Easton Neston


Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Institutional Internal Reference Code:



Design model for Easton Neston, Northamptonshire, by Nicholas Hawksmoor, 1694.

Date of creation:

c. 1715

Extent and basic medium:

1 model

Name of creator(s):

Maker Unknown

Administrative / contextual / biographical history:

This is the most important 17th century English country house model to survive. Easton Neston was designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor (1661-1736) for Sir William Fermor (1638-1711), created 1st Baron Lempster in 1692. Eaaton Neston was Hawksmoor’s principal domestic work. The form and disposition of the original interiors shown in the model are for an exciting and dramatic sequence of spaces. Although the room dimensions of the house as built are slightly different, the model gives a reasonably accurate indication of how the interior looked until about 1880. Almost a quarter of the the space was given up to a double-height entrance hall, grand staircase and first floor gallery. To provide the necessary domestic accommodation, the two ends of the house contain a complex series of mezzanine floors. In the model, the roof lifts off and each floor can then be removed, while interior features such as staircases, chimney breasts, columns, niches and plaster-work are indicated. Some of the detail of the exterior of the model are clogged by what appears to be late 19th century paint, while the paint over sand finish of the base was done in the 1960s.

Provenance / archival ownership history:

Sir William Fermor (1638-1711), 1st Baron Lempster; thence by descent at Easton Neston to Thomas Alexander Fermor-Hesketh, 3rd Baron Hesketh (b.1950); loaned by the 1st Lord Hesketh to the RIBA during the 1930s and again from 1971-80, by Christian, Lady Hesketh, widow of the 2nd Baron.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Sotheby’s house Sale at Easton Neston, May 2005, lot 170; purchased by the RIBA with the generous support of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund, the British Architectural Library Trust and the MLA/PRISM Fund.

Conditions governing access:

Open access

Materials, physical characteristics and technical requirements:

Oak with boxwood details

Finding aids available:

RIBA Library catalogue – http://riba.sirsidynix.net.uk/uhtbin/webcat

Bibliographic note:

Henry A. Millon, ed., The Triumph of the Baroque; architecture in Europe 1600-1750,1999, no.252, pp. 500-1.

Cataloguing rules or conventions followed:


Exhibition / display history:

Turin, Palazzo Stupinigi, Montreal, Museum of Fine Art, Marseille, Musee des Beaux Arts, The Triumph of the Baroque; architecture in Europe 1600-1750,1999-2000; London, Victoria & Albert Museum, Europe and the English Baroque; Architecture in England, 1690-1715, 2009 (unn.)

Subjects (Getty Art & Arch Thesaurus):

Models & model-making: architectural/Country houses; Great Britain; England; Northamptonshire; Towcester; Easton Neston


Easton Neston, Towcester, Northamptonshire, UK.


Nicholas Hawksmoor (1661-1736)