Thorpe House, Surrey, England – Mirrored Pair – Bookends by Timothy Richards UK
Built around 1720 in the English Baroque “Wren” style by Richard Bartholomew between 1717 and 1745, with additions in 1750 by its new owner, Isaac Townsend, a retired admiral of the Royal Navy and member of Parliament. In 1789 Thorpe House was bought by Major Scott and resided in by members of the Scott family until the 1940s. Between 1942 and 1945 the War Office took possession of Thorpe House for the purposes of training specialist military personnel. Housing up to 100, they were instructed on receiving and transmitting services, and reading and typing Morse Code.
Thorpe House remained empty after the war for five years in a poor state of repair. In 1950 a son-in-law of the Scott family sold it to a Mr Williams, who made his fortune as a wholesale greengrocer. In 1976 TASIS England became the tenant, with the option to purchase the property a year later, which the school did. Thorpe House is now home to TASIS England’s Lower School (grades 3-5).
For over 30 years, Timothy has been creating miniature architectural works for customers worldwide; he is still the only person globally making this type of work. The models are handmade in Bath by skilled artisans using British gypsum plaster.
This quality of plasterwork dates back to Jean-Pierre Fouquet who produced some of the finest plaster models in Paris around the 1820s. In Oxford in 1823 two patrons of the arts considered them so important that they raised a subscription to buy a large number. The Fouquet models were prominently displayed in glass cases in the picture gallery of the University’s Bodleian Library.
Education remains at the heart of Tim’s models, and they will stand the test of time; he has produced over 200 commissions in over 30 years with some of his more extensive works fetching as much as $400,000.