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Home > New Search > Castle Howard (Henderskelfe), Yorkshire

Castle Howard (Henderskelfe), Yorkshire  England 
Coneysthorpe, North Yorkshire, England

Started 1700
Completed 1726

Status: Fully Extant

Special Info / Location/ Date

Special Info
Phonetic Pronunciation of House Name

District Today
North Yorkshire
 Historic County
 City / Town / Village

Start Date
Completion Date
Circa Date

The North Front

Click on thumbnail for a larger view

The North Front
The South Front
The Great Hall
The Antique Passage
The Chapel Atlar
The New River Bridge and the Mausoleum
The Temple of the Four Winds

Designed   Finished interiors of West Wing, including the Long Gallery, the Chapel, and the Museum Room, for 5th Earl of Carlisle
Date   1801-05

Designed   Temple of the Four Winds
Date   1723-24

Designed   Stables for 5th Earl
Date   1774-82

Designed   Added steps & outer court to Mausoleum under Robinson's designs
Date   1737-42

Designed   West Wing
Date   1753-59

Designed   Belvedere Temple
Date   1725-28

Designed   Pyramid Gate
Date   1719

Designed   Obelisk
Date   1714

Designed   Exclamation Gate for 5th Earl
Date   circa 1770

Designed   Temple of Venus (demolished)
Date   1731-35

Designed   Pyramid
Date   1728

Designed   Mausoleum and Carrmirr Gate
Date   1729-36

Designed   House
Date   1699

Extant / Listed / References

Extant Type
Fully Extant
Extant Details

House Listed As 
Grade I
Gardens Listed As  
Grade I
Country House:  Yes

Vitruvius Britannicus
C. I, pls. 63-71. 1715. C. III, pls.5, 6. 1725.
Vitruvius Scoticus
J.B. Burke (Burke's Visitation of Seats)
Vol.I, p.142. 1852.
Country Life
XV, 234. 1904. LXI, 884 plan, 948, 1005 [Pictures], 1022, 1043 [Pictures]. 1927. LXII, 200 [Outworks], 230 [Outworks]. 1927. CXIII, 276 plan. 1953.
J.P. Neale (Neale's Views of Seats)
Vol.V. 1822.
Access / Ownership / Seat

Open to Public Please note: Houses listed as being open "By Appointment" are usually country house hotels, B&Bs, or schools.
Historic Houses Association Member
Phone Number If calling from the U.S., delete the first "0" in British numbers.
Fax Number

Current Ownership
Current Ownership Type
Individual / Family Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use
Private Home
Current Ownership Use / Details
Castle Howard is jointly owned by the four sons of the late Baron Howard of Henderskelfe, The Hon Henry, Nicholas, Simon and Anthony Howard, via Castle Howard Estate Ltd.

Seat ("Seat" is loosely defined as any family that occupied the house for a period of 2 years or more)
Today Seat of
Hon. Simon Howard; Howard family here since 1699.
A Past Seat(s) of
Earl of Carlisle
Possible (Unsure) Seat of
History / Gardens & Park / Movies

Earlier House(s) / Building(s)
The Old Castle of Henderskelfe was rebuilt in 1683, but gutted by fire 10 years later and replaced by the current house.
House Replaced By
Built / Designed For
Charles Howard, 3rd Earl of Carlisle
House & Family History
After the burning of the earlier house, the "Old Castle of Henderskelfe," the young 3rd Earl of Carlisle, recently appointed First Lord of the Treasury, was determined to build a house befitting his newly-elevated status. In 1698 the Earl commissioned William Talman to build a new house; however, the two soon disagreed and Talman was out. The following year the Earl made the surprising choice of John Vanbrugh as architect for his new house, with the finished product costing the immense sum of £78,000 (approximately £10 million in inflation-adjusted 2007 values). Vanbrugh was then primarily a playwright who had never designed a house before; his grand ideas, ably assisted by Nicholas Hawksmoor, created one of the greatest houses of the 18th century. The great dome, which soars 80 feet, was the first in a private house in Britain. The scagliola in the Great Hall was one of the earliest examples in England of this mixture of marble chips and hard plaster. Frederick, the 5th Earl, commissioned C.H. Tatham in 1805 to finish the interior of the West Wing, the Chapel, and the Museum Room. Originally planned as a columned Dining Hall, the Chapel has a ceiling based on the Chapel Royal in St. James's Palace. George, the 9th Earl, was a painter in his own right (in the Pre-Raphaelite style); his friend Edward Burne-Jones designed stained glass windows for the Chapel, which were executed by William Morris. During World War II the House was occupied by a girls' school. In 1940 a fire engulfed the House, gutting the entire east and central sections of the south front and destroying the dome. Many important interiors, including the Garden Hall and the High Saloon were lost. The great dome was restored in 1960 by George Howard, who also commissioned the Canadian artist Scott Medd to restore Pellegrini's fresco of Phaeton falling from his father's chariot. In 1982 the artist Felix Kelly completed murals in the Garden Room at Castle Howard; the murals were meant to evoke Claudian vistas as seen through "windows," the latter of which were designed by the architect Julian Bicknell. The murals (commissioned by his close friend, George Howard, then Chairman of the BBC) were used in the TV mini-series "Brideshead Revisited" (passed off as the work of Charles Ryder, played by Jeremy Irons), which was famously filmed at Castle Howard. The 2008 motion picture of "Brideshead Revisited," starring Emma Thompson as Lady Marchmain, was also filmed at Castle Howard. Sanssouci, the Potsdam complex begun as the summer palace of Frederick the Great in the 1740s, includes New Palace, a 1760s building in the Prussian Baroque style that was clearly influenced in its design by Castle Howard.
Collections This field lists art objects that are currently or were previously in the collection of the house.

For information on the history of British currency, click here.  To use a chart that allows you to compare the purchasing power of money In Great Britain from 1264 to any other year, including the present, click here.  To use a currency conversion to see the current value of the British pound, click here.
Henry Howard, 4th Earl of Carlisle (1694-1758), formed an outstanding collection of 170 classical and post-classical gems (intaglios and cameos) at Castle Howard between 1739 and 1758, the majority of which were purchased by the British Museum in 1890. The collecting of antique gems in Britain reached such an intense and competitive level in the 18th century that the French gem expert P.J. Mariette, writing in "Traité des Pierres Gravées" in the 1750s, said "nowhere is more love shown for classical gems" [than in England]. The current collection at Castle Howard contains notable paintings, including the famous Holbein portraits of Henry VIII and the Duke of Norfolk. Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s "Cardinal dal Pozzo" was sold by negotiation to The National Gallery of Scotland 1986-87 for £3 million. A sale of various contents of Castle Howard was sold at auction Nov 11-13, 1991 by Sotheby's. Michelangelo's "Mourning Woman" drawing was sold for £5,943,500 at Sotheby’s in London, Jul 11, 2001. Sir Joshua Reynolds's "Portrait of Omai" was sold Nov 29, 2001 at Sotheby's for £10,343,500 (although its export was refused and it was subsequently bought by Tate Britain for £12.5 million in Mar 2003). One of Canaletto's masterpieces, "Bacino di San Marco, Venice," purchased by the 4th Earl of Carlisle, has been in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston since 1939, where it is considered among the finest Canalettos in America. A fine pair of Canalettos of the views of the Piazzo San Marco and the Piazzetta, also purchased by the 4th Earl, are today in the collection of The National Gallery of Art, Washington. An unusual circa 1705 walnut bureau cabinet featuring 5 carved and gilded figures on the cornice, formerly in the collection at Castle Howard, is today in The Burrell Collection, Glasgow. The bedroom passage leading to Lady Georgiana's bedroom is hung with a fine collection of 18th century prints of Raphael's decorations for the Vatican Loggia, purchased by the 6th Earl of Carlisle in 1827.
Castle Howard is generally considered to be the finest private residence in Yorkshire and the first great [British] house of the 18th century. Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd calls the approach to Castle Howard "probably the most dramatic of all the great houses of England and Wales." Sir Sacheverell Sitwell, writing in "British Architects and Craftsmen," considered Hawksmoor's Mausoleum and Bridge at Castle Howard to be "greater works of art than many of our Cathedrals. They belong to the class of Landscape buildings, and probably of their kind, they are as beautiful as anything in Europe." Horace Walpole, writing in the 18th century on Castle Howard: "Nobody had informed me at one view I should see a palace, a town, a fortified city, temples on high places, woods worthy of being each a metropolis of the Druids, the noblest lawn in the world fenced by half the horizon, and a mausoleum that would tempt one to be buried alive; in short, I have seen gigantic places before, but never a sublime one."

Gardens & Park
Garden, Park, Follies and Outbuildings
Castle Howard sits in an Estate of 10,000 acres, of which 1,000 acres are devoted to gardens and follies, including the Temple of the Four Winds, the building in England which has the most in common with the built architecture of Palladio. There is also the Mausoleum, which Horace Walpole famously quipped was so beautiful it would tempt one to be buried alive. The Mausoleum received a £1 million grant from English Heritage in 1979 to prevent its collapse, yet it still remains on the English Heritage list of Buildings at Risk.
Chapel & Church
C.H. Tatham finished the interior of the Chapel in 1805. Originally planned as a columned Dining Hall, the Chapel has a ceiling based on the Chapel Royal in St. James's Palace. Edward Burne-Jones designed the stained glass windows, which were executed by William Morris.

Location for Movies / TV
"Lady L" (1965). "The Spy With a Cold Nose" (1966). "Twelfth Night" (1974 - TV production). "Barry Lyndon" (1975). “Brideshead Revisited” (1981 - TV mini series, as Brideshead). "The Buccaneers" (1995 - TV mini series, as Longlands, home of the Duke and Duchess of Trevenick). "Bill Bryson: Notes from a Small Island" (1999 - TV series). "Antiques Roadshow" (1999 - TV series, 2 episodes). "Bargain Hunt" (2000-07? - TV game show series). "Casanova" (2002 - TV production). "Time Team" (2003 - TV documentary series, episode 10.11). "Britain's Finest" (2003 - TV documentary series). "Castle in the Country" (2005 - TV BBC documentary, series 2). "Revisiting Brideshead" (2005 - TV documentary on the TV series “Brideshead Revisited” [1981], especially in the segment "Castle Howard"). "Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties" (2006 - as Castle Carlisle/Carlyle exteriors). "Flyboys" (2006). "The Great Garden Detectives" (2007 - TV series). "Brideshead Revisited" (2008 - theatrical movie, as Brideshead).

Author   NA
Year Published   NA
Reference   Spring 1999, pg. 15

Author   Sayer, Michael
Year Published   1993

Author   Colvin, Howard
Year Published   1995

Author   Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh and Sykes, Christopher Simon
Year Published   1994

Author   Wilson, Richard; Mackley, Alan
Year Published   2000
Reference   pg. 243

Author   NA
Year Published   NA
Reference   No. 79, Spring 2003, pg. 13

Author   Wohlauer, Gilian Shallcross
Year Published   1999
Reference   pg. 231

Author   Jackson-Stops, Gervase (Editor)
Year Published   1985
Reference   pg. 263

Author   Barker, Nicholas
Year Published   2003
Reference   pg. 66

Author   NA
Year Published   NA
Reference   Nov 1985, pg. 665

Author   NA
Year Published   NA
Reference   Autumn 2004, pg. 60

Author   NA
Year Published   1997
Reference   pg. 24

Author   Norwich, John Julius (Introduction)
Year Published   2001
Reference   pg. 134

Author   Sloan, Kim; Burnett, Andrew (Editors)
Year Published   2003
Reference   pg. 136

There are no documents associated with this house.

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