Castle Howard: Masterpiece of the English Coutry House

Castle Howard: Masterpiece of the English Coutry House

July 20, 2016

 

Castle Howard, South elevation, with a view of the Atlas Fountain, a glorious sculptural extravagance built to a design by William Nesfield (1853).  in the Howardian Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the heart of North Yorkshire.

Castle Howard is not a true castle, but this term is also used for English country houses erected on the site of a former military castle. It was where the Earl of Sandwich lived for a long time.

It is a private residence, and has been the home of the Carlisle branch of the Howard family for more than 300 years.  Although building work began in 1699, the construction of Castle Howard took over 100 years to complete, spanning the lifetimes of three Earls.

The Dome is probably the most easily recognizable landmark of the house at Castle Howard. Impressive from the outside, it is only when standing beneath this extraordinarily airy and light baroque showpiece that you begin to appreciate what a remarkable architectural achievement it is. 70 feet in height, the lavishly painted Dome tells the allegorical tale of Phaeton, son of Apollo, who falls to earth from his father's chariot. The four large painted figures at the meeting of the columns that support the Dome represent the four elements; Earth, Fire, Air, and Water.

Castle Howard, the Antique Passage, lined with classical antique Roman statuary, mostly gathered by the 4th Earl during his Grand Tour in Italy (1738-1739). Most of the antiques are originals, dating to as early as the 2nd century AD.

Castle Howard, view of the Dome and The Great Hall. 

 A gorgeous example of George II period walnut and gilt open armchair

Castle Howard, the Chapel. George III period hall chairs, from a set of four, in the manner of Ince and Mayhew. Astonishing carving and detail, lovely gilt accents.

Castle Howard, the Chapel. George III period hall chairs, from a set of four, in the manner of Ince and Mayhew. Astonishing carving and detail, lovely gilt accents.

Castle Howard, the Chapel. Detail of the Neoclassical style carving adorning the benches and panelling.

The boldly carved gilt and marble-topped pier table, one of a pair, at the Long Gallery, Castle Howard.

Castle Howard, the Museum Room, containing an eclectic mixture of objets d'art, furniture, and furnishings collected over the centuries by the Howard family. This magnificent ebonized and gilt armchair, one of a set of four, retaining the original upholstery. Possibly by Charles Heathcote Tatham, who was employed to finalise the interiors of the house in 1810's.

Castle Howard, Crimson Dining Room. Adam-inspired satinwood serving table, lavishly adorned with ebony masks and swags, with a delightful parquetry top in various timbers, en-suite with two pedestals and a cellarette (below).

Castle Howard, Crimson Dining Room. Adam-inspired satinwood and parquetry cellarette, decorated with ebony swags. 

Castle Howard, Turquoise Drawing Room, adorned with paintings by notable artists such as Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds, and a suite of seat furniture supplied by John Linnell.

Castle Howard, Turquoise Drawing Room. An open armchair, from a suite of seat furniture supplied by John Linnell for the house.