Though the manor’s setting was rural at the time of construction, it now lies within the west London borough of Ealing, and its renovation was conceived by the local authority, which established the Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery Trust in 2012.
Top, above: front and rear elevations (phs: Andy Stagg)
The restoration project entailed the removal of later architectural additions and extensions as well as the conservation of original fabric and the reinstatement of important structural and decorative elements. These include the reconstruction of the conservatory, demolished in 1901, and the central rooflight, which returns Pitzhanger to the silhouette Soane intended. A recreated colonnade connecting the gallery and manor provides full accessibility for all visitors. Soane’s original intricate paint schemes have also been recreated following detailed historic paint analysis by interior decoration specialists Hare & Humphreys.
The project also entailed reuniting the building with its former parkland – now Walpole Park. For the first time, every part of the building is open to the public. A new cafe-restaurant, Soane’s Kitchen, designed by Jestico & Whiles and operated for Pitzhanger by Social Pantry, sits within the original walled kitchen garden.
Above: Breakfast Room and Eating Room (phs: Andy Stagg)
The upgraded gallery will stage three major exhibitions a year, featuring the work of contemporary artists, architects and designers, shining a new light on Soane’s legacy. The inaugural show features sculptures by Anish Kapoor that echo Soane’s ingenious use of mirrors and light to generate spatial effects.