Castle Howard, Yorkshire

One of the world’s grandest Baroque mansions…

‘One of the World’s Top Ten Greatest Mansions and Grand Houses’ – Lonely Planet’s ‘1000 Ultimate Sights’ – this magnificent Grade I listed stately home is set within 1,000 acres of breathtaking landscape in the Howardian Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, just 15 miles northeast of the cathedral city of York.

In 1699, Charles Howard, 3rd Earl of Carlisle, approached fellow Kit Cat Club member, dramatist Sir John Vanbrugh, to draw up designs for his new House. Working with Nicholas Hawksmoor, Vanbrugh designed two projecting wings and a dramatic masonry dome. The House, however, was to remain without a west wing for quite some time and, in the late 1700s, Carlisle’s son-in-law, Sir Thomas Robinson, added a Palladian wing to Vanbrugh’s flamboyant Baroque design, lending it a distinctly asymmetrical appearance. Following a fire in 1940, efforts to recover this damaged architectural masterpiece still continue today.

Whilst coronets, ciphers, coats of arms, a frieze of sea horses and cherubs, and a carving of Diana adorn Castle Howard’s facade, its lavish interiors are filled with world-famous collections of paintings, antiques, bronzes, furniture and tapestries gathered by successive generations of the Howard family. The 5th Earl’s impressive collection of Italian Old Masters includes paintings by Leandro Bassano, Bedoli, Bellini, Annibale Carracci, Domenichino, Orazio Gentileschi and Titian. The China Landing displays over 300 pieces of porcelain, whilst antique busts, statues, marble columns and table-tops line the Antique Passage. Destroyed in the fire, the Garden Saloon was rebuilt for the filming of Miramax’s Brideshead Revisited and features murals depicting fantasy views by 20th-century painter Felix Kelly.

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