Richard D'Oyly Carte
Richard D'Oyly Carte was a London theatre impresario who brought together dramatist WS Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan. A key theatreland figure in the latter part of the Victorian era. The Simon Cowell of his era!
The island was called Folly Eyot until the eponymous owner bought it. Richard D'Oyly Carte was the producer of the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas from 1875 to 1896, founder of the Savoy Theatre and Royal English Opera House (now the Palace Theatre) in London, and a hotelier. D’Oyly Carte build the Savoy Hotel and owned several others including Claridge’s.
He is understood to have bought the island in around 1890, quickly replacing its Folly Eyot title with his name. After buying the plot he began building the giant property, which has 13 bedrooms, a grand ballroom 5 bathrooms, 40 boat moorings and, on the mainland parking for 40 cars.
The original purpose of the house was to be a boutique hotel for weekend entertainment for D’Oyly Carte’s Savoy guests and celebrity musicians. However, the refusal of a drinking license by the local authority was never going to thwart the entrepreneurial Richard D’Oyly Carte who nominated the house as his residence and invited the Savoy guests and his celebrity musicians for drink, food and entertainment. Many wild parties and musical performances were enjoyed much to the frustration of the local authority!
In its pomp the house was visited by many of D'Oyly Carte's famous friends, including Gilbert and Sullivan. The duo are responsible for an array of great operas that are still performed today, including The Mikado, HMS Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance.
It is difficult to appreciate the significance of this Victorian trio. In the 1890’s Sir William Gilbert, Sir Arthur Sullivan and Richard D’Oyly Carte were as famous, talented and celebrated as Adele, Ed Sheeran and Simon Cowell are today!
This musical heritage will be preserved with a limited number of intimate performances in the grand ballroom hosted and produced by D’Oyly Carte Music.
"In its pomp the house was visited by many of D'Oyly Carte's famous friends, including Gilbert and Sullivan. The duo are responsible for an array of great operas that are still performed today, including The Mikado, HMS Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance."
Eyot House is currently being restored to the standard expected by its former owner, Richard D’Oyly Carte, who hosted his Savoy Hotel guests and his celebrity musicians for drink, food and entertainment.
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