The Mausolea & Monuments Trust

Astor Mausoleum

In the remodelling the two-storey teahouse was changed to a single height cruciform chapel, accessible from the lower level. At this time the upper walls of the interior were encrusted with mosaics, designed by Pearson and carried out by Clayton and Bell, illustrating Old and New Testament subjects in the Byzantine style. The floor and lower walls were clad in marble, the windows were filled with stained glass depicting the Virtues made by Clayton and Bell, and an altar decorated with cosmati work was introduced. The bronze reredos, gilded and studded with precious stones, was made by Barkantin and Krall. The effect is sumptuous.

Architect

Teahouse: Giacomo Leoni Conversion to mausoleum: John Loughborough Pearson

Listing

Grade I (England and Wales)

Year Built

1893

History

This building was not designed to be a mausoleum; it was built as a two storey octagonal, domed teahouse for the 1st Earl of Orkney (1666-1737). Jeremiah Milles described it in 1743 as a ‘Prospect Room’ with a fretwork ceiling and a grotto in the basement accessible from a lower terrace in the cliff. The building contract, signed by Giacomo Leoni, the architect, and Edward Vickers, the mason, still survives. The teahouse was turned into a mausoleum by William Waldorf Astor, 1st Viscount Astor (1848-1919) in 1893. It contains the bodies of Lord Astor himself, his son the 2nd Viscount, and his son’s celebrated wife, Nancy Astor. The 3rd Viscount, and Nancy Astor’s son by her first marriage, Robert Gould Shaw, are also buried here. Although Cliveden is the property of the National Trust, the mausoleum belongs to the family. It is occasionally open to the public.

Condition

Good (2003).

Sources

BoE: Bucks (1994), 257;

National Trust Guidebook to Cliveden House (1994) 70.

Links

The National Trust

PDF

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Location

Cliveden House (in the grounds west of the South Parterre),
Taplow,
Nr Maidenhead,
Buckinghamshire

SL6 0JA

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