November 2021

Study Day: Holkham and Houghton: Two Great Norfolk Houses

Welcome to The Arts Society Pewsey Vale
Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 10:30

Join us as we hear about these two magnificent houses, rebuilt c1725-50, both Palladian in style.

These two magnificent houses, rebuilt c1725-50, both Palladian in style, have sumptuous interiors filled with much original furniture, artwork, textiles and tapestries.
Houghton was built by the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, and Holkham by Thomas Coke, later Earl of Leicester. Both houses were designed by several architects, with the designer William Kent playing a large part in their decoration. These houses are still privately owned by the families who built them (the Marquess of Cholmondeley at Houghton and the Earl of Leicester at Holkham), are open to the public and make rewarding visits.
The lecturer, Caroline Knight, is an architectural historian who trained at the Courtauld, lectured at the V&A and has written several books on architectural and social history.

Session One: A brief introduction to the Palladian style, followed by the building of Houghton Hall, 1725-30, by Sir Robert Walpole, Prime Minister 1721-1742.

Session Two: The influence of Thomas Coke’s Grand Tour in Italy, and the building of Holkham Hall, 1735-60, and its landscape setting.

Session Three: The later history of both houses, looking at agricultural developments, tourism, and the current use of these great houses.


Mrs Caroline Knight

Architectural historian, trained at the Courtauld and specialising in 16th to 18th century English and Scottish architecture. Lecturer at the V&A on year courses and short courses, and lecturer for the Art Fund, and for the Royal Oak Foundation in the US. Researched and wrote a history of Kensington Palace. Contributed to a book on the Cecil family, and has written several articles on architectural and social history and the history of travel. Wrote London's Country Houses (2009). Contributed a chapter to a history of the Royal Academy (Yale, forthcoming).