Houghton Hall back to its original glory

A work of art’ s destiny is often fascinating….

Sir Robert Walpole was the first prime minister of England in the mid-18th century, this keen politician who acquired an immense bulk fortune over the years was also a aesthete and lover of the arts. To decorate the walls of his grand Palladian house Houghton Hall he purchased the finest art collection of his days: Poussin, Lebrun, Rembrandt, Rubens, Murillo, Teniers, Velazquez, Veronese, Van Dyck, no less… but in 1779, his descendants were bankrupted. Unable the settle debts, they were forced to sell this extraordinary collection…The buyer was another fierce politician and art collector: Catherine the Great, the deal broker was James Christies ( from the now famous eponymous auction house) and this is how Sir Robert Walpole art legacy was sent to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg….

Houghton Hall current owner, David Rocksavage, Marquess of Cholmondeley has had the brilliant idea to bring back 70 pieces of the collection to their original home from May 19th to September 29th 2013. This unique exhibition inaugurated by the Prince of Wales – gives us a glimpse of Houghton Hall in its initial glory, it is very rare that state collection can return – even for a few months – to where it first belonged.

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Houghton Hall – photo credits Vanity Fair

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David Teniers – Kitchen

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Van Dyck – portrait of Sir Thomas Wharton

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Marrata – Pope Clement IX

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Rubens – Friar’s Head

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Rembrandt – Old woman

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Charles Lebrun – Daedelius and Icarus

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Esteban Murillo – Immaculate Conception

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Poussin – Holy Family

and many more…