Discover the house at Hinton Ampner

Hinton Ampner is a lavish passion project largely created by the last owner, Ralph Dutton, when he rebuilt the house after a devastating fire. Discover a rich tapestry of interiors as you wander through the rooms in this house that showcases his visions of a rural idyll, a fine country house and comfortable Georgian living.

The Entrance Hall 

The Entrance Hall occupies the front half of the original Georgian manor, built in 1793. The 18th century architectural features seen today were added from the 1930s onwards, replacing previous Victorian alterations. An example of a replacement piece that was brought in as part of the renovations is the porphyry chimneypiece, a type of rock with crystals embedded in it, which came from Hamilton Palace in Lanarkshire. Although it was badly damaged in the fire, it was expertly restored by the same masons responsible for the black and white marble floor. 

 

Most of the paintings at Hinton Ampner were purchased in the 1960s, including the imposing depiction of fishermen by Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi, and two works by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini - Selene and Endymion, and Susannah and the Elders. Flanking the door to the library are a pair of giltwood torchéres whose bowls would have carried gilded fruit, while under the stairs is an early 17th-century marble table-top inlaid with semi-precious stones. 

The Entrance Hall at Hinton Ampner is filled with interesting features and art works
Entrance Hall at Hinton Ampner, Hampshire
The Entrance Hall at Hinton Ampner is filled with interesting features and art works

The Drawing Room

After the fire the Drawing Room was redecorated solely in the Regency style. The colour scheme of rich gold and cream was chosen to match the French Savonnerie carpets, complemented by the giltwood furniture. The Georgian door-cases and marble chimneypieces came from Ashburnham Place in Sussex.

The Library

The blaze in 1960 destroyed this room, including the chimneypiece, and the remains of the books ‘had become almost petrified as if engulfed by a volcanic eruption’. The library you see today was rebuilt much as it was before, with a replacement chimneypiece sourced from Paris. 

The Library at Hinton Ampner, the source of the devastating 1960 fire
The Library at Hinton Ampner, Hampshire
The Library at Hinton Ampner, the source of the devastating 1960 fire

The Sitting Room

Many of the items in this room were saved from the fire by brave firemen passing the contents out through the windows. The Robert Adam chimneypiece, saved originally from Adelphi Terrace, London, thankfully survived the fire largely unscathed. On its mantelpiece are several urns made from Blue John stone, including a vase with intricate beadwork and a pineapple finial, supported by three gilt-bronze griffins kneeling on a trefoil-shaped gilt-metal garlanded platform. Don't miss the roundels either side of the door painted by Swiss artist Henry Fuseli, depicting Shakespearean scenes.  

The Dining Room

The Robert Adam plasterwork ceiling originally came from Lord Rosebery's house at 38 Berkeley Square, London. Although half the ceiling was destroyed in the fire, as were the original Angelica Kauffmann-painted roundels, enough survived so that moulds could be taken to reproduce the damaged sections. Renowned painter Elizabeth Biddulph was then commissioned to paint new roundels in an 18th century style.

 The giltwood pier-glass (or mirror) is another Robert Adam design. Dating from 1773, it is one of a pair, the other can be found in Basildon Park. The mahogany sideboard in the alcove was something of a bargain, picked up during the war for just £8. 

The Dining Room at Hinton Ampner - the Robert Adam ceiling has been 'rescued' twice in its lifetime
The Dining Room at Hinton Ampner, Hampshire
The Dining Room at Hinton Ampner - the Robert Adam ceiling has been 'rescued' twice in its lifetime

First floor

On the first floor can be found a series of beautiful bedrooms and bathrooms. You can now explore the south bedroom and take in the views over the south terrace. This room reveals more about ongoing conservation plans to restore the entire south suite, as well as the preventative work carried out throughout the year. 

As you explore the homely rooms upstairs, you'll discover Ralph Dutton’s collection of ceramics. As you head towards the master bedroom you will pass through the china corridor where he showcased some of his finest pieces of china. Amongst the collection shown in these cabinets are pieces by Wedgwood, Meissen and Spode. 

Ralph Dutton's Bedroom

This master bedroom enjoys fine views over the garden and across the surrounding countryside. Ironically, the fire made these easier to appreciate, since it provided the opportunity to lower the floors thereby achieving a more natural relationship with the windows. 

Ralph Dutton's Bedroom at Hinton Ampner
Ralph Dutton's Bedroom at Hinton Ampner, Hampshire
Ralph Dutton's Bedroom at Hinton Ampner

The Bathroom

Prior to the work carried out after 1935, there were no bathrooms at Hinton Ampner. The black panelled style was used in other bathrooms throughout the house. The master bathroom is complemented by a semi-sunken bath top-lit by a round skylight. 

The South Bedroom 

The principal guest bedroom is also home to one of the more elaborate chimneypieces in the house, featuring an eagle with a snake in carved white marble. 

Ralph Dutton's sleek modern bathroom at Hinton Ampner
Ralph Dutton's bathroom at Hinton Ampner, Hampshire
Ralph Dutton's sleek modern bathroom at Hinton Ampner