DiCamillo Companion
England

Croome Court (Crome Court) (Croome Park)

  • House & Family History: The house was designed by Capability Brown, a rare example of the famous landscaper designer's architectural work. Croome Court has been visited by George III, Queen Victoria, and George V. During World War II Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch royal family were evacuated here after the Nazis overran Holland. Croome Court was sold by the Coventry family in 1948 and later became a training center for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the Transcendental Meditation Society. They sold up in 1998 and proposals were made to convert the house into flats and offices; this did not come to pass, and Croome stood empty for 12 years. With the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the house was acquired in 2007 by the Croome Heritage Trust, who spent £4 million on restoration and opened it to the public on September 26, 2009.

    Collections: The Tapestry Room, designed by Robert Adam in 1763 for George Coventry, 6th Earl of Coventry, featured tapestries woven by the Royal Gobelins Manufactory in Paris expressly for the room between 1763 and 1771. Circa 1902 the tapestries and seat furniture (including a set of six Neoclassical armchairs designed in 1769 by Adam) from the Tapestry Room were sold by the 9th Earl of Coventry to a Parisian dealer. The Samuel H. Kress Foundation acquired the Tapestry Room's furniture, tapestries, chair rails, doors, chimneypiece, and floors in 1949 and donated them to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1958. The Croome Court Room that the Met created features an Axminster carpet that was woven after a 1770s design by Adam for the Library at Harewood House. In addition, the Met also has in its collection a circa 1770-80 Adam-designed candelabrum that was made for Croome. The Tapestry Room at Weston Park, Shropshire, houses a superb set of Gobelins tapestries on the theme of "The Love of the Gods" that were commissioned for Weston (or possibly the family's London house) by Sir Henry Bridgeman in the 1760s. The set is extremely similar to the Met's Gobelins tapestries from Croome; however, Weston's are in better condition and more brilliant than the Met's. A fine set of bookcases from Croome, made for the 6th Earl of Coventry, circa 1763, are now in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. The 6th Earl also acquired a rare pair of Sèvres potpourris in the form of snail shells in Paris in the 1760s; this pair is one of only five known to exist today and was sold from the Croome Estate in 1991 (the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has, in its Forsyth Wickes Collection, one of the existing five sets -- in turquoise or bleu céleste -- of the Sèvres snail shell potpourris). Historians believe that Robert Adam intended a classical relief to be placed in the plaster frame over the chimneypiece of the Dining Room in Lansdowne House, London; however, this was never accomplished and the frame remained empty. A Neoclassical grisaille painting from the Gallery of Croome Court was found, in 1959, to be almost the perfect size, and placed in the frame, where it remains today (the Dining Room from Lansdowne House is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art). The Philadelphia Museum of Art has in its collection a pier glass and table of carved and painted pine that was designed by Adam and made in 1765 (carved by Sefferin Alken) for Croome Court (see photo in "Images" section). Also at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a Neoclassical pedestal designed by Adam for Croome Court.

    Comments: Croome Park has been described as one of most influential landscapes in Europe.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The landscaping at Croome is considered Capability Brown's first complete landscape design. The grounds are famous for the many follies designed by Robert Adam. During World War II the estate was broken up, part of it becoming an RAF airfield. The National Trust acquired 670 acres of the park in 1996 with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

    Chapel & Church: A medieval church was demolished to make way for the Grade I-listed St. Mary Magdalene Church, built in 1763 to the designs of Capability Brown for the 6th Earl of Coventry. The Church has interiors by Robert Adam.

  • Architect: Lancelot Brown

    Date: 1751-52
    Designed: House and grounds for 6th Earl of Coventry (probably followed Sanderson Miller's design for the house)

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    Architect: James Wyatt

    Date: 1794-1801
    Designed: Follies, including Panorma Tower (1801) and Doric Lodge (demolished 1877), for 6th Earl of Coventry.

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    Architect: Robert Adam

    Date: Beginning 1760
    Designed: House interiors, Orangery, Dunstall Castle (1766), Temple Greenhouse (1763), and Owl’s Nest (1770-72) for George Coventry, 6th Earl of Coventry.

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  • Vitruvius Britannicus: C. V, pls. 29, 30, 1771.

    John Bernard (J.B.) Burke, published under the title of A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, among other titles: 2.S. Vol. II, p. 8, 1855.

    John Preston (J.P.) Neale, published under the title of Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, among other titles: Vol. V, 1822.

    Country Life: XXXVII, 482 plan, 1915.

  • Title: City Dwellings and Country Houses: Robert Adam & His Style
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 1982
    Reference: pgs. 12, 13
    Publisher: New York: Cooper-Hewitt Museum
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Light Softback

    Title: Period Rooms in the Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Author: Peck, Amelia; Parker, James; Rieder, William; et al
    Year Published: 1996
    Publisher: New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    ISBN: 0810937441
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: National Trust Magazine, The
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: Autumn 2000
    Publisher: Swindon: The National Trust
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Magazine

    Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 1995
    Reference: pg. 1118
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300072074
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Georgian: The Magazine of the Georgian Group, The
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: January 1999, pg. 9
    Publisher: London: The Georgian Group
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Magazine

    Title: Historic Houses (magazine)
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: Spring 1999, pgs. 16-17
    Publisher: London: Historic Houses Association
    ISBN: 0260-8707
    Book Type: Magazine

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade I

  • "Buildings That Shaped Britain" (2006 - TV documentary series by Simon Thurley, episode 6, "Countryside Revolution").
  • Past Seat / Home of: George William Coventry, 6th Earl of Coventry, 1760-1809; George William Coventry, 7th Earl of Coventry, 1809-31; George William Coventry, 8th Earl of Coventry, 1831-43; George William Coventry, 9th Earl of Coventry, until 1930; George William Reginald Victor Coventry, 10th Earl of Coventry, 1930-40.

    Current Ownership Type: Charity / Nonprofit

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction

    Ownership Details: Owned by Croome Heritage Trust; the gounds are owned by the National Trust; the NT manages both the house and grounds.

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01905-371-006

    Fax: 01905-371-090

    Email: croomepark@nationaltrust.org.uk

    Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk

    Historic Houses Member: No