DiCamillo Companion

Harewood House (Gawthorpe Hall) (Harewood Castle)

  • Earlier Houses: Gawthorpe Hall, a large Elizabethan manor house built circa 1480, stood between Harewood House and the Stables; this house was completely demolished in 1773, once Harewood House had been completed. The ruins of the Grade I-listed Harewood Castle, built in the mid-12th century and occupied until the 16th century, are northeast of Harewood House.

    Built / Designed For: Edwin Lascelles, Lord Harewood.

    House & Family History: Harewood House is a testament to the business acumen of Henry Lascelles, an 18th century trader involved in commerce, including the slave trade, with the West Indies. So successful was Lascelles in his business ventures that he bought the Estate of Gawthorpe, between the present site of Harewood and the lake. Lascelles's son, Edwin, the 1st Lord Harewood, inherited Gawthorpe and the adjoining Harewood Estate on his father's death in 1753 and devoted his energies to creating on his new lands a grand country house estate. Edwin chose as his architect the young John Carr (of York), who created one of his masterpieces (the plan and exterior were substantially Carr's design, but the interior decoration of the principal rooms were completely the design of the famous Robert Adam and his brother John). Carr was also responsible for much of Harewood Village, the Stables, and the Temple of Venus (demolished). The architect used local millstone grit for the house exterior, and even the interior bricks and stucco came from Lascelles land. Carr created a house composed of a central block joined by single-story links to wings on either side. The front entrance is through a massive pediment supported on six Corinthian columns. Harewood cost £37,000 to complete, which is the equivalent of approximately £59 million in 2012 values, using the commodity labor value index. An interesting architecture footnote is that the design for The Marino Casino, Ireland's first Neoclassical building, was originally conceived as an end pavilion for Harewood House that was never built. Lascelles had a reputation as a man with a close eye on his purse-strings, but this did not stop him from commissioning Robert Adam to create his interiors, or hiring Thomas Chippendale to fill the House with exceptional furniture. Chippendale complained that by 1777 he had worked on Harewood for almost eight years and been paid next to nothing. However, the result of his endeavors, and those of Adam, created at Harewood one of the most undeniably superb examples of the English country house, with a simple, balanced design of classical elegance and symmetry. The interior is exquisite, containing one of the finest collections of Chippendale's work in a setting that is generally regarded as one of Adam's best. The work of these two classical masters is augmented by a fine display of paintings, including works by El Greco, Titian, Tintoretto, Gainsborough, and the ubiquitous Joshua Reynolds, in addition to some excellent examples of Sevres and Chinese porcelain. The classical symmetry of the original exterior design was altered by Sir Charles Barry in the 1840s, when an Italianate balustrade was added to the front and a third story piled onto the House, severely changing its classical symmetry (Barry was also responsible for the Terrace Garden below the South Facade). The garden gives access to the Terrace Gallery, today an art exhibition space in what was originally the Sub Hall, where a changing schedule of exhibitions and special events makes a variety of art accessible to visitors. By the early years of the 20th century the fortunes of the Lascelles family were at low ebb. In 1916, however, a lucky meeting changed the family fortunes: Henry, Viscount Lascelles, then a Grenadier on leave from his duties at the front during World War I, happened to meet his miserly uncle, the eccentric Marquess of Clanricarde, in London. The younger man shared a pleasant hour of conversation with his relation, and, when the marquess died some months later, he left his huge fortune to Lascelles. This same Henry Lascelles, later the 6th Earl, married Mary, The Princess Royal, daughter of King George V and Queen Mary. Between them, the 6th Earl and the princess royal initiated a program of restoration at Harewood, added to the collection of art, and opened the House to the public (the first royal house open to the public). The 7th Earl was the founding editor of "Opera" magazine and a former director of the English National Opera. The grand staircase from Pontefract Park, six feet wide, is today at Harewood. In 1988 the 7th Earl sold part of the Estate for £13 million to help fund the restoration of the House and gardens.

    Collections: The art collection includes Italian Renaissance art and paintings by Turner, El Greco ("Allegory"), Titian (Francis I), Tintoretto, Gainsborough, and Reynolds, in addition to excellent examples of Sevres and Chinese porcelain. The collection of Chippendale furniture, original to the House, is generally agreed to be the finest collection of Chippendale in the world. There is also a fine collection of 20th century art, most notably Jacob Epstein's colossal alabaster statue of Adam. The great Regency silversmith Paul Storr produced, 1812-13, a pair of silver-gilt (ormolu) copies of the Warwick Vase as part of a 50-piece dessert service commissioned by Edward Lascelles to commemorate his elevation to the peerage as the 1st Earl of Harewood. A 74-piece creamware (faience fine) dinner service made circa 1790-1800 by the French firm of Stone, Coquerel and Legros d'Anisy that shows transfer printed sepia scenes of churches and houses in Britain, as well as French scenes, is in the collection at Harewood (the British views were taken from the 1779 publication "Seats of the Nobility…" by W. Watts). The service was given by Queen Mary to her daughter, the Princess Royal, who was married to the 6th Earl of Harewood. Four of the plates (showing Wentworth Woodhouse, Harewood House, Glamis Castle, and Sandbeck) appeared in the seminal 1985-86 exhibition "The Treasure Houses of Britain" at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. In the December 5 and 9, 2012 sale, 36 pieces of the dessert service (showing French scenes) from the Stone, Coquerel service sold for £16,250. In 1972 Titian's painting "Death of Actaeon," which had been acquired in 1919 from the Earl of Brownlow, was sold via Christie's for £1,763,000 to The National Gallery, London, avoiding its planned sale to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Some contents were sold on July 2, 1985. In July 1986 a pair of girandoles by Thomas Chippendale, made for the Yellow Damask Drawing Room, were sold to an American party for £462,337. There was a Christie's sale of some contents on December 5 and 9, 2012 that made £4.6 million.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: Not content with finishing the house in grand fashion, the 1st Lord Harewood brought in Capability Brown to level the old house at Gawthorpe and landscape the Estate. This Brown did in his usual grand, sweeping style, creating an open vista of parkland dotted with carefully placed trees and paths to accent specific views. Prior to Brown's intervention, a stream had been dammed to create a large lake; today a walk skirts the edge of the lake, moving along a path shaded by overhanging trees, and ends at the Rose Garden, a profusion of color in the spring and summer months. There is also the Walled Garden, where for over 200 years vegetables have been grown for Harewood House. Carr of York hired Atkinson for work at the House, including the Gateway and farm buildings for the 1st Earl of Harewood, circa 1803. A waterfall spills over the dam below the lake, passing a rock garden replete with primulas, astilbes, hosta, and the water-loving gunnera, a giant member of the rhubarb family which grows to eight or nine feet each summer. Pride of place must go to the rhododendron, which grows in splendid profusion along the Lakeside Walk. Harewood is home to the popular Bird Garden, where visitors can see over 120 varieties of exotic birds, including many species that are under threat of extinction. Birds are housed in a natural environment as much as possible, with special areas set aside for cranes, penguins, tropical birds, flamingoes, Egyptian geese, and a variety of waterfowl, to name only a few. The Harewood Bridge was designed in 1771 by John Carr of York.

  • Architect: William Belwood

    Date: Circa 1765-70s
    Designed: Oversaw exeuction of Robert Adam's interior designs (circa 1765). Designed Stables, usually attributed to the Adam Brothers.

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    Architect: Peter Atkinson

    Date: Circa 1803
    Designed: Gateway and farm buildings for 1st Earl of Harewood

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    Architect: Charles Barry, Sr.

    Date: 1843-50
    Designed: Remodeled exteriors & interiors, including removal of the portico. Designed formal gardens, all for 3rd Earl of Harewood

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    Architect: John Carr

    Date: 1755-80
    Designed: Stables (1755-58), House (1759-71), Harewood Bridge (1771), Temple of Venus [demolished] (1780), all for Edwin Lascelles, later created Lord Harewood.

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    Architect: Lancelot Brown

    Date: 18th century
    Designed: Park

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    Architect: Robert Adam

    Date: 1765-71
    Designed: Interiors, modified Carr's work, for Edwin Lascelles, later Lord Harewood.

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    Architect: Herbert Baker

    Date: 1930s
    Designed: Rooms in the Adam Revival Style for Princess Mary

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    Architect: John Claudius Loudon

    Date: 19th century
    Designed: Garden

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  • Vitruvius Britannicus: C. V, pls. 23-28, 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. I, p. 69, 1854.

    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: XXXVI, 18 plan, 1918. LI, 243 plan, 1922.

  • Title: Treasure Houses of Britain, The - SOFTBACK
    Author: Jackson-Stops, Gervase (Editor)
    Year Published: 1985
    Reference: pg. 494
    Publisher: Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art (New Haven: Yale University Press)
    ISBN: 0300035530
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Warwick Vase, The
    Author: Marks, Richard; Blench, Brian J.R.
    Year Published: 1979
    Reference: pg. 22
    Publisher: Glasgow: Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries
    ISBN: 0902752073
    Book Type: Light Softback

    Title: Creating Paradise: The Building of the English Country House, 1660-1880
    Author: Wilson, Richard; Mackley, Alan
    Year Published: 2000
    Reference: pg. 243
    Publisher: London: Hambledon and London
    ISBN: 1852852526
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - HARDBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 2008
    Reference: pgs. 50, 77, 102, 118, 224, 225
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 9780300125085
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Disintegration of a Heritage: Country Houses and their Collections, 1979-1992, The
    Author: Sayer, Michael
    Year Published: 1993
    Publisher: Norfolk: Michael Russell (Publishing)
    ISBN: 0859551970
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade I

  • "King Ralph" (1991 - exterior and lawn used as place where King Ralph meets the Prime Minister). "Emmerdale Farm" (1996 onward - TV series, as Beckindale and Emmerdale). "Emmerdale: Don't Look Now! - The Dingles in Venice" (1999). "Bargain Hunt" (200? - TV game show series). "Diamond Geezer" (2005? - TV series). "Lost in Austen" (2008 - TV mini series, as Pemberley). "Death Comes to Pemberley" (2013 - TV mini series, as some of the Pemberley interiors). "Victoria" (2016 - TV series). "King Charles III" (2017 - TV movie, as Buckingham Palace). "Downton Abbey" (2019 - movie, as Harewood House).
  • Seat of: David Henry George Lascelles, 8th Earl of Harewood; Lascelles family here for over 200 years.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01132-181-010

    Fax: 01132-886-467

    Email: info@harewood.org

    Website: http://www.harewood.org

    Awards: Visitor Attraction of the Year, 1995. White Rose Awards Visitor Attraction of the Year, 2002

    Historic Houses Member: Yes