Thursday, 5 June 2014

Wilton House

Wilton House lies a short distance from Salisbury Cathedral, it has been the country seat of the Earls of Pembroke for over 450 years, 
During the 18th century, James Wyatt, created a new main entrance to Wilton house from the North forecourt through a Triumphal Arch surmounted by an equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius.
A house filled with treasures - statuary from ancient Greece and Rome, world famous paintings, exquisite furniture by Thomas Chippendale and William Kent, painted ceilings by Cavalier D'Arpino, and Thomas de Critz, walls with gilded and painted wooden swags running from floor to ceiling interspersed with  mirrors by Chippendale.
A very small section of a swag scanned from my entrance ticket, and three of the many memorable paintings
via  
Sir Anthony van Dyck - Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke with his family
Sir Anthony van Dyck - The three eldest children of Charles l
Rembrandt's Mother
 courtyard garden
The first building on the site was a priory founded by King Egbert in 871. It is still possible to see traces of the old abbey inside the house below the ground floor. Wilton Abbey was very prosperous but by the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries it was on the wane. King Henry Vlll presented it and the estates to William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke in 1551. The scion of a distinguished Welsh family he was a favourite of the King.
Only one part of the original great mansion survives today, the central Tudor tower, which bears a strong resemblance to the entrance of Hampton Court.
The two wings that replaced the original Tudor building were added during the 17th century and are attributed to Inigo Jones revealing just how much the building has evolved over the years in to what is the accepted customary style of an English country house.
The Palladian Bridge crossing the River Nadder was designed in 1736 by the 9th Earl of Pembroke. He based his bridge on an unexecuted design of Andrea Palladio for the Rialto Bridge in Venice which he then combined with design aspects of a classical Roman temple.
A leafy entrance tunnel leads down to a relatively new creation, the water garden, an Oriental garden area with ponds linked by Chinese style bridges
Primula puverulenta -candelabra primulas - and 
Lysichiton americanus - skunk cabbage

44 comments:

  1. Oh Rosemary, that Palladian Bridge is gorgeous - I've never seen anything like it! Wonderful...
    Wilton House is a treasure trove indeed, and such fabulous works of art you have seen. Van Dyke's artistry really comes through in the delicious blue satin of the lady on the right, not forgetting the exquisite lace in the children's portrait. Thank you for sharing what must have been a most enjoyable visit.

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    1. Dear Patricia - I don't know why it has taken me so long to get round to visiting Wilton House - a real treasure trove. Whatever your interests are, painting, furniture, decorative arts, there is something in the house for everyone.

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  2. Ah, Rembrandt's mother - in the stillness of the moment!

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  3. Some places look just like paradise on earth. Thanks for sharing your visit.

    Jean x

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    1. Wilton House far exceeded my expectations - it is worthy of a visit.

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  4. Fabulous. I love both the formality of the courtyard garden (wish I had room for one!) and the riot of colour from the candelabra primulas and irises. The original house must have been magnificent in its day.

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    1. I would love to grow candelabra primulas but unlike you I do not have a ready made stream in the garden.

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  5. Hello Rosemary, I wonder if there are any paintings or engravings that show the original appearance of the house. My favorite part is the Tudor central section. Did you see the sections of the old abbey--is it very dramatic, or 'just there"? With all of the treasures you list, the interior must have been an impressive sight.
    --Jim

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    1. Dear Jim - I am sure engravings of the house during the Tudor period would have been in the house, but I did not notice them. Having said that the house is so full of objects, paintings etc that I could easily have missed them.
      I did see the abbey below the house foundations - there is a glass window in the stone flagged flooring where you can see steps going down and bits of pillars, but there is no access for visitors.

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  6. I do so enjoy visiting these wonderful homes with you Rosemary.
    Does any Earl live there at the present moment.?
    One can only imagine how much money was spent on these stately homes at that time, and the work put into them.
    Stunning gardens, with hints of Monet. I recognised Rembrandt . I have books of his works. So known for the light he portrays so well, and that many artists have tried to copy, light was his signature .. Charles the 1st children- a hint of Goya's style.
    The Bridge over the river
    Most enjoyable post.
    Thank you.
    wishing you a happy Thursday .. val


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    1. Dear Val - yes, it is the private home of the 18th Earl of Pembroke. He is just a young man with his wife, a little daughter and baby son. I think that he was born in 1978 so he has a big responsibility on his shoulders.
      It was a lovely visit - wonderful architecture, artworks and decorative art objects.

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  7. The red bridge does indeed stand out and in my opinion takes away from the surroundings.
    The Arch is lovely as is the garden/hedge of box/buxus. The paintings are interesting and as always I enjoyed your post.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing it Margaret - the arch and the courtyard garden we lovely.

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  8. I have never been to Wilton House somehow, but now you have made me really want to go!! Another one for the someday list. Thank you for this lovely tour Rosemary, it looks like such an interesting and lovely place to visit. xx

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    1. I have never visited before Amy - I don't know why as it is a very special house and full of treasures.

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  9. Another gorgeous post! I looked back at Salisbury Cathedral as well. Your posts always leave me with a feeling of awe of the history, structures, gardens, and beauty of your old island.

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    1. Thank you for visiting and for your kind comment. I think that I will never get around to visiting all of the great house, gardens, cathedrals etc in my life time - they do seem to be endless.

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  10. Dear Rosemary,

    A while back I saw a documentary on Hardwick Hall, and the great effort it takes to repair the masonry. Wilton House strikes me as another place that must require quite a bit of regular repointing. I really like that triumphal arch — I'd love to have that for my house (that does look a little like Marcus Aurelius on top)!

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    1. Dear Mark - 10/10 to you, I had intended to mention that it was Marcus Aurelius but it slipped my attention - I have now corrected it - thank you.
      It must require a fortune keeping everything in good order, which it is. All of the gold shines, the velvet shimmers, it is a real show piece.

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  11. Such a beautiful tour! I love the formal courtyard garden with the statues - reminds me of Italy. The addition of the Chinese water gardens is interesting and unexpected.

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    1. I think that the water gardens with their chinese inspired bridges could be jarring in these classical surroundings, but as they are hidden away down that leafy tunnel, they are a rather pleasing surprise.
      The courtyard does remind me of Italy too, also France with the pollarding of the trees, and did you notice that it was all green and white.

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  12. I just love the Palladian bridge, it's wonderful. I really enjoyed taking this tour with you Rosemary and loved seeing the magnificent gardens and architecture. Another one to visit methinks!
    Patricia x

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    1. Yes, Patricia - get in that lovely little retirement motor home of yours and get your self down there - I know that you will enjoy seeing all of the wonderful treasures in the house.

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  13. What a marvellous house. I haven't been. But the thing that stole my eye and heart was Rembrandt's mother. I wonder why I have never seen even a copy of this picture before. I imagine she must have been reading the Bible. The expression on her face is quite remarkable - she could look up and stare me straight in the eyes, I feel.

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    1. I love your response to the portrait Jenny - it is a painting which I feel portrays his great love and affection for his mother.

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  14. Dear Rosemary what an interesting and beautiful place to visit!I like the Palladian Bridge and the paintings.Your photos are wonderful !Thank you for this lovely tour!
    Dimi...

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    1. Dear Dimi - your comment is so kind, thank you. The whole place was a joy to visit, and you are right to mention the lovely Palladian Bridge and the wonderful paintings.

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  15. A fabulous place, really love the garden with the red bridge, made me think of ...guess who ? , but the classical garden is stunning as well !

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    1. As you are a painter Jane, may be Monet?

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  16. Another wonderful place that I have never visited! Thank you for taking us along the gardens look fantastic! Sarah x

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    1. It was new to me Sarah, but well worth a visit if you are near.

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  17. Such an impressive house Rosemary! I like the architecture and the formal garden. Beautiful paintings too. Especially the one by Van Dyck with the children.

    Wishing you a Happy weekend!

    madelief x

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    1. Thank you Madelief - same here, I love that painting too.

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  18. Very impressive castle, like the paintings.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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  19. I always feel disappointed these days when you can't take photos inside a building and, therefore, have a personal record of an interior and its finer details to remember and think about afterwards. There are some wonderful rooms at Wilton House and I was interested to learn that Cavaliere d'Arpino came and painted a ceiling since his birthplace is in one of the hill towns near our home in Italy and I can see examples of his work in a local church there and probably in Rome. As always, an interesting and beautifully presented post, Rosemary. Thank you.

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    1. Dear Linda - I am delighted that you were able to make the link with Cavalier D'Arpino right back to a little hill town near your Italian home.
      I think that we have become so accustomed to the NT allowing photographs in their properties that we expect to be able to take photos everywhere. Most of the rooms etc are on Wilton's own website so in a way it seems pointless not to allow them.

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  20. Not a house I'm familiar with, so I really enjoyed this, Rosemary. Stately, yes, but somehow on a more human scale than some great houses. A pity photography isn't allowed indoors. i shall just have to go and visit it for myself. :-)

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    1. I am sure that you would enjoy the house and grounds Perpetua - lots of lovely treasures to behold within.

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  21. Can you imagine living in a 'house' with a Rembrandt on the walls? Or for that matter, a few Van Dykes? And Chippendale furniture to boot? And such gorgeous grounds.Incredible. I'm assuming part of the family still lives there? I understand that these grand places are major responsibilities,historically and financially, but just imagine being surrounded by such grandeur on a daily basis. But maybe it becomes common place then. :)

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    1. The whole house is lived in by the family - the 18th Earl of Pembroke. He is a young man with a young family. I expect he mainly thinks about the responsibility as he has known nothing other than living in the house all of his life.

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