A la Ronde, with its sixteen sides, lozenge-shaped windows at every other angle, and topped by an octagonal lantern crowned by an oriental-looking bell tower, is one of the quirkiest properties belonging to the National Trust.
Its creators were Jane Parminter (1750–1811), and a cousin, Mary Parminter (1767–1849), the latter of whom stipulated in her will that only unmarried kinswomen should inherit the property and apart from Reverend Oswald Reichel (1840–1923), female succession was maintained until it was sold to the National Trust in 1991.
Most of the paintings are portraits of the previous owners and landscapes by them, as well an imposing nineteenth-century painting of a Lyme Mastiff, a now extinct breed of dog bred at Lyme Park. The works of art with most significance for A la Ronde are not paintings but pictorial or decorative pieces made out of materials such as shells, feathers, silk embroidery, cut paper, sand and even seaweed.
Summer Lane, Exmouth, Devon EX8 5BD England
Before making a visit, check opening hours with the venue