Thursday, April 12

ICKWORTH HOUSE, Suffolk. UK



"I have now got to my centre of rest...Sweet Ickworth"
- John, 1st Earl of Bristol.

Even as you approach Ickworth house it is easy to understand the Earl's comment and obvious passion for the land laid out by Capability Brown. The 1st Earl of Ickworth adapted a modest farmhouse at Ickworth which was known as Ickworth Lodge and remained the family home until 1829.

The 4th Earl-Bishop had very different ideas and, inspired by the monuments of Rome, he began to build what is now known as Ickworth House. The unique central rotunda and curvy wings reveal Frederick's eccentric personality and would provide, not only a family home within the rotunda, but the wings would become a showcase for his treasures collected on his Continental trips of 30 years. The foundations for today's Ickworth were laid in 1795 and the rotunda was virtually finished when the Earl -Bishop passed away in 1803, sadly he would never see his dream complete.

"The house...The house...The house..."
- Frederick, 4th Earl of Bristol, written on his sick bed in Naples in 1796.


It was the Earl-Bishop's Son, 1st Marquess of Bristol who completed the house with the help of architect John Field, adapting his Father's plans to suit his family requirements. The last major alterations were made to the house in 1909-1911 when the 4th Marquess commissioned A.C. Bloomfield to remodel the entrance hall and staircase. The property passed to the National Trust in 1956.



Ickworth had a wonderful feel about it, children played, families laughed and had spread their picnics across the lawn in front of the house. Unrestricting, inviting and decadent. Rich yet homely and bulging with character and interest. I found myself repeating the words 'stunning' and 'beautiful' over and over again, room to room, treasure to treasure.

The Pompeian room was completed in 1879 when the 3rd Marquess employed Penrose & Grace to decorate it. The scheme is based on Roman wall-paintings uncovered in 1777 at the Villa Negroni on the Esquiline Hill in Rome. These had a special connection with the family because the Earl-Bishop had purchased some of the original frescoes while in Italy at the time of their discovery. It's a remarkable room within a remarkable house.

Joan and I stayed at the house, managing to leave just enough time for a coffee in the orangery before closing. The grounds remained open so we ventured towards the church we had seen on the brochure map.

St Mary's church sits just behind Ickworth house, well hidden by one of the large trees that decorate the land. Unfortunately it is now redeemed 'unsafe', the one feature of Ickworth now inaccessible to the public. We took the opportunity to rest a while and sat upon the grass opposite to create what would be our final sketch at Ickworth House.



We made our way back to the car through the tree-lined pathway, squirrels busying around us as Ickworth disappeared behind the foliage. Our drive back was full of conversation and the roads were surprisingly clear for a bank holiday Sunday.

How lucky we are to have seen such wonderful places in the company of such treasured friendship.

19 comments:

Leslie said...

wow, Anita- your drawings are as lovely as usual, and your narration has me feeling as if I were there. Thank you!

Anita said...

Much appreciated Leslie - Thankyou!

Africantapestry said...

An exquisite drawing of Sweet Ickworth! And I have to admire your handwriting there as well.
Great sketches and nice reading.
Ronell

phthaloblu said...

Love your drawings. The door is wonderful! I feel like I've been on a tour reading your commentary.

Anonymous said...

Ended up staying at Laura's from Tues am through to lunch time Thurs - then straight to class. So here we are Fri pm before I get to see your blogs of our trip in Suffolk. I was so pleased with the results of my work, once I had added ink and colour and a few notes. ... but now I know my script both words and character will never live up to your standard of presentation. So great girly, great work. Love the way the lamps worked out and the church doorway. Joannie

Carole said...

Beautiful! I particularly like the church door.

SCquiltaddict said...

Lovely drawings...makes me want to pack my bag and get over there asap...

Emma said...

I really love the style of your drawings. It looks like a beautiful place.

Dave said...

Wow, you have been busy while I've been away! All these sketches are lovely.

Anita said...

Thankyou Ronell!

Anita said...

So pleased you enjoyed my visit to Suffolk Phthaloblu, thankyou for your kind comments!

Anita said...

Aww thankyou so much Joannie...Can't wait to see your sketches with colour added.

Anita said...

Thankyou Carole!

Anita said...

Thankyou Margaret!

Anita said...

Thankyou Emma...It was beautiful!

Anita said...

Hey, welcome back Dave...Thankyou!

E-J said...

Lovely stuff. That table design is so vibrant - did you use Inktense, or something else? Each of your blog entries is a major sightseeing expedition! Wish I could see Joan's sketches too.

Anita said...

Hi E-J, I believe I used normal watercolour on the table top design. I think they were my St Petersburg set.
Yes, wouldn't it have been nice to see Joans work too, I did set her a blog up some time ago but she hasn't had the time to take a good look at it and get to grips with it as yet - Shame, I'll have to give her a little push! ;)
Hope you are well, we are at Mepal outdoor centre 10-2 tomorrow (18th) if you want to pop down with your sketchbook...Lots for Melody to do and see there too!

buryblue said...

I have really enjoyed looking at your drawings of Ickworth. I am lucky to live on the doorstep and regular run around the grounds of the park.

Apparently inspiration for the oval rotunda house was also drawn from Belle isle a house built on an island at Lake Windermere in 1774 see link http://www.thecumbriadirectory.com/Tourist_Attractions/Historic_Houses_and_Buildings/Belle_Isle_Round_House/Belle_Isle_Round_House.php

If you visit again please venture further on down the hill from St Mary's Church to the Canal Lake. It was near here towards the vineyards and the summer house that the original farmhouse was adapted by the 1st Earl of Ickworth. I believe the summer house is the only remaining building relating to the original farmhouse from this period . An artists drawing of the farmhouse which dates from 1703 a full hundred years before the Rotunda House would be wonderful.