Robert Stayner Holford (1808- 1892), a prodigious and cultured Victorian millionaire, employed Louis Vulliamy to design and build this grand country house at Westonbirt in the later half of the ninteenth century.
Holford whose extraordinary history and accomplishments have largely been forgotten, was passionate about architecture, and had previously employed Vulliamy to design and build Dorchester House, a fine Italianate palazzo in Park Lane, with the aim of setting a new standard of architecture in London.
R S Holford amassed important collections of art and trees; these being his two greatest passions. So as well as building Dorchester House, he comissioned a grand new house at Westonbirt to display his many fine art treasures. Like wise he developed the Pleasure Grounds around the house and the now famous Arboretum to accomodate his impressive collection of trees, many of which came from international seed and planting expeditions.
Although Dorchester House was demolished in 1929 to make way for
the new hotel and the Holford’s Art and Library collections were
sold in the 1920s, Westonbirt House and the Arboretum remain a testament to
the quality of the family’s achievements. Westonbirt House has been a
boarding school since 1928 and is regretably little known to the public.
Westonbirt, a grand country home, designed by Louis Vulliamy, was the perfect place to display the fine
collections of art and trees of Robert Stayner Holford.