Taken from Roach le Schonix, 1894. 'Notes on Archaeology in Provincial Museums: The Museums at Farnham, Dorset, and at King John's House, Tollard Royal', The Antiquary 30, 166-171

To find out what le Schonix says about Farnham, see here.

[From p. 169] About a mile and a half from the Farnham museum, close to the church of Tollard Royal, is a historic building, the contents of which should be looked upon as supplementary to the Farnham collection. King John's House, at Tollard Royal, is in itself of considerable interest, apart from the collection which it now shelters. It is a building of the early thirteenth century, of which period two characteristic windows with stone seats have been discovered in the walls. The thirteenth century house was of oblong shape, and may be distinguished from the remainder, which is of the Tudor period, by the greater thickness of the walls. This house, which has been recently repaired and most carefully treated by General Pitt-Rivers, has always been known traditionally as "King John's House," and in this case tradition is probably correct. It is situated close to the church of Tollard Royal, in Wiltshire. The distinctive appellation of Royal was given to this parish or manor because King John, in right of Isabella his wife, held here a knight's fee. In the right of Isabella, John also held the Chase of Cranborne, and whilst so holding it frequently visited Cranborne and the neighbourhood during his almost ceaseless circuits. It is, therefore, most highly probable that the King would have a residence or shooting-box in this district on his manor, and such a house would almost certainly be close to the church.

In one of the upper rooms, the mediaeval relics found in the house during the alterations, or in the immediately adjacent grounds, are deposited. These relics are of a varied character, and many are with difficulty assigned to any particular date, the house having been continuously occupied for some seven centuries. They include fragments of Norman and Early English pottery splashed with green glaze; Elizabethan clay tobacco-pipes; knives, spoons, and forks of various dates; bridle-bits, and shoes of horse and oxen; locks and keys; and buckles and purse frames. A collection of English arrow-heads is of exceptional interest, as they are but rarely met with, and our information with regard to them is most limited. There are eight examples of barbed long-bow arrowheads, and two of the points of cross-bow arrows or quarrels. The coins offer further evidence of the early date of this house. One of them is of the time of King John, and two are silver pennies of Henry III. There is also a silver penny of Edward II, two copper jettons of the sixteenth century, and a farthing of Charles II.

The rooms of this house are for the most part charmingly fitted with old oak chairs and tables of the seventeenth century, and contain a valuable series of small original pictures illustrating the history of painting from the earliest times, beginning with Egyptian paintings of mummy heads of the twentieth and twenty-sixth dynasties (B.C. 1200-528), and one of the first century A.D. The transition from the round to the flat in painting is shown by three Graeco-Egyptian mummy paintings of the second or third century, and by an early Greek wall-painting.

Passing on to the decline and conventionalization of art in the Middle Ages (we venture to borrow the General's own terms), the earliest European picture is one of the Virgin and Child, by Margaritone, of Arezzo in Italy (1716-93), and signed by him. This is followed by several Greek and Byzantine conventional paintings of the same style, which continued in connection with the Greek and Russian churches until a much later period. The series is continued in the order of dates by S. Memmi, school of Siena, 1283; and a door of a triptych of the early Italian school.

The fifteenth century is represented by Giovanni Bellini, Venetian school (1427-1516), and is signed by him; the Holy Family, by Palmezzano (1456-1537); the Virgin and st. John, school of Swabia, circa 1460; the Woman taken in Adultery, by Lucas Cranach (1472-1553); the Torments of Hell, and others of a similar subject, by H. Van Alken (1460-1518); a Banker and his Wife, and the Prodigal Son, by Quentin Matsys (1466-1531); two of the school of Holbein (1493-1554); Modesty and Vanity, by Luini (1460-1530); the Resurrection and Judgment, circa 1480; the Crucifixion, by Hans Shaenflein, 1487; and Jesus in the Garden, and another, by Hans Burgkmair (1474-1559).

The sixteenth century is represented by a Virgin and Child, school of Siena, circa 1500; one of Roselli, school of Florence (1578-1651); Paying Tithes, by P. Brueghel the elder (1530-69); a Martyrdom, German school, circa 1500; a Descent into Hell, and an Ascent into Heaven, by Frans Floris (1517-70); the Miracle of the Slave, by Tintoretto (1517-94); and the Sacking of the Dutch Village, by Alsloot, end of the sixteenth century.

The pictures of the seventeenth century include a Village Festival, by Peter Van Bloemen (1657-1719); a Virgin and Child by C. B. Salvi (1605-85); a Skirmish, by Palamedes Stevaerts (1607-38); a Dog catching a Heron, by Abraham Hordius (1638-95); a Dutch picture of Horses, after Cuyp (1605-91); Peasants, by Durck Stoop (1660-86); a Canal Scene in Winter, by Van der Heyden (1637-1712); the Journey of Emmaus, style of Gaspard Poussin (1613-75); Vandyke when Young, by Peter Tyssens (1616-83); and a Village Festival, by Thomas Van Kessel (1677-1741).

The eighteenth century is represented by a Fish saleswoman, by G. Morland (1763-1805); two pictures of Hudibras, unknown; and the Repulse of the Dutch at Tillbury in 1667, by A. Ragon.

The pictures of the nineteenth century include the Siege of Pamplona in 1813, by G. C. Morley, 1849; a Coast Scene, by T.B. Hardy; Fish and Copper Vessel, by Cammill Muller 1880.

The pictures are hung as much as possible in the order of dates, but the rooms do not admit of absolute adherence to the historical arrangement.

Examples of Tudor embroidery and needlework are exhibited in the upper rooms, and specimens of various kinds of modern ornamental pottery, in imitation of the mediaeval and early wares, are to be found on the ground floor. An illustrated quarto description of King John's Hose, by General Pitt-Rivers, is kept on a desk in the lower room. ...

[the account finishes with a description of Larmer Grounds, see here.]

[Transcribed by AP for the Rethinking Pitt-Rivers project June 2010]

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