Beyond King’s Mistress: Henrietta Howard and Marble Hill
Henrietta Howard, Countess of Suffolk, left an exquisite legacy to her extraordinary life. Born in 1689, she displayed remarkable resilience, overcoming early hurdles such as the loss of her parents and financial constraints. Her journey was significantly influenced by her marriage to Charles Howard. Beyond her connection with the King, Henrietta cultivated relationships with literary luminaries like Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, and John Gay, showcasing her role as an arts patron. While Howard’s history as the King’s mistress is, widely known, recent restoration efforts at Marble Hill, situated serenely along the river Thames in Twickenham, shine a light on her story. These efforts explore her early marriage and ascent within Georgian society.
The garden’s revival, partially envisioned by Charles Bridgman, adds a botanical dimension to her legacy. Marble Hill itself stands as a testament to neo-Palladian architecture, influenced by renowned Italian architect Andrea Palladio. Crafted by Howard, the villa provided respite from the bustling atmosphere of 18th-century London. The architectural composition blends classical elements with Howard’s unique perspective. Wendy Monkhouse, Senior Curator at English Heritage will explore her creation and her journey through early 18th century life at court, and her role as a gifted patron.
Wendy Monkhouse has wide ranging curatorial experience and currently works as Senior Curator (South) for English Heritage, where she has curatorial responsibility for 140 sites. She has worked extensively for the National Trust, historic house museums and as an independent curatorial consultant. She has a PhD in Egyptian Archaeology from University College London, is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and a Trustee of the Freud Museum.