Built in 1778-81 for Thomas Harley, son of the 3rd Earl of Oxford, Berrington Hall is one of the few masterpieces of the architect Henry Holland's to survive intact.
The mansion is in fact a villa with a grand Ionic portico. The interiors are characteristic of Holland’s refined Louis XVI manner, many containing mythological references to the marriage of Harley’s daughter Anne to George, the eldest son of Admiral Rodney, one of the most distinguished naval commanders of the day.
The severity of the red standstone exterior belies the delicacy of the neo-classical interior, which contains elegant chimney pieces, plasterwork and one of holland's most sophisticated experiments in space, light and colour; the Staircase hall. This impressive staircase shown above with bronze balustrading in the staircase hall is a Piranesian succession of sweeping arches beneath a great faceted dome.
The mansion is open to view. Unfortunately the first floor of the mansion is currently closed to visitors but will be reopening very soon with a new exhibition and installation that focuses on the life of Ann Bangham, the wife Thomas Harley. However come and explore the ground floor of the main mansion, with its elegant reception rooms, then step below stairs and discover the Servants Quarters and get a taste for how they would have lived.
From 1 May 2018 we will also be opening the first floor with a new exhibition, 'A dress fit for a King', which showcases the original dress of Thomas Harley's wife, Ann Bangham. There will also be a new installation, 'Eye am She' by Herefordshire artist Lorna Brown, who offers us a new perspective of the life of Ann Bangham and her time spent at Berrington.
Unfortuntely the main steps upto the front door and internal staircases make the house unsuitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs.
The hall is set amidst a park with an artificial 14-acre lake laid out in 1780 by the landscape designer ‘Capability Brown’, who was also Holland’s partner and father-in-law.
As well as this, we have been exploring Brown's influence on Berrington's garden layout. We have found that Berrington has a rare design to its Walled garden which is a unique Brownian design.
This has sparked the beginning of The Walled Garden and Pleasure Grounds Restoration Project in the garden and the installation of contemporary art piece, 'Look! Look! Look!' by Heather and Ivan Morison. Supported by Trust New Art and Arts Council England, this has been an opportunity to encourage people to explore the gardens. You can read more about this in the article below.