Yesterday on Hoydens and Firebrands, I submitted a short post about He Who Commissioned Castle Howard – Charles Howard, 3rd Earl of Carlisle. Following on from that post, which gives an overview about the life of the Charles Howard, I would like to share what I learned there this weekend and some photos from my visit, if I may. All photos (with the exception of Brideshead Revisited and The Buccaneers) © Andrea Zuvich
Castle Howard is most well-known for being the setting for the film adaptations of Evelyn Waugh’s classic, Brideshead Revisited.
This house has been used memorably in other films and series, including Atonement, and one of my favourite mini-series, The Buccaneers:
Castle Howard was a place I had dreamed of visiting since I saw that series in 1995. I was ten. Eighteen years later, I got my wish.
And t’other side!
The view from this front is this…
If you look back at the house from here, this is what you see:
A little walk down to the lake and you’ll see a boathouse, which now has an ice-cream shop and a little eatery. You can also go on a boat ride.
But it is not just grand and beautiful on the outside…it’s the inside that counts!
This massive china cabinet contained a variety of china – from Derby to Sevres and more.
Lady Georgiana’s Bedroom and Dressing-Room:
Castle Howard Dressing-Room and Bedroom. If I’m not mistaken, this room was also featured in The Buccaneers.
There are many marble sculptures dotted throughout the castle…
Whilst the Dome was very impressive, my favourite feature was this balcony, covered in vines and flowers.
There was a good deal of information about the history of the house. Sadly, we had limited time to spend, but we tried to see as much as possible. I was very interested in this display about the Dome – for the model on the left is what it originally looked like, and the Dome on the right is what it looks like today – following the disastrous fire in the 1940s which destroyed the dome and many priceless works of art. I think they did a fantastic job of rebuilding it all.
The next room was decked out like the Mad Hatter’s tea part, from Alice in Wonderland.
Next, there was an interesting exhibition about the two versions of Brideshead Revisited – the original Granada mini-series from 1981, and the film adaptation from 2008. Personally, I prefer the former, but I recognise the film had to cut a good deal out to be able to be in a theatre version, but nevertheless, the former is quite true to Evelyn Waugh’s story.
After this exhibition, the door leads again to the Great Hall…
This next room is used by the lady of the house as her private office/study, and it’s open to the public on the weekends. I thought it was a really comfortable office and I immediately respected her for having such amazing books. I felt a little bit as though I was intruding into the family’s private life as there were many family photos around – just like in anyone’s house. I am very grateful that the Howard family has the house open to the public.
Mrs Howard had a lot of great books, and I noticed there were several books on the 17th-century – Nell Gwynn, Sir John Vanbrugh, etc. She also had many books from Christies about art. I would love to have a chat with her about her thoughts about that century’s history and art.
The information plaque in this room stated that the bronze below was made in the 17th-century:
We then went into the Music Room. I love music and could well imagine the generations of Howards who played the various musical instruments in this room.
In the photo below, on the right-hand wall is a portrait of a man by Domenico Feti, The Music Master, and was painted circa 1617-20. This was once thought to be a portrait of Claudio Monteverdi.
We were told by a member of staff that he Broadwood piano forte is the same kind of piano that Beethoven played.
Next was the Crimson Drawing Room. It is believed that the frieze over one of the doorways was carved by Grinling Gibbons (!)
Did you notice the Canaletto on the wall? It his work entitled, The Bucintoro Preparing to Leave the Molo on Ascension Day. What a splendid room.
We then walked into the Turquoise Drawing Room. There were Gainsborough paintings here, as well as a French commode.
In the next room, called the Museum Room, there was an elaborate 17th-century blue-and-white porcelain vase from Delft, which Mary II would no doubt have loved:
Look at the little bookshelf on the right, against the wall – it’s the perfect height for little children:
The Long Gallery was always intended as a display gallery.
As soon as one steps into this hall, which is full of 17th-century objects, immediately above the doorway is this famous painting of King Charles I and his son, James, Duke of York (later King James II). It was thrilling to see this painting after having seen it in so many of the books I have read.
To the left of this is a painting of King Charles II:
You can see me taking the photo of Charles II here:
I was a very happy camper!
We then made our way into the Chapel, which had some beautiful art/stained glass by Burne-Jones and William Morris.
I naturally signed the guest book! What a pleasurable visit!
Anyone need a clean?
Gavin spoils me, though. He bought me a lovely new bag and the guide book.
As we walked back to the car park, we stopped at Castle Howard’s market shop, which had fresh meat, vegetables, milk, bread, and everything else one could possibly need to make a good meal.
Speaking of food, there are several places to eat at Castle Howard. We had a very good breakfast on Sunday at the first place. I had scrambled eggs and smoked salmon with a latte and Gavin had a full English breakfast with an Americano. It was as good a meal as you’d expect at a very expensive, top-quality eatery and we weren’t hungry again until the evening!
I really enjoyed my visit to Castle Howard – it was definitely a dream come true!