Castle Howard

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Castle_Howard.jpg
The garden front of Castle Howard
John Vanburgh's complete project for Castle Howard, which was not all built. Click on the image for an explanation.
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John Vanburgh's complete project for Castle Howard, which was not all built. Click on the image for an explanation.
A north west view of Castle Howard in 1819, showing the west wing as built in the mid-18th century.
Enlarge
A north west view of Castle Howard in 1819, showing the west wing as built in the mid-18th century.

Castle Howard is a stately home in Yorkshire, England, 25 miles (40 km) north of York, one of the very grandest private residences in the country. It is not a true castle: the word is quite often used for country houses in England which were built after the end of the castle-building era (ca. 1500) and were not intending to have any military function. It was built (16991712) for the 3rd Earl of Carlisle. Sir John Vanbrugh was commissioned to design the building; since it was that gentleman-dilletante's first foray into architecture, he was assisted in this by Nicholas Hawksmoor. Vanbrugh's west wing was not built. A west wing was built in the mid-18th century in a neoclassical style. In 1940 a large part of the house was destroyed by fire, including the central dome. Most but not all of the devastated rooms have been restored.

Castle Howard has extensive and diverse gardens. There is a large formal garden immediately behind the house. The house is prominently situated on a ridge and this was exploited to create a landscape garden, which opens out from the formal garden and merges with the park. Two major garden buildings are set into this landscape: the Temple of the Four Winds at the end of the garden, and the Mausoleum in the park. There is also a lake on either side of the house. There is an arboretum called Ray Wood, and the walled garden contains decorative rose and flower gardens.

Castle Howard is familiar to television audiences as "Brideshead" in Granada Television's Brideshead Revisited. Today it is part of the Treasure Houses of England heritage group.

Kew at Castle Howard

There is also a separate 127 acre (514,000 m²) arboretum called Kew at Castle Howard, which is close to the the house and garden, but has separate entrance arrangements. Planting began in 1975 with the intention of creating one of the most important collections of specimen trees in the United Kingdom. The landscape is more open than that of Ray Wood, and the planting remains immature. It is now a joint venture between Castle Howard and Kew Gardens and is managed by a charity called the Castle Howard Arboretum Trust, which was established in 1997. It was opened to the public for the first time in 1999. As of 2005 a new visitor centre is under construction.

See also

A more detailed architectural appraisal of Castle Howard is at John Vanbrugh

External links

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