Behind the closed doors of Grove House in the nineteenth century unveiled

A tell-all book about the colourful life of a former resident of Roehampton’s Grove House has been published; The Beauty of Her Age by Jenifer Roberts, an English historian.

Posted: 7 September 2016

image for news story Behind the closed doors of Grove House in the nineteenth century unveiled
Roehampton Lane as it was in 1848.
Yolande Duvernay’s fascinating life has been documented by Roberts, from her poverty-stricken days in her native Paris, to her lavish lifestyle as a celebrated ballerina in South West London. Duvernay, reputedly once England’s richest woman, was a respected dancer which is of particular relevance to the University of Roehampton, with its world-class Department of Dance.

Duvernay lived at Grove House estate from 1850 until her death in 1894 and many of the historic features of the Grove House Estate were put in place during her residence. Following the death of her beloved husband, Duvernay had a mausoleum built, Lyne Stephens’s final resting place. While her love for the ballet is reflected in the Goddess statuses which feature in the gardens of Grove House.

The University’s History and Heritage Adviser comments, “Duvernay’s life was very interesting; she became the mistress – and eventually wife – of Stephens Lyne Stephens, an English politician at the time. She was awarded his estate after his death, leading her to become one of the wealthiest women in England. She had a vast impact on the architecture and design of Roehampton’s Grove House estate as we know it today, with her interest in creating a stately home to envy.”

The Grove House estate became part of the University of Roehampton in 1975 when it was known as the Roehampton Institute, and today it forms part of the landscape of the University’s Froebel College, home to the Department of Education and the Vice-Chancellor, Paul O’Prey’s office, and senior staff at Roehampton.

Visit the website for more information about the book. For details about the University’s heritage, visit its dedicated webpage which delves into its 175 year history. Self-guided tours around the University’s campus are available from Grove House reception.

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