Holkham Hall, Norfolk
18th century

Holkham Hall from the south. A Palladian house built 1734-61 by Thomas Coke, first Earl of Leicester. The disciplined Classical style of this and other big houses built around this time was a break with the Baroque of Wren, Vanbrugh and Hawksmoor. Holkham was designed by William Kent, the  discovery and protégé of Lord Burlington, leader of the Palladian style in England (see his Chiswick House). Another, slightly earlier, Palladian house nearby is Houghton Hall.
In plan Holkham is a centre block connected by lower, straight one-bay links with four lower oblong blocks to the NW, NE, SW, and SE. The idea is Palladian and especially reminiscent of such villas as that of the Trissinos at Meledo. The style is Palladian too, even to the choice of brick as a building material
(not rendered as it appears at a distance; close-up further down the page). ... The main block consists of a rusticated basement with small windows and a superb 'piano nobile'; that is all, except for the four square angle turrets or eminences, each with one small window to each side and a pyramid roof. ... The windows of the piano nobile are either pedimented or, when greater prominence demanded it, of the Venetian type. ... 

(Information from North-West and South Norfolk by Nikolaus Pevsner (1962) Penguin Books, now published by Yale University Press. Direct quotes in italics.)

Click on photos below to enlarge

P1040409-rot-u2-760-u0.3-q40.jpg (76935 bytes)               P1040408-crop-u2-h550-u0.3-q40.jpg (78439 bytes)

The rest of the house has a balustrade in front of the low roof and to the S, that is the garden, a portico of six Corinthian columns carrying a pediment. ... 
Facing the garden facade a fountain with the group of Perseus and Andromeda by Charles R. Smith. This dates from c.1850.

P1040417-varlt-vary-vary-u2-760-u0.3t3-q50.jpg (86649 bytes)     P1040415-crop-levltmid-u1-h550-u0.2-q40.jpg (78462 bytes)     P1040405-u2-760-u0.3-q60.jpg (91563 bytes)

To the E of the house is the former conservatory, 1850 ...

P1040389-transf-varltshadows-varlt-u3-980-u0.3-q60.jpg (118660 bytes)     P1040393-transf-varlt-u2-760-u0.3-q40.jpg (71614 bytes)     P1040393-transf-varlt-crop-u0.3-q60.jpg (67501 bytes)

On the north side, rather more Venetian windows than on the south side. Also no portico but a flat pedimented projection. The largely brick construction is clear in the third picture.
(The clutter of vans, and crane round the corner below, was due to the filming at this time of Barbarian Princess.)

P1040394-transf-varlt-vary-u2-760-u0.3-q50.jpg (73560 bytes)     P1040398-transf-varlt-varyr-varlt-u2-760-u0.2-q50.jpg (69067 bytes)     P1040397-fillf-transf-u3-760-u0.2-varlt-q50.jpg (69204 bytes)

The four wings are of five bays to the S and three to the N. The ground floor is rusticated. Above them is a Venetian window in the centre to the N, but otherwise there are only a few pediments to the windows. The centre of each wing is raised by a half storey. The sides as well as the centre are crowned by pediments. There are E and W courts between the wings. ...

P1040399-varlt-u20760-u0.5-q60.jpg (80855 bytes)          P1040395-varltshadows-u2-760-u0.3-q60.jpg (69224 bytes)

The grounds of Holkham were laid out by Capability Brown in 1762. Their most conspicuous element is the uncommonly large lake to the W of the house.,

The interior of the house is more consistently palatial that that of almost any other house in England. See Interior  at  Holkham Hall Website

Detailed article on the house in Wikipedia


P1040418-rot-varlt-u2-760-u0.2-q50.jpg (71083 bytes)

P1040420-transf-u2-760-u0.3t3-q50.jpg (86584 bytes)     P1040422-transf-u1-760-u0.3-q50.jpg (71638 bytes)     P1040426-transf-varlt-varyr-u2-760-u0.3-q30.jpg (72839 bytes)

St Withburga. The church lies dramatically on a mound in the extensive park of Holkham Hall, not far from the lake. It is a large and interesting building, though severely restored by James K. Colling in 1870. ... (Foundations of a tower have been found inside the west bay of the nave which may have been Saxon or Norman). The tower now stands to the S of the church, a little E of the W end. It is large and sturdy  and dates from the early C13, see the lancet windows. Early C14 bell-openings with Y-tracery. However, all this is largely rebuilt. ...

P1040423-transf-crop-u2-h550-u0.3t5-q20.jpg (83173 bytes)          P1040425-trasnf-crop-u2-h550-u0.2-q30.jpg (66197 bytes)          P1040425-transf-crop1-u2-h550-u0.5t3-q60.jpg (59314 bytes)

Detail of the Victorian doorways

More about the church

More of Norfolk on Astoft

Home Architecture Index Email:  Maps Link  (U.K.)

All photographic images on this website are © Copyright the website owner 2001 or later unless otherwise stated. Email contact above. Full size originals (3-6 megapixels)  are available for approved purposes.