Doddington Hall Introduction

Essay by Martin Postle

Doddington Hall is situated six miles from the city of Lincoln. The property is recorded in the Domesday Book, when it belonged to the abbot of Westminster. The present house, designed by the architect Robert Smythson, was constructed in the early seventeenth century for Thomas Tailor, registrar to the bishop of Lincoln. Although the exterior remains much as it was built, the interior was remodelled extensively in the 1760s by Sir John Hussey Delaval who inherited Doddington from his mother, Sarah Apreece. The house, which remains in private ownership, currently belongs to James and Claire Birch, who have collaborated closely with the Paul Mellon Centre on developing the present case study.

The research team for Doddington Hall comprised: Jonathan Law, research fellow and filmmaker, at the Paul Mellon Centre; Martin Postle, deputy director for grants and publications at the Paul Mellon Centre; Rodolfo Rodriguez, an architect and architectural historian; and Leah Warriner-Wood, a historic objects conservator and associate lecturer at the University of Lincoln.

The principal focus of research for this study was the collection and display of over one hundred paintings dating from the early seventeenth to the twentieth centuries, and two sets of Flemish tapestries dating from the seventeenth century. Particular attention is paid to the development of the collection and display strategy during the mid-eighteenth century, under the aegis of Sir John Hussey Delaval. As with the other case studies included in the project, the research topics can be reviewed separately or collectively.


  • Dr Martin Postle is Deputy Director for Grants and Publications at the Paul Mellon Centre. Between 1998 and 2007 he was Head of British Art to 1900 at Tate. Martin's research and publication interests focus principally on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British art, including portraiture, landscape and the history of art academies. He has curated exhibitions on a wide range of subjects, including the artist’s model, the Fancy Picture and the art of the garden, as well as monographic exhibitions on Joshua Reynolds, Johan Zoffany, Richard Wilson, Stanley Spencer and George Stubbs. Martin is project leader and commissioning editor of ‘Art & the Country House’, to which he has contributed a number of essays and catalogue entries.


by Martin Postle
20 November 2020
House Essay
CC BY-NC International 4.0
Cite as
Martin Postle, "Doddington Hall Introduction", Art and the Country House,