Thomas Wright of Durham (1711-1786) at Halswell

Part Three:  The Rockwork Screen, or Grotto

Halswell: The Grotto (or Rockwork Screen) of c. 1754.

Halswell: The Grotto (or Rockwork Screen) of c. 1754.

The history, purpose, later uses and relative obscurity of this fascinating feature makes it one of the most interesting of the eighteenth-century architectural additions to Halswell by Sir Charles Kemeys-Tynte.

William Kent (1685-1748) was England’s first great landscape designer and his influence throughout the eighteenth-century was immense. In many ways he was a man before his time but his insights into the Arcadian Landscape were taken up by other great designers who came after him, such as Capability Brown (1716-1783). His work on such grottos as those at Burlington House and Rousham had a direct influence upon Halswell’s Grotto which served as a dam, grotto and, originally, a water cascade.

William Kent’s 1738 cascade for Lord Burlington at Chiswick House, London.

William Kent’s 1738 cascade for Lord Burlington at Chiswick House, London.

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Halswell’s Baroque Wing

Development seen through historic images from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Halswell Baroque north wing, c. 1710

Halswell Baroque North Wing, dated 1689. Painting c.1710

Halswell Formal Gardens c. 1710.jpg

Formal Gardens, c.1710, by the same hand. The high redbrick walls, gate pillars with armorial beasts, fountain and formal layout were all demolished during the 1740’s as was the rectangular Banqueting House of c. 1690 in the centre ground which was gone by the mid-eighteenth century to make way for the circular Rotunda of 1755.

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