Holkham Hall – Treasure Houses of England

A grand Palladian mansion on the north Norfolk coast... Envisioned by Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester, and built by the architects William Kent and Lord Burlington, this austere Palladian Hall — in the style of an Italian villa — is set in a thriving 25,000-acre agricultural estate and has been the ancestral home of the Coke family since the 1750s. Inspired by the buildings of Venetian architect Andrea Palladio, his classical style and use of symmetry, taken from Ancient Greek and Roman architecture, can be seen from the imposing columns and pediments of Holkham Hall. Indeed, the building and its interiors comprise some of the finest examples of the Palladian revival style of architecture in England. The façade owes its colour to the yellow-brick replicas of ancient Roman bricks cast specifically for Holkham. Constructed of Derbyshire alabaster, the ‘Marble’ Hall features a magnificent colonnade that was copied from the Temple of Fortuna Virilis in Rome; its exquisite coffered, gilded ceiling - rising to a height of over 50 feet - is an imitation of the capital's Pantheon. In stark contrast to this chaste grandeur, master paintings by Peter Paul Ruben and Anthony van Dyck hang on the saloon’s red velvet walls. Ruben’s painting has been noted for its unusual depiction of Christ as a young boy, rather than as an infant or a man. Twenty–two Old Master paintings hang in the landscape room. Significantly, this room holds a collection of seven paintings by Claude Lorrain, the great French landscape painter. The green state bedroom on the piano nobile has played host to nobility of all ranks over the years, including Queen Mary. Indeed, for The Queen's visit, the painting of the god Jupiter caressing his wife Juno, by Gavin Hamilton, was considered too lewd for the lady and banished to the attics. In the bedroom, tapestries woven by the great Flemish weaver, Albert Auwercx, hang either side of the fireplace. The statue gallery houses what is perhaps the most complete private collection of classical statuary in Britain. Here, all of the statues, bar three, are Roman and were sculpted between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD. In Victorian times, they too were shrouded to cover their modesty. Please note that some rooms, such as the libraries and the chapel, whilst frequently open for public view, are private areas of the Hall, and thus cannot be guaranteed on the day of your visit. We apologise for any disappointment this may cause.

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