In 1738 the architect William Kent – renowned for his follies - designed a small, stilted, timber garden room to stand in the middle of a pond within the Elysian Fields at Stowe in Buckinghamshire. It was first decorated by the Italian painter Francesco Sleter, who combined figurines, foliage and calligraphy in an intricate Chinoiserie style, with this sumptuous deep stone colour as a background. Paint research has shown this treasured building was repainted at least twice in the 19th-century and again in 1937. Following periods in Wotton, a neighbouring estate, and Ireland, the Chinese House was returned to Stowe to undergo a complete – but faithful – refurbishment in 1996.
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