Houghton Lodge is a Grade II* listed fishing lodge on the River Test in Hampshire, England which was built c.1800, possibly by John Nash for the Pitt-Rivers family. English Heritages suggested architect Nash, better known for his classical terraces, the largest of such cottages was designed for George IV in Windsor Great Park. However, it was at the developing seaside resorts that the style was most popular. The architecture of Houghton Lodge marks a period of informality in English architecture which begin in the 1770s, for the first time a visit to the country became something to be enjoyed rather than endured. The new fashion extended to architecture and incorporated elements from the growing interest in the picturesque and it was this separate wing which led to the break in symmetry so rigorously enforced by the preceding diktats of architecture, thus complementing the contrived informality of the architecture. Houghton Lodge exemplifies this cottage ornée style, the reception rooms are placed on the ground floor. The reception rooms, typical of the style, have windows, shaded by a verandah. Many of Houghtons windows are in the exaggerated, decorative Gothic, almost Islamic, the estate sits on the west side of the River Test, with watermeadows in the eastern part of the estate. An area of 5 acres of parks and lawns surround the house, a square planned grotto was built to the south west of the house in the early 19th century. Its brick vault and walls are lined with flint nodules. The grotto received a separate grade II listing in 1986, the early nineteenth century walled kitchen garden measures 95 m by 65 m, and is Grade II listed. The walls are rendered chalk cob, with greenhouses built against the west wall, one of these now houses a hydroponicum, demonstrating hydroponics, a system of growing plants without soil. A long herbaceous border flanks the exterior of the east wall, a topiary garden sits to the north of the house. The estate has been owned by the Busk family since 1910, the watermeadows are designated an ESA and are managed appropriately, without the use of any fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides. A 15-acre meadow walk has recently been developed here, the grounds are open to visitors year-round but the house is only open by prior appointment to organised groups. The house and grounds have been used as filming locations for the film Wilde, life in the English Country House. A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
Image: Houghton Lodge east face 2
Many of Houghton's windows are in the exaggerated, decorative Gothic, almost Islamic, style which originated from the Walpole's Strawberry Hill Gothic.