Magazine article The Spectator

Houghton Revisited

Magazine article The Spectator

Houghton Revisited

Article excerpt

When the Marquess of Cholmondeley inherited Houghton Hall, the Palladian palace by Colen Campbell and James Gibbs, he started rootling through the cupboards and drawers.

In one d rawer, he found a t rea su re map - the original picture-hanging plan for the house, as built by his ancestor Sir Robert Walpole, Britain's first prime minister. The on ly problem wa s , he d idn't have the pictu re s any more - Wa lpole's ca shsta rved g rand son had f logged them to Cather ine the G reat in 1779, in a sale arranged by James Christie, founder o f the auct ion hou se .

Now the best pictures have been brought back, mostly from the Herm itage , in a show (unt i l 29 September) that is less an exhibition, more a recreation.

Room s , expres sly designed for the paintings, have been renovated to welcome back their old friends. …

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