Dantedì! A Celebration of the life and work of the Father of the Italian Language

Posted: March 25th 2021

by Mac Graham

To celebrate Dante Day, find out about some incredible Dante manuscripts in Holkham’s collection and how important it is for us to send them on loan.

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Bath Tap..estries

Posted: March 09th 2021

by Katherine Hardwick, Collections Coordinator

So, you’ve heard of carpets in the bathroom, but what about tapestries? Learn more about Holkham’s opulent bathroom and the remarkable 18th century tapestries which decorate its walls.

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An Extraordinary Woman: Polly Fishburn

Posted: March 08th 2021

by Lucy Purvis - Archivist

This International Women’s Day, Holkham Archivist, Lucy, looks back at an extraordinary woman who broke the mould very early on at Holkham. Polly Fishburn first started working in Holkham Hall in 1813, but soon realised this role was not for her. Find out what she moved on to.

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Great masters of cabinet-making at Holkham Hall

Posted: March 04th 2021

by Guest Blogger - Dr. Claudio Cagliero, restorer and researcher

Within the art collections of Holkham Hall lies an often overlooked piece of furniture that validates a fundamental discovery in the field of the European cabinet-making of the18th Century. Dr. Claudio Cagliero shines a light on his recent findings and explains the link between a Norfolk Estate and one of the greatest Italian craftsmen of the 18th Century.

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How to support friends and acquire collections

Posted: February 18th 2021

by Katherine Hardwick, Collections Coordinator

Thomas William Coke (1754-1842) did a great many things for Holkham, particularly with regards to the wider estate and farmland. Generally, his contribution to the wonderful collection in the hall pales in comparison to that of his ancestor, Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester (1697-1759), who collected the vast majority of what is displayed in the State Rooms. However, Thomas William did add to the collection in a few, meaningful ways.

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Romance in the Air

Posted: February 12th 2021

by Lucy Purvis - Archivist

Holkham Archivist, Lucy, tells us more about Thomas William Coke’s (Coke of Norfolk) days as ‘le Bel Anglais’, and how a young Princess Louise caught his eye whilst on his Grand Tour in Italy. A nod to this fleeting romance, if we can even call it that, can be seen in the hall to this day.

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Jupiter caressing his wife, Juno. A cautionary tale for Valentine’s Day

Posted: February 12th 2021

by Dr Mac Graham, Librarian and Historian

Above the fireplace in the Green State Bedroom – the grandest bedchamber in the whole of Holkham Hall - is a very dramatic painting of Jupiter caressing Juno. Jupiter is the supreme ruler of the gods and they are ‘husband and wife’ (and, er, also twin brother and sister!) The mythological story being told here is full of twists and turns. So here is the short version for Valentine’s day.

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You Rang My Lord

Posted: January 25th 2021

by Katherine Hardwick, Collections Coordinator

One of the most evocative images of the Country House is of servants’ bells ringing in a hallway. Holkham was one of the earliest houses to install a mechanical system based on copper wires and springs. This system was overhauled in 1910 when the 3rd Earl of Leicester embarked on a monumental programme of modernisation and refurbishment in the Hall. This project included the redecoration of the family and servants’ rooms, refurbishment of the state rooms, installation of new plumbing, and (perhaps most importantly) bringing electricity to Holkham. At the same time, a new system of electric servants’ bells was installed in the Hall. Evidence of both sets of bells can still be seen in the Hall today.

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