Template:Infobox building Template:Infobox Museum Orleans House was a Palladian villa originally built in the early 18th century near to the Thames at Twickenham, England, for the politician and diplomat James Johnston. It was subsequently named after the Duc D'Orleans who stayed there in the early 19th century. By the early 20th century it was derelict and in 1926 it was mostly demolished. However, parts of the property, including a baroque octagonal room designed by architect James Gibbs, were preserved and are now the Orleans House Gallery, a gallery of art relating to the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and neighbouring areas of London.<ref name="BBC">Template:Cite web</ref><ref name="Collections">Template:Cite web</ref><ref name="De Novellis">Template:Cite web</ref>
thumb James Johnston settled at Twickenham at the end of his political career. Johnston had seen diplomatic service in Germany, first as King's envoy to Berlin, later working to secure the Hanoverian succession and had frequent journeys to Hanover. It was said George I "often conversed with him very familiarly" and that Johnston was "a great favourite of Queen Caroline, who was much entertained with his humour and pleasantry". It was also said "he keeps out a very great rank, and frequently has Mr. Walpool and the greatest courtiers with him at his country house near London; and the King sometimes does him the honour to dine with him". The King (George I) is also recorded to have been a regular casual visitor to the house.
He was one of the first to construct a home on the Thames in Twickenham during the 18th century. He procured a lease (from the current under-lessee Mrs Davies)<ref group=note> Mrs Davies was sister to the 1st Lord Berkeley of Stratton. The manor was vested in the Crown from 1541 and usually, for life, in the possession of the Queen consort. In 1675 the King granted a reversionary lease for 41 years after the death of Catherine of Braganza (1638-1705) to John Earl of Rochester. In 1702 James Johnston obtained from the Queen Dowager a lease for 13 years from 1720. By the time of his death in 1737 Johnston had much further extended the lease and (from George II) obtained yet another 13 years to commence in 1774. On Johnston's death it was sold to George Morton Pitt. Pitt obtained an extension to 1815. Pitt's only child married Brownlow Bertie but died aged 18 without surviving issue and in due course it became the residence of Pitt's wife's daughter by a prior marriage, Sophia Drake (died 1767) and her husband, Sir George Pocock (1706–1792).
Template:Cite book</ref> and commissioned architect John James to plan and erect a mansion – a project which spanned the following 35 years. The grounds were extensive, including the area now known as the Orleans House woodlands. Johnston created a fine garden which "included canals, an icehouse, a kitchen garden, a pleasure garden, a wilderness, a grotto and a fruit garden". A baroque octagonal room, designed by architect James Gibbs, was added in 1720 for entertaining George II's Queen Consort, Caroline who regarded Johnston with great favour.
Louis-Phillippe, Duc D'Orleans, while in exile, lived in Johnston's house at Twickenham between 1813 and 1815 and the house was later named for him.
Orleans House was demolished in 1926, and the area formerly occupied by the house used to quarry gravel throughout the 1930s.<ref name="OHaH3">Template:Cite book</ref> The outbuildings and Octagon Room were saved by the efforts of a local figure, Hon. Nellie Levy later Hon. Mrs Ionides, who left it and her collection of 18th and 19th century pictures to the borough. It was converted into an art gallery in 1972.<ref name="St Margarets">Template:Cite web</ref>
In 1973, Template:Convert at the northern end of the former park were taken as the site of Orleans Park School.
The buildings and site were refurbished between 2005 and 2008 by architects Patel Taylor to incorporate an education centre and a cafe.<ref name="Culture 24">Template:Cite web</ref>
Orleans House Gallery
Orleans House Gallery, which opened in 1972,<ref name="40 Dyduch">Template:Cite news</ref><ref name="Big Four-O">Template:Cite web</ref> displays material from the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames' art collection.<ref name="BBC"/> This includes a portrait of James Johnston by Thomas Gibson, paintings of Orleans House by Arthur Vickers and several other artists, and the Burton Collection of paintings, photographs and personal effects relating to the explorer, diplomat and scholar Richard Francis Burton.<ref name="De Novellis"/> The gallery's programme of temporary exhibitions have included watercolours and sketches by Richard Dadd<ref name="Dadd">Template:Cite web</ref>and, in 2003, the first major retrospective of Stephen Wiltshire's works.<ref name="Wiltshire">Template:Cite web</ref>
- Patricia Astley Cooper, The History of Orleans House, Twickenham, Twickenham 1984
- Miranda Stearn and Mark De Novellis, Orleans House – a history, Twickenham 2002: free download
- Orleans House and The Octagon, Local History Notes, Richmond Libraries’ Local Studies Collection, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames