‘Wentworth Woodhouse: The miracle of its survival’ with Peter Brown
Described by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner as ‘one of the greatest buildings of the Georgian Age, with interiors of exceptional value’, Wentworth Woodhouse is the product of one of England’s most significant Whig families, the Marquesses of Rockingham and Earls Fitzwilliam, who complemented the splendour of the house’s architecture with a magnificent assembly of contents.
It is home to furniture specifically designed and commissioned from the leading firms of the day, a unique group of sculpture, silver from the most famous makers and a superb collection of English paintings, notably by Van Dyck, Sir Joshua Reynolds and Stubbs.
Exactly 20 years ago, the Georgian Group mounted a concerted (and ultimately successful) campaign to secure the future of Wentworth Woodhouse as a registered charity and open to the public. The historic house is now administered by a newly-created preservation trust. It is appropriate, therefore, in this anniversary year, to celebrate the rescue of this important mansion and to reprise the way it appeared, prior to the abandonment of the house in the mid-twentieth century and the dispersal of the collections.
Using the family papers, now held at Sheffield Archive, drawings and early Country Life photographs, this illustrated talk looks to reimagine the splendour of this spectacular house and to highlight the challenges facing the new Trust.
The lecture will be given by Peter Brown MBE FSA, former Director of Fairfax House and of York Civic Trust, who has curated 14 exhibitions and recently published a book about the country houses of Yorkshire.
A glass of wine (or a soft drink) and canapés are included in the ticket price. There will be a bar to buy drinks on the night. Doors open at 6pm.
Thursday 13 December, 6.30pm-8pm
£20 per person
This lecture is named the Clifford Lecture, in memory of Clifford Newbold, who owned Wentworth Woodhouse and began the huge restoration project to save the house for the nation.