London buyers rush to buy haven home of royal portrait painter – for £2.5 million
Pound House, Oare, the magnificent country house near Marlborough created out of a field by the late royal portrait painter John Merton and his wife Penelope, is up for sale – at £2,500,000.
And there is a rush of interested buyers, mainly from London and with no lack of cash, interested in the single-storey property set in 6.9 acres on the edge of a pond with views across the Pewsey Vale.
Pound House - in its magnificent Pewsey Vale setting
Eton-educated Merton, who died in February, aged 97, two years after his wife Penelope, painted a remarkable triple portrait of Princess Diana when she was 25, which hangs in Cardiff City Hall.
That was five years after her marriage to Prince Charles, and when the Prince of Wales subsequently visited Cardiff City Hall with the Duchess of Cornwall in 2005, the painting was temporarily – and controversially, removed.
Merton described Princess Diana as “undoubtedly the most beautiful woman I have painted.” And he made an official silverpoint drawing of the Queen, which is now in the Royal Collection, and painted acclaimed portraits of aristocratic and rich society women and was often exhibited at the Royal Academy summer show.
Now his two daughters are selling the house that was their parents prized and very private hideaway haven for more than 30 years through Devizes agents Winkworth.
Claire Markwell told Marlborough News Online: “It’s an absolutely lovely property, a very special house. And we have had an amazing amount of interest from people, mainly those who want to leave the rat race in London and move to the country.”
“Many of them have children whom they want to grow up in the country and to go to local schools, not places like Marlborough College, but the schools in the area.”
And she added: “There may be an economic decline at the moment but there still appears to be a lot of money sloshing around at the top of the end of the market. And that’s where the interest is coming from.”
“We are optimistic that we will find a buyer.”
Built in 1962, Pound House is situated at the end of a single-track lane, and sits in a secluded oasis surrounded by a fine collection of beautiful and rare mature trees, a large ornamental pond together with a wide variety of wildfowl and extensive gardens planted from scratch.
The property has an Italianate feel to it and is single storey, but despite this the rooms have large proportions with good ceiling height, giving a sense of space and light. Mainly red brick, the house is accentuated with flint inlays and a palisaded roof.
It was extended in 1976 when Merton’s own studio plus a large tropical garden were added. A second storey could easily be added, subject to planning consent, which would allow a new owner to create an imposing country home of more than 6,000 sq ft.