DiCamillo Companion
England

Newby Hall

  • Earlier Houses: Sir Edward Blackett demolished an earlier manor house in the late 17th century and replaced it with the current house.

    Built / Designed For: Sir Edward Blackett

    House & Family History: The manor of Newby was sold by the Crossland family to Sir Edward Blackett, MP, in the 1690s. Sir Edward demolished the original old manor house in 1697 and built a fine country house, very possibly designed by Christopher Wren, in the late 17th century (the attribution of the design to Wren was made by Daniel Defoe in his 1727 book, "Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain"). In the mid-18th century the Newby Estate was purchased by the Weddell family, whose most famous member, William Weddell (called "a dilettante of exceptional taste" by Christopher Hussey), formed the tremendous collection of classical sculpture and other works of art at Newby. Weddell engaged Robert Adam to make improvements, including the addition of two wings forming a forecourt on the east, and the conversion of the East Façade to the entry, complete with a new porch. The spectacular domed rotunda Sculpture Gallery (based on the Villa Madama in Rome, complete with a top-lit tribune) was also Adam's, as was the Tapestry Room, which contains a fine set of Gobelins tapestries (the Sculpture Gallery at Newby was the inspiration for the classical galleries at The National Gallery of Art's ground-breaking 1985-86 exhibition "The Treasure Houses of Britain" in Washington, DC). Adam's Dining Room was converted to the Library circa 1792. Since the popularity of the TV series "Downton Abbey," Newby has been suggested as one of the inspirations for the house and its fictional family; in the 18th century Newby was occupied by the lords Grantham (the 2nd Lord Grantham's portrait currently hangs in the Dining Room); and, of course, the closest town to Newby is Ripon, which features heavily in the world of Downton Abbey. Julian Fellowes did, in fact, go to school in Ripon, but he has said that "beautiful Newby" is "connected to Downton Abbey by coincidence, nothing more." Lord Fellowes said that he chose Earl of Grantham as the title for the Crawley family because, when he ran away from school, it was in Grantham, Lincolnshire, that he was apprehended by the police. During World War II Newby was one of four country houses chosen as an emergency seat of state for the royal family in the event of a German invasion. The town of Grantham, New Hampshire, is named after the 1st Lord Grantham (the title became extinct with the death in 1859 of the 3rd Lord Grantham, also 2nd Earl de Grey). Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was a frequent visitor to Newby.

    Collections: The walls of the Tapestry Room at Newby are covered with a set of Gobelins tapestries entitled "The Loves of the Gods" (from designs by François Boucher; see "Images" section) ordered in Paris in 1763 (one of only six sets made for English patrons). Thomas Chippendale was commissioned to provide the sofas and chairs in the French style for the room, the only known pieces of Chippendale furniture with their original upholstery. Newby contains an exceptional collection of classical sculpture which is housed in the magnificent Sculpture Gallery created to received it by Robert Adam. The star of the Sculpture Gallery was the 1st-2nd century AD Roman statue known as the Jenkins Venus (see "Images" section). The statue, then in the Barberini collection and known as the Barberini Venus, was purchased in 1763 by Gavin Hamilton, a Scottish connoisseur in Rome; he sold it to Thomas Jenkins, the English antiquities dealer and banker to the English community in Rome. It was from Jenkins (where the statue picked up its name) that William Weddell, in the midst of his Grand Tour, purchased the Venus in the spring of 1765 for Newby Hall. The undisclosed sum for which it changed hands this third time was reputedly the most ever paid for an antiquity in the 18th century. In 2002 the Venus was sold in London by Christie's to fund repairs to the Stableblock at Newby. The statue broke the world auction record for an antiquity, selling for £7,926,650. The Venus is today in the collection of Sheikh Saud-al-Thani, cousin of the emir of Qatar. A laser-made Carrara marble copy stands in the place of the original in the Sculpture Gallery at Newby. In June 2007 a Chippendale table worth an estimated £500,000 was stolen from Newby during a burglary; it was returned following a 2011 police raid and is now on view in rooms seen by the public.

    Comments: Pevsner said "Robert Adam's interiors at Newby are amongst the finest of their date anywhere in Europe." Christopher Hussey, writing of the Sculpture Gallery, said "It may be observed that Adam nowhere applied the neoclassical conception of spacemodelling into primary shapes with more moving success. The contrast between the sculpture galleries at Newby and Holkham succinctly illustrates the meaning of neo-classical."

  • Garden & Outbuildings: With the River Ure running through them, the gardens, which won the Christie's/HHA Garden of the Year Award in 1987, span 25 acres and contain famous double herbaceous borders (one of Europe's largest) and the National Collection of the Genus Cornus (dogwoods). The Grade I-listed Stable Block has been converted into offices, which houses 15 local businesses. Jaspar Latham's equestrian statue of Charles II was moved from the Stock Market, London (on the site of Mansion House) to the island on the Estate in 1779. An outbuilding on the Estate contains replicas of the British Crown Jewels. In the early 21st century a hydroelectric plant was installed on the River Ure to generate electricity for the House; the new plant occupies the site of a similar facility that was built in 1906 to provide power for the entire Estate. The Newby Estate today stands at 7,000 acres.

    Chapel & Church: The Church of Christ the Consoler (see "Images" section) was built in 1873 in memory of Frederick Vyner, a member of the family who was murdered by Turkish bandits near Athens while on his Grand Tour.

  • Architect: John Carr

    Date: Circa 1758-60
    Designed: Alterations, including addition of wings, for William Weddell.

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    Architect: Thomas Philip De Grey (Grey)

    Date: 1808
    Designed: Dining Room for himself, with assistance from John Shaw.

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    Architect: Christopher Wren

    Date: Circa 1685-90
    Designed: May have designed original house for Sir Edward Blackett, Bt.
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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    Architect: Robert Adam

    Date: 1767-74
    Designed: Remodeled interiors of South Wing (containing Sculpture Gallery) and Library and Lodges for William Weddell

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    Architect: William Belwood

    Date: Circa 1777
    Designed: Stables for William Weddell. Also heightened wings, and altered interiors.

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  • Country Life: xix, 90; xxxv, 878; Lxxxi, 658, 688, 714; cxxvii, 1428; corr. Cxxxv, 123; cLxv, 1802, 1918, 2006, corr. 2016; corr. cLxvi, 173; cLxviii, 2406; gardens, xix, 90; Lxxx, 344; Lxxxi, 658; cx xiii, 494, cxxv, 510; cxxviii, 184; cLxxvi, 598; 17/93.70; 29/97.54; redecoration letters, 31/97.75; gardens, 39/98.108;

  • Title: Telegraph, The (newspaper)
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: Apr 15, 2013 article by Joe Shute in the Lifestyle section
    Publisher: London: Telegraph Media Group Limited
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Newspaper

    Title: Newby Hall Guidebook - 2000
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 2000
    Reference: pg. 29
    Publisher: Norfolk: Jarrold Publishing
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Light Softback

    Title: Georgian Group Annual Report
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: 2002, pg. 7
    Publisher: London: The Georgian Group
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Light Softback

    Title: English Country Houses: Mid Georgian, 1760-1800
    Author: Hussey, Christopher
    Year Published: 1956
    Publisher: London: Country Life Limited
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Country Life Cumulative Index: Volumes I to CXCIII to December 1999
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 2000
    Publisher: London: IPC Magazines Limited
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Light Softback

    Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - HARDBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 2008
    Reference: pgs. 52, 119, 225, 451, 1160
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 9780300125085
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: No Voice From the Hall: Early Memories of a Country House Snooper
    Author: Harris, John
    Year Published: 1998
    Publisher: London: John Murray
    ISBN: 0719555671
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Best Buildings of England, The
    Author: Pevsner, Nikolaus
    Year Published: 1986
    Publisher: London: Viking
    ISBN: 0670812838
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II

  • "The House of Eliott" (1991–94 - TV series). "Heirs & Graces" (1993 - TV series). "Mansfield Park" (2007). "Peaky Blinders" (2013 - BBC TV series). "Victoria" (2016 - TV series). "King Charles III" (2017 - TV movie, as Buckingham Palace).
  • Seat of: Richard Compton

    Past Seat of: Crossland family, 17th century. Sir Edward Blackett, 2nd Bt., late 17th-early 18th centuries. Weddell family, 18th century. Thomas Philip Robinson, 3rd Baron Grantham and 2nd Earl de Grey, 18th-19th centuries; Thomas Philip de Grey, Earl de Grey and Baron Lucas of Crudwell, 19th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01423-322-583

    Fax: 01423-324-452

    Email: info@newbyhall.co.uk

    Website: http://www.newbyhall.co.uk

    Awards: Christie's/HHA Garden of the Year Award 1986.

    Historic Houses Member: Yes