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This Palladian villa, set in woodland by the Thames, was designed by John James in 1710 for the politician James Johnston with a baroque octagon by James Gibbs, which was added for entertaining George II’s Queen Consort, Caroline, who favoured Johnston, a former diplomat in Hanover. The house was given its present name after Louis-Phillippe, Duc d’Orléans, was exiled here during the Napoleonic wars.
The house was demolished in 1926, but the outbuildings and octagon were saved by the efforts of a local figure, the Shell heiress Nellie Ionides, who left them and her collection of 18th- and 19th-century pictures to the borough. Richmond Borough’s extensive art collection is now housed here and it includes a Study Room that has memorabilia of Sir Richard Burton, who went to school in Richmond and is buried in a curious tent-shaped mausoleum in nearby Mortlake. There is also a gallery of contemporary work at the House, and there are workshops and talks.
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