Houghton Hall


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September 14th 2018
Published: September 15th 2018
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The stairs behind me were once sold off to pay debts.
Sunshine and a clear calendar induced me to amble over to Houghton Hall in the western part of Norfolk County. I had seen the home featured on several history programs, and was eager to walk the estate myself.

A grand Palladian pile, Houghton was built in 1722 by Sir Robert Walpole, England’s first “Prime” Minister (”the first among equals”). He achieved this singular feat by gaining the trust of German-born George I, primarily by being the only official with whom the king could communicate (they used Latin!)

An avid acquirer, extravagrant host and Trumpesque show off, Walpole filled the house with sumptuous furnishings and fabrics, precious objets d’art, and more than 400 Old Masters paintings - including works by Van Dyck, Poussin, Holbein, Rubens, Rembrandt and Velázquez. However, he and his heirs were notorious for ostentatious spending (also for not paying), and eventually a grandson was forced to settle the huge debts accumulated across the generations. He accomplished this by selling off the exterior staircase(!) and a collection of 800 paintings to Catherine the Great of Russia. A descendant, Lady Sybil (quite the pistol herself), restored the staircase in the 1900s as a memorial to her husband, but only
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The Marble Hall (entry) was designed to impress.
one painting has made its way home from Russia.

Houghton Hall is the current residence of David Cholmondeley (“Chum’ly”), seventh Marquess of Cholmondeley, and his wife.

The grounds were hosting an exhibit of Damien Frist sculptures. He apparently has an anatomical fixation: lots of figures were “peeled back” to show underlying structure. I much preferred the permanent art in the gardens, especially the “Waterflame” fountain, of which I posted a video on FB (I don’t know how to import here - files seem too large).

I hope my photos do this fabulous estate justice... look closely and you will see the Royal throne (when it’s not in use at Westminster Abbey, it lives at Houghton Hall, since Cholmondeley is the Queen’s Grand Chamberlain). There is also a somewhat melancholy portrait of Lady Sybil (the pistol) by John Singer Sargent.


Additional photos below
Photos: 24, Displayed: 23


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Sir Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister
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Laocoön and His Sons
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Lady Sybil’s chamber
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The valance top is 18 FEET from the floor!
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The silk wallpaper has no repeat (100’)
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Real gold leaf
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Dining room with beer tap in wall
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The Royal throne sits modestly along the wall in this small room.
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Lady Sybil by Sargent (the portrait behind hers was the only one recovered from Russia).
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From a distance
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Damien Frist sculpture
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Damien Frist sculpture
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Houghton’s white deer roam the estate
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A “Ha-Ha” is a retaining wall and ditch that prevents livestock from entering the planted gardens and eating the decor.
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Lunch in the stable block cafe (chili, salad and cheese scone).
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Post-prandial break
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Italian Garden
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French Garden
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Vegetable garden
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Vegetables


15th September 2018

I'm enjoying your rambles ever so much.
15th September 2018

Thanks!
I’m glad you like the big, Joan - it’s so nice when folks comment, so I know someone’s reading.... 😉
16th September 2018
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What great photos! I feel like I walked the grounds with you. So tell me, are you good doing this journey alone? How long will you be kitty sitting? Where to after this?
16th September 2018
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Solo
There’s a big difference between being alone and traveling solo... I love the latter, because of all the interesting people I see and meet, who I would otherwise miss, passing by talking to a companion.... That said, I do have an East Coast friend, Fae coming to stay for a few weeks. She’s joining me Sep 25, For the final few days of my pet sitting, and we’ll rent a car and head north to North Yorkshire coast, Scotland and the Lake District. Then we’ve booked a train trip to Paris, and might return to Cotswolds or even Wales before she returns home. I’ll continue westward, ending up in Ireland to visit two sets of friends in late October. That leaves me about three weeks to revisit loved spots or discover new ones (right now I’m looking at flat rentals in the Algarve...)
16th September 2018
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I'm glad you enjoy the solo travel life. I've been on tours alone with a captive audience of potential friends. Just enough to be alone or to be together with people. But I've never done what you're doing , except once for a week in Paris by myself after a tour. It sounds like you've got a nice combination of opportunities with friends coming in and visiting friends and time Solo in between. I am so jealous you're going to the Algarve ! I so love it there ! You've got a great agenda upcoming. Enjoy! And thanks for sharing.
16th September 2018

Enjoyed photos
19th September 2018
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Beautiful Sights
Amazing home and furnishings. I am puzzled why anyone would buy the outside stairs to help pay a debt. Curious! The interior shots were beautiful and the grounds were also so well cared for and maintained. Thanks for sharing your journeys. You are doing a great job blogging and photo journaling your adventures. We are at Black Butte right now, headed home tomorrow to pack for France as we are leaving on Saturday 9/22. See you on FB!! Hugs, Kier
19th September 2018
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Paris
Thanks for your continued encouragement and support, Kier! I’ll be in Paris 6-9 October... any chance?
19th September 2018
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Paris Rendezvous
Damn, we leave Paris on 10/6 in the morning at around 10:30 AM....no close and yet so far. Where are you staying in Paris? With Sylvie and Pascal??? That would be so cool. If so, please give them a hug from all three of us....Stacey, David and me. See you on FB!! Big Hugs, Kier
19th September 2018
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Merde
A close miss, indeed. My friend Fae and I are using a package tour, so won’t see Sylvia and Pascal (although I may sneak away from the Versailles trip to be on my own, and might be able to rendezvous with them...). Enjoy!!!

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