A project to restore, transform and preserve Orleans House Gallery secured initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The £3.2m project, called Transforming Orleans House, was awarded £235,050 development funding to help progress plans for a stage two application by the end of the year to then have a chance to gain full funding.

Sue Bowers, head of Heritage Lottery Fund London, said: “We look forward to receiving the detailed plans showing how this important listed building can be restored and conserved so that public access to the borough’s considerable heritage can be enhanced.”

The project aims to preserve and make accessible the heritage assets at the Twickenham gallery site, including restoring the grade one listed Octagon Room and the North wing.

A new study room will make works from the Richmond Borough Art Collection more accessible along with the upper levels of the gallery as a lift will be installed.

Councillor Gareth Evans, cabinet member for community, business and culture, said: “Orleans House is a hugely important part of our borough’s rich heritage.

“This exciting project will restore and transform the surviving buildings, significantly expanding what is already a thriving cultural and heritage hub for the local community to enjoy”

It is hoped the development project will give more opportunity to work with other heritage sites and community groups and give more volunteering and educational opportunities.

Previous Heritage Lottery Fund capital projects in the borough include the Coach House Education Centre, which opened in 2006, and the refurbishment of the Stables Gallery in 2008.


About the gallery...

Orleans House was built in 1710 for James Johnston, Secretary of State for Scotland, as a retirement villa. In 1729 it was visited by George II and Queen Caroline, who dined in luxury in the 1720 James Gibbs-designed Octagon Room, which still stands as one of the finest examples of baroque garden architecture in the country.

The house was later named after its most famous resident, Louis Philippe, the Duc D’Orleans who made the Twickenham house his home in exile between 1815 and 1817.

He returned to visit his former retreat, accompanied by Queen Victoria, in 1848 as King of the French.

His son, the Duc D’Aumale, later made the house his home for nearly two decades and the surviving stables block dates from his residency.

The main building and conservatory of Orleans House were demolished in 1926 but the remains were saved by the Hon. Mrs Nellie Ionides and left to the borough on her death in 1962.