Today we drove to Castle Howard Yorkshire's finest historic house & estate. Home to the Howard family for over 300 years, Castle Howard is a magnificent 18th-century residence set within 1,000 acres of breathtaking landscape in the Howardian Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
|The road to Castle Howard.|
|Arriving at Castle Howard|
Built from east to west the mansion took shape in just under ten years. The East Wing was constructed in 1701-03; the eastern wing of the Garden Front in 1701-06; the Central Block, including the dome, in 1703-06; and the western wing of the Garden Front in 1707-09.
Carlisle's new home was surmounted with a dramatic masonry dome, the first of its kind to crown a private residence in the England. The facades were bristling with exuberant carved decoration, including coronets, ciphers and coats of arms, a frieze of sea horses and cherubs, and a carving of Diana, executed by the Huguenot carver, Nadauld.
Carlisle's building project had quickly became the talk of fashionable society and by 1725 when an engraving of the house appeared in the third volume of Vitruvius Britannicus most of the exterior structure was complete and its interiors opulently finished.
At the time of his death in 1726 the house was still incomplete, as it still was when the 3rd Earl died in 1738. Little could both men have guessed that when the house came to be completed by Carlisle's son-in-law, Sir Thomas Robinson, Vanbrugh's flamboyant baroque design would be anchored to a sober Palladian wing. Inspired, in part, by William Kent's designs for the Houses of Parliament, Robinson designed a low rustic storey and a piano nobile with a central octagonal dome and pavilions at each end surmounted with a pyramidal roof.
The building of Castle Howard was finally completed with the decoration of the Long Gallery by Tatham, but further alterations were to be made to the house when the pavilion rooms at either end of the West Wing were removed during the refurbishment of the Chapel in 1870-75, as part of a plan to bring both wings into greater harmony.
Tragically further change was to occur in the middle of the 20th century when, on the morning of 9 November 1940, fire broke out in the South-East Wing and swept through the house into the Great Hall, destroying the dome and nearly twenty rooms. For the next few years much of Castle Howard was open to the skies, its once splendid rooms gutted shells. George Howard, who inherited Castle Howard after the death of his two brothers in action during the war, determined that the House should be lived in once more, and made the bold decision to recover Vanbrugh's damaged architectural masterpiece.
In 1960-62 the dome was rebuilt and redecorated, and in 1981, in conjunction with Granada Television and the filming of Brideshead Revisited, the Garden Hall was rebuilt. As time and money permit, the gradual task of restoring the fire-damaged sections continues. In the early 1980s a New Library was built; in 1994-95 the Central Block was re-roofed. All over the Estate restoration work and essential maintenance are carried out, ranging from large projects dealing with masonry, lead roofing, the gardens, and the lakes and waterways, to smaller but no less important objects such as lead statues, paintings, books and textiles, all of which testify to the family's dedication to Castle Howard.
|Lady Georgiana's Bedroom|
|Lady Georgiana's Dressing Room|
|Castle Howard Bedroom|
|Fortuna sculptured 2nd Cent. AD|
|Goddess Ceres 2-3rd Cent AD|
|Painting representing Earth|
|Painting representing Air|
|Crimson Dining Room|
|Turquoise Dining Room|
|Long Gallery South|
|Temple of the Four Winds|
Beneath the temple is a cellar where servants would have stored and prepared food before serving it to polite company above. Used as a place for refreshment and reading, it commands impressive views. In 2001 the Hon Simon Howard married Rebecca Sieff in the Temple of the Four Winds.
|Site of the Temple of Venus|
|The Great Lake built by the 5th Earl in the 1790's.|
|The Estate Offices|
|The Grand Entrance of Castle Howard|
|Venus de Medici from the Temple of Venus|
|Home for the night at the Cresswell Arms Malton|