Distinguished to Eccentric: Norfolk Country Houses
For centuries, Norfolk’s wide-open skies, unspoilt coastline, and rich and beautiful agricultural land has inspired writers and poets, artists, and designers, as well as architects and builders.
Join architectural historian Oliver Gerrish on an enchanting visual journey through Norfolk’s rich architectural heritage. From the Jacobean splendors of Blickling Hall, believed to be the birthplace of Anne Boleyn, to the early Palladian elegance of Raynham Hall, possibly influenced by Inigo Jones’ circle, and for 400 years the seat of the Townshend family.
When one thinks of Norfolk, two of the grandest private houses in England immediately come to mind: Houghton and Holkham Hall. More than a country house, Holkham, designed by William Kent and Lord Burlington for the Earls of Leicester, can be described as a symmetrical Palladian palace. The sublime grandeur continues inside in the Marble Hall, which was modelled on a Roman basilica, with steps leading to the impressive State Rooms on the piano nobile.
The other neo-Palladian Norfolk ‘palace’ is Houghton Hall, one of England’s most beautiful stately homes designed by Colen Campbell and James Gibbs, with lavish interiors by William Kent. Both of these stately homes were built to reflect the wealth, taste, collections, and power of its inhabitants. Oliver will also examine private Norfolk houses from the 19th and 20th century. One from the Arts & Crafts movement is E.S. Prior’s 17-bedroomed Voewood in High Kelling, Norfolk, which is now owned by a well-known book dealer.
Finally, we will see the quirky Edwardian Sennowe Park, remodeled by George Skipper in 1900-1907 for the grandson of the founder of Thomas Cook travel. Known for its imaginative design, barrel vaulted library, and Art-Deco style tiling, the house is rarely on view.
Oliver Gerrish, Historian and Author
Oliver Gerrish has a Master’s degree in Architectural History from the University of Cambridge. He is a trustee of the Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust and helped to found their Architecture Awards. For over 10 years he was actively involved with The Georgian Group, for whom he re-founded and successfully led the Young Georgians from 2002-2016.
He was one of the youngest feature writers for Country Life, and has written for The Georgian magazine and reviews for House and Garden and others. He has lectured nationally on subjects ranging from the masters of the Arts and Crafts to the role country houses play in the lives of younger people. He regularly organizes tours of historic buildings throughout Britain for private clients and charities.
You can follow him on Instagram – @archmusicman