Sources for Eltham Palace

These lists provide a summary of the main written, material and visual sources of information for our knowledge and understanding for Eltham Palace.

Part of Seely and Paget’s scheme for the gardens at Eltham, 1934
Part of Seely and Paget’s scheme for the gardens at Eltham, 1934


Much of the material concerning the Courtaulds at Eltham Palace is held in private collections. Other material is listed below.

Eltham Palace

Material held at Eltham, some of which is on loan from private collections, includes:

  • the December 1939 inventory by Summers, Henderson & Co
  • two travel diaries from the Courtaulds’ 1938–9 tour of South America and photograph albums relating to other trips abroad
  • a small collection of Courtauld correspondence
  • newspaper and magazine articles relating to the construction of the 1930s house.

British Library

  •  C1056/05/01–09: oral history interviews with nine people who lived and worked at Eltham in the 20th century, conducted 2003–8 as part of the National Life Series

The National Archives

  • CRES 35/1506–1518 and 1525: leases and maintenance of Old Palace Hall, 1911–13, 1918–33
  • CRES 35/2790–2791: building agreements with Stephen Courtauld, 1933–8
  • CRES 35/2805: lease of Eltham Palace to War Department, 1937–53
  • E101/473/2: particulars of the account of Arnald Brocas, clerk of the works at Westminster and other places, 1384–8

Churchill College, Cambridge

  • AMEL 7/30–33: diaries of Leo Amery, 1936–9 [includes details of visits to Eltham]

Cumbria Record Office

  • WDB 86/4/111: additions to ‘Eltham Hall’ and grounds for Mrs Courtauld, 1934

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

  • 4/C/52: correspondence of John Gilmour, taxonomist at Kew Gardens, with the Courtaulds, regarding the planting of orchids and other species at Eltham, 1932–51

National Archives of Scotland

  • GD45/22: documents concerning the great park of Eltham in Kent, 1609–60

Bibliothèque Nationale de France

  • Paris MS Fr 2663, fol 254v: Chronicles of Jean Froissart, King John II of France’s visit to Eltham in 1364

Greenwich Heritage Centre

  • Various newspaper clippings from the Eltham and Kentish Times concerning the Courtauld family and events at Eltham Palace from 1936–44.
This leather map, made by Margarita Classen-Smith in the 1930s, above the boudoir fireplace, depicts Eltham Palace and the surrounding area
This leather map, made by Margarita Classen-Smith in the 1930s, above the boudoir fireplace, depicts Eltham Palace and the surrounding area. It was made by sewing many small square pieces of leather together. The colours would originally have been brighter but have since faded


Stephen and Virginia Courtauld filled their home with works of fine and decorative art, including 13 paintings by JMW Turner, and a fine collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, an impressive display of maiolica, and contemporary art.

A number of these pieces have been returned to Eltham Palace, where they are displayed in their original locations. Although most of the furniture now in the house has been reproduced using original materials and specifications, Stephen Courtauld’s collection of Jacobean furniture remains in the great hall.

The Victoria and Albert Museum has a rug made by Marion Dorn for the entrance hall at Eltham Palace, presumably in response to Engströmer’s 1935 designs.


An engraving of Eltham Palace from the north-east by Samuel and Nathaniel Buck, 1735
An engraving of Eltham Palace from the north-east by Samuel and Nathaniel Buck, 1735


These are listed in date order.

  • J Ogilby, ‘A new map of Kent’, 1670, British Library, Maps 3055(37)
  • Samuel and Nathaniel Buck, ‘The north-east view of Eltham Palace in the county of Kent’, 1735
  • Paul Sandby, ‘North-east view of King John’s Palace at Eltham in Kent’, 1787, British Museum
  • Paul Sandby, ‘Part of the Banqueting Hall of the Royal Palace of Eltham’, date unknown, Tate [accessed 16 Dec 2014]
  • JMW Turner, ‘Interior of King John’s Palace, Eltham’, c 1793, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection [accessed 26 Feb 2018]
  • Thomas Girtin, ‘King John’s Palace, Eltham’, c 1794–7, Victoria and Albert Museum [accessed 16 December 2014]
  • JC Buckler, views and plans of Eltham Palace, 1811–28, British Library, Add MS 32362 fols 38–125; Add MS 36368 fols 3–28; Add MS 36377 fol 176b; Add MS 36402 fol 49; Add MS 36464 fol 304; Add MS 36439 fols 225, 226, 241–53, 495
  • Charles Alban Buckler, ‘The gateway at Eltham’, 1843, British Library, Add MS 37339 fols 6b, 7b
  • EA Downman, plan of earthworks at the palace, 1905, British Library, Add MS 37973 fol 29
  • H Dunnage and C Laver, Plans, Elevations and Sections, Details and Views of the Great Hall of the Royal Palace of Eltham and Kent (London, 1828) [accessed 16 Dec 2014]
  • Photographs of Eltham Palace interior, exterior and grounds, 1912–51, The National Archives, CRES 43/25–32
  • Surveys, elevations and sections of Eltham Palace interior and exterior, 1912–70, The National Archives, Work 31/2131–2162
  • Over 50 photographs of Eltham Palace, some of them showing the interiors under construction, 1930s, Royal Institute of British Architects [accessed 16 Dec 2014]
  • Seely and Paget drawings and sketches for Eltham, 1930s, Victoria and Albert Museum, RIBA drawings collection
  • Eltham Palace exterior and interior photographs, 1933–7, Country Life Picture Library; many are reproduced in Country Life, 74 (18 November 1933), 534–5, and 81 (15–29 May 1937), 534–9, 568–73 and 594–9 [accessed 16 Dec 2014]
  • R Engströmer, Eltham Hall drawings, 1935–6, Stockholm Museum of Architecture.


Plans, Drawings and Photographs in the Historic England Archive

Items relating to Eltham Palace in the Historic England Archive include:

  • two surveys of Eltham Palace by John Thorpe, c 1590 and 1604 (MP/ELT0545 and MP/ELT0547)
  • view of the great hall, 1866 (AL2400/062/01)
  • photograph album containing over 100 images of Eltham Palace, 1894–1984 (AL1005)
  • plans, elevations and sections of Eltham Hall, 1908–13 (MP/ELT0009–0067)
  • interior and exterior photographs, 1925 (CC000499, CC000505, CC001701–6)
  • over 600 plans of Eltham Palace by the architects Seely and Paget, 1933 (MP/ELT)
  • four photographs of Eltham Palace, 29 October 1936 (MAH01).

Further details can be found in the online catalogue. For a full search for these and other items relating to Eltham Palace, please contact the Archive search team. Copies of images and documents can be ordered online or by contacting the archive – for details of these services see the current price list.


Aslet, C, The Last Country Houses (New Haven and London, 1982)

Aslet, C, ‘An interview with the late Paul Paget 1901–1985’, Thirties Society Journal, 6 (1987), 16–25

Balcon, M, A Lifetime of Films (New Haven and London, 1982)

Bayer, P, Art Deco Source Book (London, 2nd edition, 2005)

Biddle, M, Colvin, HM, Hale, JR, Merriman, M and Summerson, J, The History of the King’s Works, vol 4: 1485–1660, part 2 (London, 1982)

Bradbury, O, ‘Introducing the Marchese Malacrida de Saint-August: Italian cavalry officer, journalist and interior decorator’, C20: The Magazine of the Twentieth Century Society, Winter (2008–9), 14–15

Boydell, C, The Architect of Floors: Modernism, Art and Marion Dorn Design (London, 1996)

Branson, N, and Heinemann, M, Britain in the Nineteen Thirties (London, 1971)

Brook, R, The Story of Eltham Palace (London, 1960)

Brown, RA, Colvin, HM and Taylor, AJ, The History of the King’s Works, vol 2: The Middle Ages (London, 1963)

Buckler, JC, An Historical and Descriptive Account of the Royal Palace at Eltham (London, 1828) [accessed 16 Dec 2014]

Chapman, FS, Northern Lights: The Official Account of the British Arctic Air Route Expedition, 1930–31 (London, 1932)

Charlton, J, ‘Eltham Palace’, Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society, new series, 31 (1974), 7–14

Courtauld Institute Galleries, Turner, Prout, Steer: Three Bequests to the Courtauld Institute of Art (London, 1980)

Courtauld, SL, Eltham Palace (London, 1937)

Courtauld, SL, ‘The first ascent of the Innominata face of Mont Blanc, 1919’, Alpine Journal, 57 (1949), 127–45

Courtauld, SL, The Huguenot Family of Courtauld, 3 vols (London, 1957–67)

Croft, C, ‘An oral history of the Courtaulds at Eltham Palace’, National Life Stories Review and Accounts 2008–2009 (2009), 8–9

Emery, A, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales 1300–1500, vol 3: Southern England (Cambridge, 2006)

Fraser, CM, A History of Anthony Bek, Bishop of Durham 1283–1311 (Oxford, 1957)

Godfrey, WH, ‘Eltham Hall’, Architectural Review, 80 (1936), 151–3

Henderson, P, The Tudor House and Garden: Architecture and Landscape in the Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Centuries (New Haven and London, 2005)

Holloway, D, The Thirties: A Chronicle of a Decade (London, 1993)

Holmes, JM, Colour in Interior Decoration (London, 1931)

Hussey, C, ‘Eltham Hall’, Country Life, 81 (1937), 534–9, 568–73 and 594–9

Milson, SA, Parks in Medieval England (London, 2010)

Moriarty, C, The Sculpture of Gilbert Ledward (London, 2003)

Patmore, D, Colour Schemes for the Modern Home (London, 1933)

Perry, G, Forever Ealing: A Celebration of the Great British Film Studio (London, 1981)

Powers, A, ‘Eltham Palace, London’, Country Life, 189 (9 November 1995), 68–71

Priestley, EJ, ‘Artist’s views of a Kentish palace’, Country Life, 137 (3 June 1965), 1,342–3

Priestley, EJ, Eltham Palace (Chichester, 2008)

Priestley, EJ, ‘First campaign to preserve a building’, Country Life, 161 (26 May 1977), 1,412–3

Pugin, AC, Examples of Gothic Architecture, vol 1 (London, 1838), plates 43–9 [accessed 16 Dec 2014]

Pugin, AC, Specimens of Gothic Architecture (London, 1823) [accessed 16 Dec 2014]

Roberts, C, Sunshine and Shadow (London, 1972)

Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in London, vol 5: East London (London, 1930) [accessed 17 Dec 2014]

Senbach, K, Into the Thirties: Style and Design (London, 1986)

Steele, J, Queen Mary (London, 1983)

Strong, DE and Forman, FA, Eltham Palace (Department of the Environment guidebook, London, 1983)

Thurley, S, The Royal Palaces of Tudor England (New Haven and London, 1993)

Turner, M, Eltham Palace (English Heritage guidebook, London, 2011; 2nd revised edn 2015) [buy the guidebook]

Wallace-Hadrill, A, The British School at Rome: One Hundred Years (Rome, 2002)

Weaver, L, The Servantless House (London, 1926)

Wiseman, TP, A Short History of the British School at Rome (London, 1990)

Wood, M, The English Medieval House (London, 1965)

Woods, H, ‘Excavations at Eltham Palace, 1975–9’, Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, 33 (1982), 215–65


Beresford, C, ‘Eltham Palace’, English Heritage research report (1995)

Palmer, M and West, I, ‘Research into the country house technology at Eltham Palace’, report for English Heritage (2014)

Turner M, ‘Eltham Palace conservation plan’, report for English Heritage (2011)

Weddell, C, ‘Eltham Palace: landscape conservation management plan’, report for English Heritage (2014)

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