The house was built, or perhaps thoroughly rebuilt, around 1730–33 (the latter date is on rainwater leads), designed by the Venetian architect Giacomo Leoni, replacing an Elizabethan property. The estate had been bought in 1641, together with Temple Court Farm at Merrow, by Sir Richard Onslow, MP for Surrey in the Long Parliament, from Sir Richard Weston, canal builder & pioneering agriculturalist, of nearby Sutton Place. The new building was commissioned by his great-grandson Thomas, 2nd Baron Onslow. Many members of the Onslow family followed political careers—three of them, including Arthur Onslow, were Speakers of the House of Commons.
Clandon Park's interiors, which were finished into the 1740s, feature a two-storey Marble Hall, containing marble chimney pieces by English sculptor Michael Rysbrack. Since being presented to the National Trust, the house has been extensively restored and redecorated under the direction of John Fowler. The building now houses the fine collection of 18th century furniture and porcelain formed by Hannah, Mrs David Gubbay, and the Ivo Forde Meissen collection of Italian comedy figures and Mortlake tapestries and other textiles and carpets. The building also houses the Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment Museum.
To the landscape gardens designed by Lancelot Brown in 1781 have been added a parterre (illustration), grotto, the sunken Dutch garden created by Frances, Countess of Onslow in the late 19th century, and a Māori meeting house named Hinemihi. This was originally situated near Lake Tarawera in New Zealand and provided shelter to the people of Te Wairoa village during the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. The building was covered in ash and surrounded by volcanic debris, but its occupants survived. It remained half buried until 1892 when Lord Onslow, then Governor General of New Zealand, had it removed and shipped to England. In 1956, Onslow's daughter Gwendolen, Countess Iveagh, gifted Clandon Park—including Hinemihi—to the National Trust. The nature of Hinemihi and its meaning for the local and expatriate Maori community in London was explored by Cecilie Gravesen in her experimental film Between Humans and Other Things. During the 2012 Summer Olympics, the New Zealand team visited Hinemihi.
- Harrison, Frederic. Annals of an Old Manor House: Sutton Place, Guildford. London, 1899.archive.org on-line text
- Howard Colvin, Biographical Dictionary of British Architects
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- Map and aerial photo sources
- Clandon Park information at the National Trust