This Indian Mughal building was built for the Cockerell family in the late 18th century. It’s strikingly different from its green Cotswolds surroundings, and is now owned by Edward Peake and his family.
Colonel John Cockerell bought an estate at Sezincote when he returned from India in the late 18th century. However, he died before he could build his home and the lands passed to his brother, Sir Charles Cockerell, who employed another brother of theirs, Samuel Pepys, to build him a house “in the Indian manner”. Samuel had never been to India so his only knowledge of Mughal architecture (used in the Taj Mahal) came through drawings and pictures, and he designed the house with a bit of help from artist Thomas Daniell. It’s a combination of Hindu and Muslim architecture, and the house has minarets, peacock-tail windows and pavilions, as well as a large green copper dome. In 1807, the Prince Regent visited, and it’s thought that his plans for the Royal Pavilion in Brighton were influenced by the style he admired at Sezincote.
The interiors of the house are more classical in style, and the gardens weren’t originally designed to match the house’s Mughal exterior. They were neglected during the ASecond World War and restored in 1968 by Sir Cyril and Lady Kleinwort. They added canals and Irish yews in the South Garden and a conservatory, as well as a water garden with rare plants and an Indian bridge. Together with the Brahmin bulls, temple to Surya the sun god, and Snake Pond, they make the gardens and house into a coherent work of Mughal art.
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