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23 May 2019Newby Hall and Gardens Ripon North Yorkshire
04 October 2018Lincoln Cathedral

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Newby Hall and Gardens Ripon North Yorkshire
Thursday 23 May 2019

“This was the finest house I saw in Yorkshire”        -Celia Fiennes-1697.

This was our first visit of the year, so having made an early start we left with high expectations of what was to come.  It can truly be said that we were not disappointed.  As the coach travelled through the estate and farm-land we could see the house stretching in front of us. Was this really a private family home lived in from 1748, when Newby Hall all those years ago was bought by the present owner’s ancestor through a legacy from his uncle?

After welcome refreshments and introduction in the Entrance Hall our V.I.P. private guided tour began.  We learnt that the house had needed total restoration and ongoing redecoration whilst keeping a certain degree of privacy for the family when it was left to the present family occupiers in 1960.

We were guided through the house, marvelling at the exquisite plasterwork  and decorative coloured motifs and panels by the skilled stuccoist Joseph Rose used in Robert Adam’s neo-classical designs.  We saw many fine paintings and much  Chippendale furniture (some unique designs) in the main rooms of the house - dining room, library and especially in the tapestry room which displayed the finest furniture and furnishings to rival that of other stately homes in England.   Upstairs we saw the fourposter bedrooms decorated and furnished with the finest prints and more Chippendale furniture to give us a glimpse of the elegance that was seen as high fashion for ladies’ bedrooms and boudoirs in the 1770’s.

We listened to our two guides explaining the history  and  influences of the past owners. They told us that in 1766 William Weddell, third Lord Grantham, became the prominent figure to make the changes that we see today.  His passion and interest in art, architecture and culture of the Ancient Greeks and Romans transformed Newby into a show case of the era . Robert Adam’s (1723-1792)  and John Carr’s (1723-1807)  work and influence are seen throughout the House in all its magnificent splendour.

As we left the house through the Statue Gallery we were told that Newby holds the finest collection of ancient Roman statuary in private hands in Britain.  The gallery, in the style of a Roman house, showed Adam’s concept of displaying classical sculpture.

After an excellent soup and sandwich lunch we toured the gardens in the sunshine. It was too early in the year to see the impressive herbaceous borders in bloom, but we did have the benefit of seeing  the colourful rhododendrons and many other spring-time blossoms.  We walked under the amazing  laburnum archway covered with its abundance of yellow flowers, having been told that today was the best day of the year to see them. 

I am happy to say that a great day was enjoyed by all.

Diana Fearnehough - Visits Secretary