Castle Howard (Yorkshire): coulda, shoulda, woulda

Castle Howard still probably holds the award for the country house that I’ve visited the most.  I was interested therefore to experience that while the Marlboroughs at Blenheim continue to disappoint me with their innovations (see my recent post about the ‘Talking Dummies’), the Howards at Castle Howard continue to impress me.

Reason to visit: to see the hall beneath the great dome that Vanbrugh designed, his first commission.

On this visit to Castle Howard there was a new room on show (a completely new library-come-study, commissioned and constructed in one of the rooms previously devastated in the 1950s fire – of which more see my diary entry from 2011).

We did spend some time in the devastated shell, looking at the construction.

We also spent a bit of time looking at the double-height entrance hall.  This is the type of thing I like to do on repeat visits, when I’m no longer blown away by something new.

Plus, I have a nicer camera now.

There was also an exhibition showing the intended designs for the house from Colen Campbell’s Vitruvius and comparing them to what was built.

We have:

Before the right-hand wing was added there was:

And below is what there should have been.

Why no one stood back and said, “why are we not building something symmetrical; we’re making a mistake” I don’t know.

The Canaletto was also back from the 2011 National Gallery exhibition “Canaletto and his Rivals”, but sometimes I think the Bellotti at Castle Howard are better.

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We also walked down to the lake, which I thought I’d never been to but of course I’d just forgotten I had!  There is a decked area and playground, but whereas I seem to remember there used to be boat trips on the lake, that now seems to have stopped.

Wonder what I’ll discover on my next trip to Castle Howard?

When visited: August 2012

House * out of 5: ****

Garden * out of 5:***

Website: http://www.castlehoward.co.uk/

Theme tune: What could have been…

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