Historic anniversaries at Holkham Hall

Holkham Hall, Norfolk, UK. Stately homes. Exhibitions at Holkham Hall
Holkham Hall. Credit: Tim Scrivener/Alamy

This year sees two landmark anniversaries at Holkham Hall in Norfolk, crucial to the evolution of the stately home and its gardens

In 2018 Holkham Hall in Norfolk marks both the 300th anniversary of the return of its former owner Thomas Coke, the first Earl of Leicester, from his Grand Tour of Europe and the 200th anniversary of the death of its landscape gardener Humphry Repton.

Opening on 25 March and running until 31 October 2018, Treasures and Trophies: The Making of a Gentleman and a Great House will explore the impact Thomas Coke’s six-year Grand Tour had on his vision for Holkham Hall.

The Palladian villa of Holkham Hall was built as a ‘temple of arts’ by Coke and his good friend William Kent between 1734 and 1764 (though they both died before its completion). Influenced by the properties he had seen on his travels, Coke built a home that would not have been out of place on the Italian Riviera and he filled it with the many paintings, statues and drawings he amassed on his travels.

Also celebrated this year is the bicentenary of Humphry Repton, a successor of the famous landscape architect Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and the man Coke’s descendent, Thomas William Coke, tasked with reimagining the pleasure grounds around Holkham’s lake.

Repton was known for producing Red Books of his plans for the grounds of some of Britain’s most magnificent stately homes and he produced the first of these books for Holkham in 1789.

Visitors to Holkham this year will be able to see for themselves the mark Repton left on the landscape, thanks to an interpretation panel in the park.

Entry to Treasures and Trophies: The Making of a Gentleman and a Great House is included in the general ticket price for Holkham Hall.