Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Downton, Tutankamun and the Houses of Parliament


You may ask what on earth these three things have in common…. Well, I will tell you.

Like a good student of architecture, I was attempting to fill in my architectural dictionary yesterday and came across a rather interesting fact involving the film location of the ever popular 20th C drama and the Houses of Parliament.

It is now common knowledge that Downton Abbey is expertly played by Highclere Castle in Hampshire, definitley not near Ripon, and home to the Carnarvon family whose ancestor discovered Tutankamum in 1922.

What is not so common knowledge is that the external façade of Highclere was remodelled for the 3rd Earl of Carnarvon from 1839-42. Originally of a more plain and austere Georgian appearance it was modified into the romantic Victorian Gothick style that we see today by Sir Charles Robert Barry.

The same Sir Charles Robert Barry who, along with A G W Pugin, designed the external appearance of the Houses of Parliament after the original was destroyed by fire in 1834.

Barry was inspired by the Renaissance architecture of Italy and became known for working in a Renaissance-based style that became known in the 19th century as Italianate architecture.

However, at Highclere he kept to the traditional British style of Jacobethan, but could not help some European influence creeping in; such as the four corner towers, which are slimmer and more refined than those belonging to other Jacobethan houses in the area.

So there you have it, an unlikely connection between an Egyptian boy king, a 20th C based ITV drama and the architect to one of the country’s most recognizable buildings, but a connection nonetheless.

No comments:

Post a Comment