Knebworth gryphons return

Restoration of the Knebworth gryphons

By Knebworth Learning

Henry Lytton Cobbold with one of the gryphons
Craning the gryphon into place

The Knebworth House Education & Preservation Trust is delighted to see the final stage of the multiple year restoration of the Eastern Steps, Gate Pillars, Balustrades and Beasts at the entrance to the courtyard of Knebworth House.  

The structures deteriorated and disappeared over the years. Models were made and the work was made possible through an assisting grant from the Country Houses Foundation.

Legend has it that the mythical beasts in the shape of gryphons protect Knebworth House. The carved gothic figures are a feature of the Knebworth facade; and visitors can spot bats, gargoyles and other mythical beasts around the building.   

Majestic new gryphons for the gate pillars have been sculpted and carefully re-created by artists Alasdair Rennie and Stephen Pettifer in a durable material called Coadstone, working at Cranborne Stone. The Knebworth House team have worked on the pillars in preparation for the reinstallation of the Beasts.   Alasdair Rennie studied at Kingshott School, Hitchin and developed his artistic skills at HaileyburyCollege.

It’s wonderful to see these fantastical creatures back on duty as guardians to the House and the project complete. The new gryphons replace a pair of mythical stone beasts who were affectionately known by the family as Mr & Mrs Clarence. Visitors to Knebworth House next year will be able to see the newly restored gryphons in place and see the Clarences in their new residence guarding the tropical border in the formal Garden, at the entrance to the walled garden.

Martha Lytton Cobbold, Managing Director of Lytton Enterprises said, ”Knebworth House is on the English Heritage at Risk Register, and as such, it is a wonderful accomplishment to continue restoration projects of this scale. There is still much to do with only 5 of the 10 major phases complete, but we are delighted that the visitors can experience the work in progress and see the newly restored creatures emerge.” For further information  on the work of the Knebworth House Education & Preservation Trust, please visit, or call the Estate Office on 01438 812 661. 

This page was added on 20/12/2013.

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