Wanstead House

BookWanstead House

Wanstead House

East London's Lost Palace


March 1st, 2022





In c.1713, Sir Richard Child, heir to a mercantile fortune, commissioned Colen Campbell, to build Wanstead House, ‘one of the noblest houses, not only in England, but in Europe’. Campbell’s innovative classical façade was widely influential and sowed the seeds for English Palladianism. Its opulent interior by William Kent was equal to Kensington Palace and its extensive gardens were attributed to leading landscape designers George London and Humphry Repton.
Wanstead’s glory days came to an end in 1822, when a major sale of its contents was arranged to pay off financial debts. Two years later the house was demolished, its building fabric dispersed far and wide. A large crater on an east London golf course is all that remains of this once ‘princely mansion’.
Based on scholarly research, Wanstead House: East London’s Lost Palace provides the first illustrated history of the lost Georgian estate, charting the meteoric rise and fall of the Child dynasty. By restoring Wanstead’s reputation amongst the leading houses of the era, this book demonstrates that those lost in actuality, should by no means be lost to history.


Author Information

Hannah Armstrong completed her PhD at Birkbeck College, University of London, having previously studied at the University of Glasgow, where she graduated with a Masters with Distinction in Decorative Arts and Design History. In 2012, Hannah Armstrong was awarded the Anne Christopherson Fellowship at the British Museum's Prints and Drawings department. She lives in South West London.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
Illustration Credits
List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: In search of East London’s Lost Palace
Part One: Sir Josiah Child, ‘The Albion Croesus’ (1673-99)
Chapter One: Establishing a mercantile estate in the late 17th century
Part Two: Richard Child, Viscount Castlemaine and 1st Earl Tylney (1704-50)
Chapter Two: Richard Child and the early Wanstead landscape: ‘the noblest Gardens now in the Kingdom.’ (1704-13)
Chapter Three: Colen Campbell and the rebuilding of Wanstead House (1713-17)
Chapter Four: The Interiors of Wanstead House (1720-50)
Chapter Five : The Artinatural Landscape (1725-50)
Part Three: John Child, 2nd Earl Tylney (1750-85)
Chapter Six: John Child and the late 18th-century landscape
Chapter Seven: ‘A bird of passage’: John Child’s Italian sojourns
Part Four: Catherine Tylney Long (1805-25)
Chapter Eight: ‘The richest heiress of the British Dominions’
Chapter Nine: The Pole Tylney Long Wellesleys at Wanstead: A Regency revival (1812-22)
Chapter Ten: The Great Sales of Wanstead House (1822-24)
Chapter Eleven: Return from exile