Located in Ripley, Surrey, Dunsborough Park can be traced back to the dissolution of the monasteries in the sixteenth century when it formed part of the estates of Newark Abbey. Dunsborough House itself was built in 1630 as a farmhouse but it was in the eighteenth century that the gardens were first formally laid out when the Lord King's son obtained the freehold from the Lord of the Manor of Send and Ripley and sold the property and land to Lt Colonel George Onslow, MP for Guildford in 1785. The house was enlarged and modernised by successive generations of the Onslow family and an inscription of the Onslow family can be found in the brickwork of the house dated 1785 with the initials for Lt Col Onslow's sons - the Rev George Walton Onslow, the Rev Arthur Onslow and Pooley Onslow.
Following the death of Pitcairn Onslow in the late nineteenth century the house was bought in 1899 by George Maitland-King JP, former Surveyor-General of Hong Kong and then sold in 1905 to Charles Cleverly, JP, also a Surveyor-General in Hong Kong. Cleverly built a rifle range in the field south of the house which no longer exists and following his death in 1921 a memorial to him was erected in the parish church.
The estate's fascinating history continued into the 1930s when the house was sold to Oliver Simmonds MP, a prominent aviation pioneer, aircraft engineer and Conservative Party politician famous for his design for a twin engine aeroplane which was the first prototype for the Spitfire and his involvement in the first report on supersonic flight. In 1939 W Braxton Sinclair designed the Tudor style gatehouse at the entrance to Dunsborough Park and soon after the octagonal pumphouse, the bridge, pavilion, greenhouses and ha-ha were built.
In 1948 the estate was bought by Charles Hughesdon, the husband of the actress Florence Desmond, and Dunsborough Park became the home for the elaborate entertaining of film stars and other celebrities, including an annual helicopter party.
Baron and Baroness Sweerts de Landas Wyborgh moved to Dunsborough Park in 1994 and embarked on a major project of restoration of the house and gardens. The gardens have preserved the original pattern of walls and yew hedges but have also been re-designed by Penelope Hobhouse and Rupert Golby to complement the magnificent collection of outdoor statuary and garden ornament.
The labyrinth of carefully sculpted and lovingly maintained gardens include the vibrant wisteria enshrining the house guarded by elegant topiary peacocks, the 300 year-old Mulberry tree and the magnificent tulip displays each spring. Further highlights of the Park include the Victorian Walled Garden edged with apple trees, the romantic Rose Walk and the majestic Palm House, divided into separate rooms to provide a range of 'climates' to suit the environmental needs of the Mediterranean and exotic plants.
This unique collection of garden statuary and ornament brings together the best names in English and Dutch sculpture and the decorative arts, from Coade and Compton to Van Baurscheit and Van Nost all set in the magnificent setting of Dunsborough Park to entice, inspire and delight Christie's clients worldwide.
THE COMPTON POTTERY
The Compton Potters' Arts Guild, was established by Mary Seton Watts (d.1938), the wife of the Symbolist and portrait painter and sculptor George F.Watts (d.1904), producing decorative terracotta work in the village of Compton, near Guildford in 1895. The school was organised to produce terracotta decoration for a cemetary chapel that was completed the following year and continued to produce commercial pieces. The factory produced architectural items and planters such as those offered here and engaged the services of leading designers such as Archibald Knox (1864-1833), it was also a supplier to Liberty's.