Tag Archives: British Country Houses

Harewood House Part 2: The Terrace

Madame Sphinx greets you at the entrance to the terrace. (Have you ever wondered how a spinx does her hair? Perhaps they’ve got servants for that kind of thing …)

And here it is — ta-daaah! — the formal garden on the terrace.

This is the view from the house, across the formal garden, with the landscape garden in the background.

The view from the balustrade that you can see in the picture above:

They’re kind of difficult to see, but all these black spots on the lake and on the lawn? Geese. Hundreds and hundreds of geese. I could already hear them while walking down the drive.

Back to the formal garden. There were pretty fountains, like this one:

And rather cold stone (marble?) benches to the left and the right. You can just about see one of those benches on the picture below. It nestles in the inner ring of the curved hedge in the back.

And then there is the very large, very neikkid man. Right smack in the middle of the terrace:

It’s Hercules with a leopard, and it’s a modern statue. The original statue was destroyed by severe frost in 1982.

So when you now look out of the window up at the house, you’ve got a very nice view of Hercules’s very nice, muscular bum. Not the worst thing to look at early in the morning, I should guess. 😉

In the next installment I’ll take you to see the ice house, the landscape garden and the walled garden.

Harewood House Part 1

In early October I attended a conference in Leeds. The conference was called “Thackeray in Time”, and I presented a paper on “Mocking Nostalgia: W.M. Thackeray, Richard Doyle, and The Newcomes” (yes, Dicky Doyle again!) (that’s not going to be my last paper on Doyle: at least two more will follow next year). I basically discussed the relevance of remembered history in The Newcomes and how the text and the illustrations deal with, and comment on, nostalgia. Thanks to the research I’ve done for my novels, I was able to present new findings and insights into the novel (authors do make better scholars *g*).

I had reserved the day before the conference for a bit of sightseeing, and as the weather was simply FANTASTIC (it was hot! in autumn!! in Yorkshire!!!), I decided to leave the city and look at Harewood House, a grand estate near Leeds.

The bus dropped me off in front of the entrance to the estate:

And then I walked down the drive.

And I walked …

… and walked …

(pretty meadows to the left)

… and walked …

… and walked …

… and walked …

(Oh look! Pretty neo-gothic church to the right!)

… and walked …

… and walked …

(more pretty meadows on the left)

… and walked …

… and walked some more (which definitely drove home the sheer vastness of such large estates) (and if that’s not great research I don’t know what is!) before I finally reached the house itself:

It was built in the 1760s for Edwin Lascelles. John Carr designed most of the outside of the house, while Robert Adam (then a relatively young Scottish architect trying to establish himself in London) designed most of the inside. The famous Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown worked on the landscape garden, and Thomas Chippendale on the furniture and furnishings throughout the house (whew, that reads like a Who’s Who of 18th-century architects and designers, doesn’t it?).

Edwin’s cousin and heir became the 1st Earl of Harewood in 1812, and his grandson, the 3rd earl, married Louisa Thynne, who had great plans for Harewood. She ordered a reconstruction of the house, enlarging the building and adding a grand terrace to the south side. For this, she chose one of the star architects of the Victorian Age, Charles Barry, who had designed the new Houses of Parliament.

The next picture shows a smallish formal garden at the east side of the house:

And here we have another bit of formal garden at the south side:

Turn right, and this path then leads you to what Louisa must have considered the crowning glory of the house: the south terrace! (To be continued …)