Archive for the ‘Stourhead’ Category

Claude: from canvas to garden

November 17, 2011

Claude Lorrain, The Father of Psyche Sacrificing at the Temple of Apollo, at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire. ©NTPL/John Hammond

Over the weekend I visited the Claude Lorrain exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. The show focuses on bringing together the paintings of the seventeenth-century master with his drawings and prints.

Claude Lorrain, The Landing of Aeneas at Palanteum, at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire. ©NTPL/John Hammond

It is fascinating to see Claude playing with different landscape motifs and trying out all sorts of combinations. In spite – or perhaps because of – this his paintings exude an air of timeless serenity.

Claude Lorrain, Jacob with Laban and his Daughters, at Petworth, West Sussex. ©NTPL/Derrick E. Witty

Claude’s pictures were hugely popular in Britain, so much so that, as the exhibition catalogue states, nearly all of them have been in British collections at some point, or are still there today.

John Constable, The Opening of Waterloo Bridge, at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire. ©NTPL/Christopher Hurst

Claude’s work inspired a number of British painters, such as Constable, Cozens and Turner.

Watercolour of Stourhead by by Coplestone Warre Bampflyde, at Stourhead, Wiltshire. ©NTPL

Claude also influenced the development of the English landscape garden, and nowhere is this more obvious than at Stourhead, in Wiltshire.

Stourhead today. ©NTPL/Nick Daly

There are other strands of meaning at Stourhead as well, of course, including an awareness of the various local springs, references to antiquity and subtle political symbolism. But the compositional language that brings it all together is very much that of Claude.

The Regency library at Stourhead

August 23, 2011

The Library at Stourhead. The chimneypiece and overmantel were added in 1913, but apart from that it very much reflects the Regency taste of Sir Richard Colt Hoare. ©NTPL/Bill Batten

In a comment on the previous post Jolie Beaumont asked about Regency libraries, and Craig Marriott responded that the one at Stourhead in Wiltshire is a prime example.

Sir Richard Colt Hoare and his son Henry, by Samuel Woodforde. ©NTPL/John Hammond

The Library at Stourhead was built in 1792 by Moulton & Atkinson for Sir Richard Colt Hoare, 2nd Bt. (1758-1838). Colt Hoare was a shy, scholarly man who inherited Stourhead with its classically-inspired landscape garden from his grandfather, Henry Hoare II.

©NTPL/John Hammond

Following the early death of his wife Colt Hoare spent six years on the Continent, mostly in Italy. He developed his interests in topography and history and patronised artists such as Louis Ducros, J.M.W. Turner, John Buckler and Francis Nicholson. Colt Hoare was a prolific if indifferent artist himself.

Fold-out plate showing Stonehenge in a volume in the Library. ©NTPL/John Hammond

Back in England Colt Hoare turned to recording and publishing the antiquities of Wiltshire. He filled the Library at Stourhead with topographical books and records.

Library steps by Chippendale the Younger. ©NTPL/John Hammond

He also commissioned many items of furniture from Thomas Chippendale the Younger, which display the bold features of the Regency style and include various antiquarian references.

©NTPL/Bill Batten

As a reflection of Colt Hoare’s character and interests, the Library is almost as much a ‘work of art’ as his grandfather’s landscape garden outside.

A book from the Stourhead library

June 17, 2011

The Library at Stourhead. ©NTPL/Bill Batten

We have just bought back a book that used to be part of the library assembled at Stourhead, Wiltshire, by Sir Richard Colt Hoare (1758-1838). The book, a copy of Thomas Philipott’s Villare Cantianum; or Kent Surveyed and Illustrated (1776), was purchased at Bloomsbury Auctions in London.  

Sir Richard Colt Hoare and his son Henry, by Samuel Woodforde. ©NTPL/John Hammond

Colt Hoare amassed a vast collection of books at Stourhead on the history and topography of Britain, arranged by county. Unfortunately these were sold in 1883 and replaced with books from other Hoare properties. But the room is still very much as Colt Hoare commisioned it from achitects Moulton and Atkinson in 1792. It represents his ideal of the scholarly life.

Painted window by Francis Eginton after Raphael's fresco The School of Athens. ©NTPL/John Hammond

The lunettes contain copies of Raphael’s fresco’s The School of Athens and Parnassus in the Vatican, one as a painted window, the other on canvas. The carpet incorporates motifs derived from a Roman tiled pavement and its lattice pattern is reflected in the barrel ceiling.

We will never be able to reassemble Colt Hoare’s library, but the presence of a few books like this one can help to explain to visitors what was once there.

Third day of Christmas

December 27, 2010

The church of St Peter, Stourton, in the grounds of Stourhead, Wiltshire. ©NTPL/Stephen Robson


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