These two magnificent houses, rebuilt c1725-50, both Palladian in style, have sumptuous interiors filled with much original furniture, artwork, textiles and tapestries.
Houghton was built by the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, and Holkham by Thomas Coke, later Earl of Leicester. Both houses were designed by several architects, with the designer William Kent playing a large part in their decoration. These houses are still privately owned by the families who built them (the Marquess of Cholmondeley at Houghton and the Earl of Leicester at Holkham), are open to the public and make rewarding visits.
The lecturer, Caroline Knight, is an architectural historian who trained at the Courtauld, lectured at the V&A and has written several books on architectural and social history.
Session One: A brief introduction to the Palladian style, followed by the building of Houghton Hall, 1725-30, by Sir Robert Walpole, Prime Minister 1721-1742.
Session Two: The influence of Thomas Coke’s Grand Tour in Italy, and the building of Holkham Hall, 1735-60, and its landscape setting.
Session Three: The later history of both houses, looking at agricultural developments, tourism, and the current use of these great houses.
The cost for the day will be £35 a head, including coffee and biscuits and a light lunch