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Kenwood House

Kenwood House Review

This largely Palladian villa was first built in 1616 and later extended, first by Robert Adam starting in 1767 and later by George Saunders in 1795. Adam refaced most of the exterior and added the splendid library, which, with its vaulted ceiling and Corinthian columns, is the highlight of the house for design aficionados. A recent major renovation has restored four rooms to reflect Adam's intentions as closely as possible, incorporating the furniture he designed for them and his original color schemes. Kenwood is also home to the Iveagh Bequest, a superb collection of 63 paintings that includes masterworks like Rembrandt's Portrait of the Artist and Vermeer's The Guitar Player, along with major works by Reynolds, Van Dyck, Hals, Gainsborough, and Turner. The grounds, which are bordered by Hampstead Heath, are equally elegant and serene, with lawns sloping down to a little lake crossed by a trompe-l'oeil bridge. All in all, the perfect home for an 18th-century gentleman. In summer the grounds host a series of popular and classical concerts, culminating in fireworks on the last night. The Brew House café, occupying part of the old coach house, has outdoor tables in the courtyard and a terraced garden.

Updated: 03-03-2014

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