I enjoyed a very pleasant visit to Upton House recently. The collection of pictures is quite stunning!
Upton is a country house in the county of Warwickshire, about seven miles north west of Banbury, Oxfordshire. It is in the care of the National Trust.
Built in about 1695 for Sir Rushout Cullen, Upton is a long low house built of local yellow sandstone. It is agreeable but of modest architectural significance.
Perhaps uniquely among country houses owned by the National Trust it was acquired almost entirely for its art collection, and it is presented more as an art gallery than a private home.
The collection was assembled by Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted who owed his fortune to the fact that his father Marcus Samuel was the founder of the oil company Shell Transport & Trading. He acquired Upton in 1927 and gifted it to the National Trust in 1948. The collection includes English and Continental old masters by artists such as George Stubbs, Jan Steen, Melchior de Hondecoeter, William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough, El Greco, Joshua Reynolds, George Romney, Tintoretto, Rogier van der Weyden and Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
There is also a collection of English porcelain, including Chelsea, Derby, Bow and Worcester, and some French Sèvres porcelain. The house also contains an art deco bathroom and a collection of early Shell advertising posters.
The other attraction of the Upton is the garden. A lawn sweeps gently down from the house and at the bottom of it there is a terraced water garden in a small valley, unseen from the house and on a first visit unsuspected.