Orleans House Gallery


Riverside, Twickenham, TW1 3DJ


020-8831 6000



Opening times:

Tues–Sun 10:00-17:00

How to get there:

Partial disabled access

Entry fee:


The handsome octagon room, designed by James Gibbs c. 1718, is all that remains of the 1710 villa on the Thames built by John James for James Johnstone, Secretary of State under William III. A garden pavilion, it was supposedly built for the reception of Caroline of Anspach, wife of the future George II. The most famous resident of the house, after whom the place is now named, was Louis-Philippe, Duc d’Orléans, King of France from 1830–48, who leased it from 1815–17. The main house was demolished in 1926–27 but the Octagon survived, saved by the Hon. Mrs Ionides, who bequeathed it to the borough on condition that it was used as a public art gallery. The interior comprises a magnificent domed room adorned with elaborate, not quite Rococo, stucco, executed by the Swiss-Italian specialists Giuseppe Artari and Giovanni Bagutti, whom Gibbs described as ‘the best fret-workers that ever came to England’. The pediments of the chimneypiece and doors support boldly modelled figures, while in the round niches inside the dome are busts possibly representing George I. On either side of the chimneypiece are portrait medallions of George II and Queen Caroline, when Prince and Princess of Wales; a third, above the east door, is possibly later, and may represent Louis-Philippe. The full-length portrait of Queen Caroline c. 1728 is attributed to Herman van der Mijn.

The Gallery, built on the site of the old house, displays selections from its important collection of paintings, drawings and prints, mostly early 18th-century to present day topographical views relating to the area, including works by Leonard Knyff, Samuel Scott, Peter de Wint, and Corot. Peter Tillemans’ early 18th-century The Thames at Twickenham is the earliest known view of the area. At the heart of the collection is the Ionides bequest of over 400 works.

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Details below are taken from our Blue Guide Museums and Galleries of London.  This is a 2005 title, here generally updated for website address and opening times, with useful comments from some of the museums themselves.  More recent information is given in Emily Barber's magisterial new Blue Guide London, "Exceptional update to a classic and useful guide to this amazing city" (Amazon reader review).

FULL LISTING of CURRENT EXHIBITIONS in London from Apollo Magazine »

Emily Barber recommends five major London museums »

Please do share your comments and updates with us via the form below the entry for each museum.


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