Castle Howard (1)

I don’t think I know anything architectural quite as exciting as the approach to Castle Howard: the way one feels the landscape begin to change and straighten out as one approaches from the York-Malton road and then the road descends steeply to the Carrmire Gate, which is hard to get through, and must always have been even in the days of a coach. And the Carrmire Gate is itself such a strange combination of authentic medievalism, so unlikely for the 1720s, and a sense of free, abstract design sensibility:-

Then the road climbs equally steeply up to the Pyramid Gate:-

I used to be cautious of treating Vanbrugh as having a theatrical sensibility, but what could be more straightforwardly theatrical in creating a ceremonial sense of arrival, which the Marlboroughs didn’t encourage at Blenheim ?

It’s a long time since I’ve walked it, but necessary in order to experience the full impact.


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