Robinson's Guide to Richmond (1833)

Part 14
Aske Hall

Aske Hall

ABOUT two miles from Richmond is Aske Hall, the mansion of Lord Dundas, backed by noble woods, and commanding an agreeable prospect over the sloping lawns in front. It is a place of great antiquity, and was long the residence of a family of the same name; but consisted merely of a square tower, (which still forms part of the present house) surrounded by bare and swampy fields. In this state it remained until it was purchased, in the year 1727, by Sir Conyers D'Arcy, who commenced those improvements which have now rendered it one of the most complete country seats to be found in the neighbourhood.
By the true English kindness of the noble owner, we are enabled to give the following list of the paintings and statuary in the different apartments:-


  • A full length portrait in half-armour, with falling collar and slashed hose, said to be Prince Henry, the eldest son of James I.
  • Peter denying Christ, by Michel Angelo da Caravaggio.
  • Portrait of Earl Fitzwilliam, the grandfather of the present Earl
  • Vessel in a calm, near the land, by Cuyp.
  • Portrait of Lieutenant Colonel Dundas, of the 82nd Regiment, brother to the present Lord.
  • This room also contains a pair of smaller pictures of aged men, and a number of small landscapes on copper.


  • A view of Aske, by Cuitt.
  • A bust of the late Lord Dundas, by Chantry; a very striking likeness.
  • Portrait of a favourite Horse of the late Lord Dundas.


  • Over the fire-place, a Portrait of King George III.-Zoffany.
  • Portrait of a Gentleman, with a falling collar, playing on a guitar, said to be the Duke of Buckingham.
  • Ecce Homo, believed to be by Murillo.
  • The Poultry Yard, by Hondekoeter.
  • Portrait of a Lady, by Sir Peter Lely.
  • Christ bearing his cross, said to be by Murillo.
  • Portrait of the late dowager Lady Dundas, by Sir Joshua Reynolds.
  • DEAD GAME, by Weeninx; perhaps the best specimen of this master to be seen in the kingdom.
  • An Italian Landscape, by William Taverner, Esq.* an amateur.

There are also in this room a painting of a Girl in the dress of a boarder at a convent; and two Scripture pieces.

*This Gentleman is highly spoken of by Lord Orford, who mentions some pictures of his, "which" says his Lordship, "would have done credit to Gaspar Poussin."


  • Is a portrait of Sir Laurence Dundas, with his grandson, the present Lord, when about three years old, by Zoffany. This scene is a most accurate representation of the interior of a room in the mansion in Arlington Street, with pictures by Teniers, &c.


  • A large family picture, representing Sir Laurence and Lady Dundas, the late Lord and Lady Dundas, with their Sons and Daughters in Spanish dresses, by the Rev. Mr. Peters.
  • Full length portrait of King James in his robes.
  • Full length portrait, said to be Lady Effingham Howard, daughter of the Countess of Effingham.
  • Full length portrait of King George II.
  • Full length portrait of Queen Anne,
  • A full length portrait of William, Prince of Orange, afterwards King William III. of England, in the robes of a Knight of the Garter.


  • Portrait of Sir Laurence Dundas.
  • Full length portrait of the late Lord Dundas, painted at Rome, by Pompeio Bartolomeo.


In the entrance Hall are two exquisite relics of antique Statuary, purchased. by Lord Dundas, at Rome:- the first, a Cupid,

Was found in an excavation near St. John Lateran, in the very spot which historic evidence identifies as the site of Asinius Pollio's Villa. The right arm has been restored, but the head, though broken off and cemented, is original.

Opposite to this is a Statue of Leda, in a remarkably good state of preservation. The Swan has been restored, but the head and the prominent right arm have not even been broken off; and it is very seldom that an antique Statue is met with, which has not sustained some such accident. If so rare a subject were to be found in any of the excavations at this day, equally free from defects, it would not be suffered to leave the imperial city.

The hall also contains two other ancient statues, and a striking Bust, in plaster, of the late Peregrine Wentworth, Esq.

In the adjoining ante room, are copies, in marble from the Venus and lesser Apollo of the Medicean collection; a bust of the Hon. Mrs. Lane, his Lordship's daughter; and a small group of two lions combatant.

There is an extensive prospect over the surrounding landscape from the top of the Temple, a tall building which towers above the woods behind the hall, and is, in fact, built on the exact model of a Hindoo Temple; and on Pinmore Hill (between Aske and Richmond) is a Tower, bearing the grotesque name of Oliver Ducat, which is said to be a perfect counterpart of a Hindoo Hill-Fort.

On the opposite side of the valley, is the Park and ancient Mansion of Sedbury, formerly inhabited by a branch of the D'Arcy family, now the residence of the Rev. J. Gilpin, a descendant of the venerable Bernard Gilpin, justly styled "The Apostle of the North."

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Robinson's Guide to Richmond (1833)
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