This view of Richmond is taken from the south bank of the Thames, at a bend in the river, looking towards Twickenham. Orleans House and Marble Hill House are visible on the north bank, in the right middle distance of the picture, and Ham House is just visible on the south bank, in the left middle distance. The houses of Twickenham can be seen in the centre middle distance. Orleans House was built in 1710 for James Johnston (1643-1737), Secretary of State for Scotland under King William III. The Octagon was built as a garden pavilion by James Gibbs in 1720, in brick and Portland stone. The most famous resident of the property was the Duc d'Orleans, during his exile from France between 1815 and 1817, hence the name it has today.
Marble Hill House was designed by Lord Henry Herbert and built by Roger Morris, between 1724 and 1729, for Henrietta Howard (c. 1688-1767). As the wife of Charles Howard, later Earl of Suffolk, and the 'exceedingly respectable and respected mistress' of the Prince of Wales, later King George II, Henrietta needed a retreat from the bustling, gossip-filled streets of London.
Ham House was built in 1610 for Sir Thomas Vavasour, Knight Marshal to King James I. It passed to William Murray in 1626 and to Lionel Tollemache, 3rd Earl of Dysart, in 1698, in whose family it remained until 1948, when the house was given to the National Trust.