The magnificent Osterley House was originally built in 1576 before the renowned architect Robert Adam was commissioned two centuries later to transform the original Tudor mansion built into an elegant 18th-century neoclassical villa. Osterley is the result: a true masterpiece of a country house for the founders of Child's Bank, created for entertainment and to impress friends and business associates. By linking the north and south wings with a pedimented loggia enclosing the courtyard, Adam enhanced the symmetry of the redbrick exterior, "which now floats like a shop on a sea of grass," according to the architectural historian Simon Jenkins. The superb interiors - one of Britain's most complete examples of Adam's work - contain some wonderful plasterworks, carpets, furniture and an interesting kitchen. Dubbed "the palace of palaces" and owned by the National Trust since 1949, Osterley is set in 140 acres of landscaped park and farmland complete with 18th-century gardens, ornamental lakes, pleasure grounds and neoclassical garden buildings. The wonderful 16th-century stable block survives largely intact although the house itself is badly neglected, with its blinds almost always drawn.