Friday 4th September 2015
Today we said farewell to Cambridge and its students and bikes and travelled north on the M1 to York and the city of Harrogate stopping off at the beautiful Georgian home of Harewood on the way. Harewood is the ancestral home for 300 years of the Lascelles Family and their descendants are still the Earls of Harewood and live in the house today.
Harewood was built in the C17th by architects John Carr and Robert Adam with Adam playing the key role creating a beautifully balanced Georgian Building with ceilings in his typical restrained and delicate style. The furniture is all by Chippendale and designed specifically for the house. The grounds are vintage Capability Brown and the major additions in the C19th by Sir Charles Barry have been very sympathetically aligned with Adam’s original work.
This is a place of wonderful planning with an amazing bird park of rare birds, terraced formal gardens, a glorious deer park and vast lawns, parkland, arboretum and forest, a large lake, children’s playgrounds, a second hand bookshop, tea shops and restaurants, and an early C15th estate church on the property.
The house has a vast art collection including two works by Turner who came there to paint and works by both Jacobo and Giovanni Bellini.
Harewood holds a massive collection of fine books especially on art history, theology and gardening spread over four large rooms,
There are many unique collections such as Meissen porcelain of a particular period and owls.
A feature of this house is that one of the Lady Lascelles was Mary the third daughter of George V and his wife Mary. This royal connection is evident in many gatherings at the house and there is a photographic trail of some interest. In particular during World War 1 Mary launched an appeal to send every British soldier and sailor a Christmas gift which was extraordinarily successful and went out to many thousands of English servicemen.
A feature of the house is the purpose designed furniture produced by Chippendale
A defining feature of the house is the ceiling work by Robert Adam. Josiah Wedgwood is said to have been influenced by Adam’s designs in his porcelain work. Four ceilings below.
The Long Gallery on the right has a stunning art collection on display
We have seen many stately homes on this trip and previously but the uniform excellence of Harewood is hard to beat. There is a living warmth in the house which is magnified by the presence of the work of many current artists including Jacob Epstein as well as the personal work of the previous Earl who was a film director and manager of events including the Edinburgh Music Festival. Everything is artistically and elegantly presented and nothing is over the top. There is no doubt that the elegance of Chippendale furniture and the calming effects of Adam’s design work make a huge impact on this house.
The Church of All Saints was built in 1410 by the Aldburgh family of the former Harewood Castle and contains ancient tombs of the Gascoigne family. It was remodelled in “Gothic style with stained glass windows in 1863. It is still consecrated but it is no longer used on a regular basis.
stone Norman font and tombs of Gascoigne family dating to 1410