This week Country Life reports on Houghton Hall, whose state rooms have been transformed by the return of over sixty paintings sold from the house and collection of Sir Robert Walpole more than two hundred years ago. An exhibition of fine art in a series of great interiors might in ordinary circumstances create a conflict; the paintings and architecture striving with each other for the visitor’s attention. Here, however, the display is a revelation. By attempting to recreate a historic picture hang the display augments our understanding of Houghton. Offered by it is a completely different perspective both on Sir Robert, and on the celebrated interiors he created with William Kent. The display at Houghton has, in effect, brilliantly united the delights of a country house visit with the formula of the art exhibition. By so doing it has made both a great deal more exciting.

 

The west front of Houghton Hall
Click the image above to purchase from the Country Life Picture Library

The country home of Britain’s first Prime Minister has been visited many times by Country Life. As Sir Robert Walpole’s magnificent art collection is reassembled in its former home, it is possible to track the changing face of this house through the 20th century in the Country Life Archive.

ARCHIVE ARTICLES:

HOUGHTON: THEN & NOW

HOUGHTON HALL: AUGMENTING A MASTERPIECE BY MARCUS BINNEY (FREE PDF DOWNLOAD)

HOUGHTON HALL WALLED GARDEN: THE QUEST FOR NEW IDEAS BY TIM LONGVILLE (FREE PDF DOWNLOAD)

RIDING ON STATUS: THE STABLES AT HOUGHTON BY GILES WORSLEY

WHO DESIGNED HOUGHTON? BY JOHN HARRIS

HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK – I: THE SEAT OF THE MARQUESS OF CHOLMONDELEY BY JOHN CORNFORTH

HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK – II: THE SEAT OF THE MARQUESS OF CHOLMONDELEY BY JOHN CORNFORTH

* * Subscribe to Country Life; Get Country Life on IPad