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A La Ronde

This sixteen-sided cottage was built in the late eighteenth century for two spinster cousins, Jane and Mary Parminter, on their return from a Grand Tour of Europe. According to family tradition, the curious design was inspired by their visit to the octagonal basilica of San Vitale at Ravenna. It is probably, however, the work of the Bath architect John Lowder. A la Ronde is 3 storeys high and features an attic lit by 9 dormer windows that were added in the 1890s and a central octagonal hall on the first floor around which the principal apartments are grouped. The Parminters were responsible for the interior decorations, including a feather frieze in the drawing room, and a fragile shell-encrusted gallery and staircase, supplemented with lichen, glass, mica, pottery, stones and bones.

Visitor Information

Address:
Summer Lane,
Exmouth,
Devon,
England,
EX8 5BD

Telephone: 01395 265514

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/a-la-ronde/

Accredited Museum

A La Ronde, Devon (Accredited Museum)

This collection has 3,926 items online

This unique property houses a varied collection, including many objects and mementoes purchased during, and inspired by, the Parminter cousins' 1784-95 continental travels. The collection includes oil paintings, photographs and silhouettes of and by family members, including twelve 18th-century family silhouettes with names penciled beneath; late 18th-century prints, several by Francesco Bartolozzi; early views of the house; pictures made by the Parminters from sand and seaweed; furniture inlaid with shells, glass, cameos; and chairs and other pieces with painted decoration by Mary Parminter. The Parminter cousins’ ‘cabinet of curiosities’ has unusually survived and stands in its original position, holding shells, beadwork, semi-precious stones and votive statues displayed on shelves papered with Italian gouaches and Swiss prints. Also displayed is a mid-19th-century walnut boudoir grand piano made by the Knake brothers of Munster, and a 1789 square piano signed by the German maker George Gareka.

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