Antiquities at Castle Howard

Essay by Christopher Ridgway


Begun in 1699, Castle Howard grew into one of England’s grandest houses and in the course of the next century was filled with art collections that were the fruits of successive visits to Italy by later generations, who assembled an astonishing array of paintings, sculptures, antiquities, bronzes and furniture. Indoors the superimposing of architecture, painted decoration and sculpture makes it hard not to experience Castle Howard as a complete work of art; this vision is reinforced outdoors where the house sits in the centre of a designed landscape filled with classical monuments. Not only is Castle Howard a Grand Tour house par excellence, it is also a supreme example of a gesamtkunstwerk (fig. 1). During his lifetime the 3rd Earl of Carlisle decorated his new mansion with frescoes by Antonio Pellegrini, painted landscapes by Marco Ricci, Dutch flower pictures and English and Flemish tapestries, but the great art collections were built up by his son Henry Howard, the 4th Earl (1694–1758), and grandson Frederick, the 5th Earl (1748–1825).

Aerial view of Castle Howard

Figure 1.
Aerial view of Castle Howard, Photograph.

Digital image courtesy of Christopher Ridgway. (All rights reserved)

Like his father, who had travelled to Venice, Padua and Rome in 1690, Henry Howard (fig. 2), as the young Lord Morpeth (so termed until he succeeded his father as 4th Earl in 1738) visited Italy on his Grand Tour, first in 1714–15 and later in 1739–40. It is not known what, if any, treasures he acquired during his first tour as a young man aged twenty but this early visit evidently kindled his enthusiasm for Roman antiquities. Today the 4th Earl is best remembered for commissioning his brother-in-law Sir Thomas Robinson to complete the west wing of the house in the 1750s in a Palladian style. However, he was known among his contemporaries principally as a collector of gems and antiquities. Commenting on his acquisition of Cardinal Ottoboni’s gems in 1740, Horace Walpole called the 4th Earl ‘a great virtuoso’ and the quality of his gem collection (which was purchased by the British Museum in 1890) testifies to his deep connoisseurship.1 By the early 1740s travellers to Castle Howard were already singling out for praise the collection of antiquities in the house: ‘In the House are a vast profusion of Antiques, Bustos and Statues’, exclaimed one visitor in 1743, and a year later Philip Yorke remarked: ‘Its principal ornament is an elegant collection of antiquities: statues, busts, mosaic pavements and tables which the present Earl brought over from Italy’.2

circa 1756. Oil on canvas, 236 × 144 cm. Castle Howard.

Figure 2.
Thomas Hudson, Henry Howard, 4th Earl of Carlisle, wearing Garter Robes, circa 1756. Oil on canvas, 236 × 144 cm. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Mary Evans Picture Library/Castle Howard Collection (10239436). (All rights reserved)

During his visit to Italy Morpeth met the antiquary Francesco di Ficoroni who proved instrumental in supplying him with both gems and antique sculpture. After renewing their acquaintance during his second visit in 1739–40, Ficoroni combined the role of dealer with that of adviser. Six letters surviving in the Castle Howard archives, dated between July 1740 and April 1746, reveal Ficorini to be negotiating assiduously on the 4th Earl's behalf for statues, busts, coins, intaglios, drawings, ivories, bronzes, mosaics and urns.3 As was customary, these were shipped to England via the port of Livorno and a bill submitted by Ficoroni in October 1740 detailed the costs of restoration, packing, shipping, duty and, of course, the objects themselves: these included two octagonal inlaid marble tables in black and yellow, a figure of Cupid, an alabaster-draped bust of Poppea, a head of Silenus and a ‘laurel-crowned head of Jove or some philosopher’. The bill totalled more than 15,000 scudi (fig. 3).4 Carlisle was a discerning collector and the quality and cost of the items on offer mattered. Much of Ficoroni’s correspondence discusses the restoration of various pieces and in a letter of 10 July 1745 he wrote that Carlisle’s offer of 150 scudi for a statue of Antoninus Pius was too low, for the owner would accept ‘no less than 200’. The haggling for the Antoninus rumbled on through July until in another letter Ficoroni declared it was no use continuing the transaction.5 However, it is likely that some agreement was eventually reached with Carlisle, Ficoroni and the unidentified owner, since there are two busts of Antoninus Pius in the collection at Castle Howard, one antique and the other a later version (fig. 4).

Bill from Ficoroni to the 4th Earl of Carlisle for supply and shipping of antiquities

Figure 3.
Bill from Ficoroni to the 4th Earl of Carlisle for supply and shipping of antiquities, October 1740. Castle Howard (CHA, J12/11/14).

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

2nd century AD. Castle Howard.

Figure 4.
Bust of Antoninus Pius supplied by Ficoroni in 1740, 2nd century AD. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

Correspondence for this period between the 4th Earl and two other dealers in Rome also survives: seven letters from Michele Lopez Rosa between February 1740 and July 1747, and four letters from Belisario Amidei between February 1740 and July 1745.6 Once more these letters detail the acquisition of numerous pieces, including ‘a small picture representing a satyr in mosaic’, but Rosa’s correspondence also shows him urging Paolo Pannini to complete the six capricci that the 4th Earl had commissioned while in Rome.7 Unlike Rosa, Belisario Amidei was anxious not to work alongside Ficoroni whom he considered a rival, for in a letter of 6 February 1740 offering Carlisle four statues, he urged that ‘Your Lordship keep this matter hidden from these antiquarians, especially from Signor Ficoroni’. The figures on offer by Amidei were a bust of a Roman general or consul, a bust of Faustina the wife of Antoninus Pius, a statue of Bacchus and a mosaic of Galatea pulled across the sea by two dolphins (fig. 5).8 Contact between Amidei and Carlisle seems to have lapsed for several years until in July 1745 he wrote once more with the offer of six marble busts of Lucius Verus, Marcus Aurelius, Plautilla, Faustina, the young Commodus and Brutus.9

1st century AD. Mosaic panel. Castle Howard.

Figure 5.
Galatea and Dolphins acquired by the 4th Earl of Carlisle from Belisario Amadei, 1st century AD. Mosaic panel. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

Carlisle also corresponded with the Venetian antiquary and engraver Antonio Maria Zanetti, who kept him in touch with the affairs of other cognoscenti in Venice, including Baron Stosch and Joseph ‘Consul’ Smith.10 Most importantly it was Zanetti who procured several Canaletto paintings for Carlisle, and by the middle of the 1740s some forty to fifty Venetian views by Canaletto, Bellotto and Marieschi had been shipped to Castle Howard. Thus not only did the statues provoke admiration from visitors – Sir William Burrell, visiting in 1758, noted in addition to the ‘great number of busts’ the works of Pannini and Canaletto – but also the ‘variety of antique marbles disposed in tables exceeds any place in England’.11 Several years later, in 1772 Walpole also praised Carlisle’s tables as ‘the finest collection in the world’.12

The first detailed listing of the collection giving the locations of many of the pictures, sculpture, bronzes, paintings and items of furniture is found in the 4th Earl’s probate inventory of 1759 (fig. 6),13 which confirms the observation made by the Countess of Oxford in 1745 that statues and busts were ‘in every room’.14 At this date no single room was devoted to Carlisle’s assembly of antique sculpture, mainly due to the fact that the west wing, begun by Robinson in the 1750s, remained unfinished. Many of the larger pieces, however, were housed in the Great Hall, located in the corners, beside the fireplace and around the scagliola niche; the inventory records 9 statues, 8 busts and 2 urns but does not specify these pieces individually. In the adjacent Saloon there were a further 11 items including a pair of lions attacking bulls (fig. 7).15 A published description ten years later identified Marcus Aurelius, Bacchus, Ceres, Hygieia and Augustus among the pieces in the Hall, all of which are still in situ today.16 Other locations in the house included the Grand Cabinet at the western end of the south front also housing some of the 3rd Earl’s antiquities; at the eastern end was a similar chamber known as the Gallery, which contained mosaics, urns, medallions, columns, busts and statues.17

Castle Howard.

Figure 6.
Page from the probate inventory of the 4th Earl of Carlisle, 1759, listing antiquities in the Great Hall, Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

1st century AD. Castle Howard.

Figure 7.
Lion attacking a Bull, One of a pair, 1st century AD. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

With the building of Robinson’s west wing in 1750 the Grand Cabinet was remodelled as an ante-chamber to the Long Gallery, and when Sir Richard Sullivan visited in 1778 he identified the room filled with ‘antique bustos, urns, bronzes, sarcophagus’s, tables, and many other articles curious and well worthy of observation’.18 The decoration of the interior of the west wing was finished in 1812, when Charles Heathcote Tatham’s neo-classical scheme transformed the Long Gallery into a grand display area. Tatham’s published prospectus of his designs illustrated both the Museum and the Long Gallery filled with paintings and sculpture, a number of them recognisable as pieces in the collection (fig. 8).19 In completing the building of Castle Howard the 5th Earl’s actions were not simply motivated by a desire to finish his grandfather’s grand architectural project, nor were they exclusively about creating a residence suitably opulent for his status, and sufficiently large to accommodate his family of ten children. There was a crisis of space inside Castle Howard. After nearly five decades of collecting the 5th Earl had swamped the building with his own acquisitions, which included old-master paintings and sculpture collected during his Grand Tour, purchases from London salerooms and dealers (including pictures from the Orleans collection) and numerous family portraits, as well as silver and furniture by the likes of Paul Storr and John Linnell respectively and a vast library. Not only was the 5th Earl a keen and discriminating collector: he was also a diligent recorder, noting down his purchases in Italy, compiling various memoranda and inventories and overseeing the first printed catalogue of pictures at Castle Howard. Among his acquisitions was a plaster copy of the Dying Gladiator (fig. 9), purchased from Thomas Jenkins in Rome in July 1768; and his purchases of antiquities in Italy included Roman portrait busts, table-tops, columns, medallions and bronzes.20

1811. Castle Howard.

Figure 8.
View of the eastern wall of the Long Gallery, in C. H. Tatham, The Gallery at Castle Howard, Yorkshire, plate III, 1811. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

purchased by the 5th Earl of Carlisle in Rome, 1768. Castle Howard.

Figure 9.
Plaster copy of the Dying Gladiator, purchased by the 5th Earl of Carlisle in Rome, 1768. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

This second influx of treasures may have enriched Castle Howard but it only accentuated the problems of displaying and comprehending such an array of material, especially with regard to the sculpture collection, which had now begun to include eighteenth-century pieces from Italy, as well as portrait commissions by contemporary artists including Joseph Nollekens. Not even the Museum, Long Gallery and Great Hall could accommodate the antiquities in their entirety and Tatham complained that the Great Hall was ‘crowded to death with statues’.21 Consequently various antique table-tops, busts and bronzes continued to be placed elsewhere in the house. However by 1825 the collection had been reorganised once more and in the probate inventory of the 5th Earl there is the earliest mention of what is known today as the Antique Passage. Located between the Long Gallery and the Great Hall, on an east–west axis, there is reference to ‘The New Passage’ and ‘The White Passage’. The completion of the west wing enabled the northern axial corridor, part of Vanbrugh’s original design, to change from a dead-end into a passage connecting to the suite of newly finished western rooms. In these passages are recorded two Corinthian capitals, as well as busts of Faustina, Geta (figs. 10 and 11), Poppea, Nero and other figures.22

Bust of Faustina the Elder

Figure 10.
Bust of Faustina the Elder, 2nd century AD, National Museums Liverpool (59.148.109).

Digital image courtesy of National Museums Liverpool. (All rights reserved)

2nd century AD. Castle Howard.

Figure 11.
Bust of a bearded man, possibly Lucius Geta, 2nd century AD. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

By 1849 the Antique Passage and Great Hall were more densely filled with larger pieces, both antique and modern, placed on the painted and parcel-gilt pedestals which the 4th Earl had commissioned in the previous century.23 In the same way as the Museum served as an ante-room to the Long Gallery so the Antique Passage, undecorated and of plain stone, served as a foretaste of the architectural and sculptural drama of the Great Hall when moving from west to east through the building. This locomotive and aesthetic progression through the house was further strengthened when in the early 1870s the west wing was substantially altered and the Grand Staircase was built, which led first onto the China Landing and then through to the Antique Passage (fig. 12). Today this remains the primary route through the house for the visiting public and the Antique Passage is faithful to this early nineteenth-century arrangement (fig. 13). Unlike many of the paintings which, according to various inventories, were moved around the house quite regularly, the sculptures have remained largely in situ. This is partly explained by their size and weight, which precluded frequent moving. The principal reason however was that once the house was fully completed, with the corridors acting as thoroughfares between the east and west wings, the Antique Passage became the most appropriate place in which to display the 4th Earl’s antiquities. To begin with, and no doubt frustrated by the incompletion of the house, the 4th Earl had little choice but to cram his antiquities into smaller rooms until his brother-in-law could finish the west wing. Both the 4th Earl and Robinson had died before the new wing was completed and it was not until late on in the 5th Earl’s life, after a period of retrenchment enforced by family trustees, that Tatham’s scheme was executed, at which point the building of Castle Howard could be said to be finally concluded in 1812. Only at this point did it become possible to display the sculpture in a manner that was both pleasingly expansive and which made sense in terms of one’s progress through the building.

1841. Castle Howard.

Figure 12.
Thomas Buxton, ‘Plan of the Principal Floor of Castle Howard’ highlighting the Antique Passage and showing how the completion of the West Wing of the house changed this corridor from a dead end to a thoroughfare linking the centre of the house with the western bedrooms and the Long Gallery, 1841. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

Photograph. Castle Howard.

Figure 13.
The Antique Passage today, looking east towards the Great Hall, Photograph. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

Following the building of the Grand Staircase, and the creation of a small entrance lobby to the west wing of the house, this route from west to east, enhanced with additional urns and busts, functioned as a public route. This was an arrangement that took into account a new audience different from the select members of the family and their friends who had hitherto inspected the antiquities.24 It is a progression that continues to this day from the foot of the Grand Staircase, through the China Landing, the Antique Passage and to the Great Hall, and the experience is critical in shaping one’s perception of Castle Howard. There is a marked division in the house stylistically and spatially, between these formal thoroughfares (with stone walls and marble floors) and more domestic interiors (such as bedrooms, drawing rooms and dining rooms with textile or paper wall-hangings, wainscotting and floorboards). The division is not simply between public and private space but goes to the heart of the meaning of Castle Howard as both a palace and a domestic residence. Vanbrugh’s great achievement was to have constructed a building that was both grand and intimate. The Antique Passage, filled with ancient sculpture, becomes in effect a promenade through antiquity, with busts and vigorous compositions acting as animated reminders of the classical world: the passage in turn leads to the centre of the house, the Great Hall, which is itself a dramatic consummation of architecture, painted decoration, and sculpture.


To begin with, the business of collecting antiquities was fraught with challenges and difficulties. The 4th Earl had to rely on agents to find desirable pieces and negotiate a price; then these had to be paid for. Packing and shipping these cumbersome objects were delicate and protracted exercises: heavy crates filled with straw might take upwards of a month on the voyage to London or longer if the shipment was destined for Hull. On reaching Castle Howard the next step was to display these pieces appropriately and this required both a suitable space and the right kind of support. This presented a series of different challenges.

While smaller items could rest on table-tops, most busts, statues and mosaic slabs all required an infrastructure of some sort: soon after his consignments began arriving in Yorkshire in the early 1740s the 4th Earl commissioned a series of wooden and stone bases to accommodate these treasures (fig. 14). In some cases busts could be housed on top of Roman columns which had also been shipped back from Italy. These included a pair in mottled grey granite and a pair in verde antico, each topped and tailed with eighteenth-century bases and capitals; in addition to these there were two larger columns and a pair of eighteenth-century pink marble columns which support larger busts (fig. 15).

Castle Howard.

Figure 14.
One of the painted, parcel-gilt pedestals commissioned in the 1740s to support the many busts, Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

Castle Howard.

Figure 15.
One of a pair of pink and red marble columns acquired by the 4th Earl of Carlisle at the same time as his purchase of antiquities, Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

Elsewhere a panoply of painted, parcel-gilt pedestals was designed for the sculptures, but for items in the grand architectural setting of the Great Hall a series of stone plinths was commissioned. In all some three dozen pedestals were produced in this early period. These included four plinths richly decorated with swags and friezes supporting the pair of lions attacking bulls, and figures of Eros and Athena. Six tapering pedestals housing larger busts are decorated with either sunflowers or scallop shells and a further thirteen pedestals, also painted and parcel-gilt, are decorated with Greek key borders. These all date from c.1745 in a William Kent style and have in the past been attributed to Benjamin Goodison.25 The stone plinths in the Great Hall, comprising four square and four tapering pedestals, reflect similar Kentian motifs of giant paterae, scroll friezes and sunflowers. Three mosaic slabs sit on richly carved, parcel-gilt tables that date from c.1735 in the manner of William Kent or Batty Langley (figs. 16 and 17).

2nd century AD, resting on a painted, parcel-gilt side table, circa 1735, in the manner of William Kent. Castle Howard.

Figure 16.
A Roman mosaic top decorated with six wreaths centred on rosettes, 2nd century AD, resting on a painted, parcel-gilt side table, circa 1735, in the manner of William Kent. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

2nd century AD, resting on a painted, parcel-gilt side table, circa 1735, in the manner of William Kent. Castle Howard.

Figure 17.
A Roman mosaic top decorated with flowerhead and geometric designs, 2nd century AD, resting on a painted, parcel-gilt side table, circa 1735, in the manner of William Kent. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

To this assembly was added, later in the century, a number of plainer fluted tapering pedestals and four fluted Doric columns which support small busts; the latter may owe their presence to Tatham, as do undoubtedly a pair of gilt pedestals incorporating an Egyptian caryatid which date from the Regency period. Also dating from c.1770 is the large circular stone pedestal decorated with bucrania and festoons that supports the figure of Bacchus in the Great Hall.

Frequently overlooked alongside the individual pieces they support, these pedestals, plinths and columns are integral to the history of the antiquities at Castle Howard. Clearly the treasures acquired in Italy were always meant to be displayed in this manner, highlighting their individuality and maximising their impact. There is no sense that the 4th and 5th Earl wished to pack all their sculptures into densely filled small spaces, where they would be lost in a chaotic amalgamation. These busts and statues, arrayed on bespoke pedestals and plinths, contribute to the sense of a dignified procession through antiquity, especially along the Antique Passage and in the Great Hall. Displaying subtle decorative variations, these pedestals help unify the collection of antiquities by highlighting how they were the fruits of a period of concentrated collecting, with as much thought given to their best display as their acquisition in the first place.


The Castle Howard sculpture collection attracted the attention of visitors and scholars from the middle of the eighteenth century. Roger Gale visiting in 1743 recorded how the 4th Earl ‘showed me his noble collection of antique busts, statues, inscriptions etc., which he has most judicially dispersed and ornamented his lower rooms with’; this sense of wonder was echoed by Sir Harbottle Grimston in 1768, who noted how ‘Every room that will admit of it is filled with antique busts, urns, vases, mosaic pavement, Roman tiles, & every curiosity that could possibly be procured by the late Lord Carlisle’.26 Other visitors such as Sir William Burrell focused on individual pieces, recording the inscriptions on cinerary urns.27 In 1800 James Dallaway listed some twenty pieces with brief descriptions in his Anecdotes of the Arts in England.28 But it was left to German scholars to begin to analyse the depth and quality of the collections, first Gustav Waagen in 1838 and then Adolf Michaelis, who published his monumental Ancient Marbles in Great Britain in 1882. Describing the 4th Earl as ‘a zealous and tasteful dilletante’, Michaelis recorded sixty examples including bronzes, which he later noted were ‘scattered over the hall, the long corridors and some saloons’.29 The collection was first systematically photographed in the 1920s (fig. 18) and during the 1970s Hans Oehler and other scholars from the Institute of Archaeology at the University of Cologne continued investigation into the collection as part of the Monumenta Artis Romanae series. This research culminated in the authoritative Die Antiken Skulpturen in Castle Howard by Barara Borg, Henner von Heseberg and Andreas Linfert, published in 2005.30 Whereas Michaelis had described the collections as ‘very heterogeneous’ and with ‘few objects of real consequence’, scholars today rank the Castle Howard sculptures among the most important collections gathered in a private house in England, not simply for their quantity and quality, with a number of pieces identified from specific sites and excavations, but for what they reveal about Grand Tour collecting and the formation of taste in eighteenth-century England, not to mention the history of Castle Howard.31

The Antique Passage in 1929, in Paul Arndt and Georg Lippold, Photographische Einzelaufnahmen Antiker Skulpturen, Serie 11, (Munich: F. Bruckmann, 1929)

Figure 18.
The Antique Passage in 1929, in Paul Arndt and Georg Lippold, Photographische Einzelaufnahmen Antiker Skulpturen, Serie 11, (Munich: F. Bruckmann, 1929), Photograph. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Chris Ridgway. (All rights reserved)

In 2003 twenty-seven pieces from the antique collection were transferred to the ownership of the National Museums and Galleries of Merseyside as part of an in lieu, in situ tax settlement and in 2017 the remainder of the collection, comprising another hundred or so pieces, were also allocated to the National Museums Liverpool as part of a similar tax agreement. Notwithstanding the healthy attention evinced by specialists, the sculpture at Castle Howard is viewed and enjoyed by many of the 250,000 visitors the house receives each year. They may not come armed with the same levels of knowledge as their eighteenth-century predecessors but their attention is arrested by many of the pieces that provoke comment and reaction. In 2010 one visitor stated their visit to be ‘Absolutely wonderful, especially the classical statues’; a year later a younger visitor had declared the pieces ‘scary’, while a tourist from the USA found them to be ‘awesome’. These reactions, not to mention the daily evidence of people simply taking time to traverse the Antique Passage and inspect individual busts, gainsay any notion that the public is ignorant of or not interested in the ancient world.32 While the lure of the antique may be different from what it was in previous centuries, this rich assembly of sculpture continues to intrigue and stimulate the public on their progress through the house today.


  • Head and shoulders portrait of Christopher Ridgway

    Christopher Ridgway has been curator at Castle Howard since 1984. He is Chair of the Yorkshire Country House Partnership, and Professor in the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates. Christopher has lectured extensively on the history of the Country House and is the author, with Terence Dooley, of The Irish Country House. Its Past, Present and Future (Dublin: Four Courts, 2011).


  1. Letter from Horace Walpole to Richard West, 7 May 1740, The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole’s Correspondence, ed. W. S. Lewis et al., 48 vols, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1937–83, vol. 13, p. 214. For the sale of the gem collection see Castle Howard Archives (hereafter CHA), J22/75.

  2. W. J., ‘Account of Travels Throughout Britain’ [1743], Osborn MS c.480, p. 92, Beinecke Library, Yale University; Philip Yorke, ‘A Journal of What I Observed Most Remarkable in a Tour into the North, 1744’, Publications of the Bedfordshire Historical Record Society, vol. 47 (1986), p. 130.

  3. CHA, J12/12/12–17. Carlisle also acquired a copy of Ficorini’s Le Maschere Sceniche e le Figure Corniche, Rome, 1736, still in the library at Castle Howard today. For Carlisle’s visits to Italy see John Ingamells, A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy, 1701–1800, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997, p. 181.

  4. CHA, J12/11/14. A number of pieces referred to in Carlisle’s correspondence with his agents can be confidently identified today.

  5. CHA, J12/12/15 and 16.

  6. CHA, J12/12/1–7; J12/12/8–11.

  7. CHA, J12/11/1–3.

  8. CHA, J12/11/8 and 9.

  9. CHA, J12/11/10.

  10. CHA, J12/11/18–24; see Diana Scarisbrick, ‘Gem Connoisseurship – the 4th Earl of Carlisle’s Correspondence with Francesco di Ficoroni and Antonio Maria Zanetti’, The Burlington Magazine, vol. 129, no. 1007 (February 1987), pp. 90–104.

  11. John Dunbar, ed., Sir William Burrell’s Northern Tour, 1758, East Linton: Tuckwell Press, 1997, p. 12.

  12. Horace Walpole, Journals of Visits to Country Seats, ed. P. Toynbee, Walpole Society, vol. 16 (1928), p. 72.

  13. CHA, F4/1. There is an earlier list of 1751, ‘Ancient Marbles &c in a Lumber room’, recording 50 pieces, H2/2/1.

  14. Countess of Oxford quoted in Historical Manuscripts Commission, 13th Report, 1891, ‘The Manuscripts of the his Grace the Duke of Portland, [formerly] preserved at Welbeck Abbey’, vol. 6, London, p. 183.

  15. CHA, F4/1, pp. 13, 15.

  16. England Displayed: being a new, complete, and accurate survey, and description . . . of England . . . By a Society of Gentlemen, 2 vols, London: Ablard and Browne, 1769, vol. 1, p. 145.

  17. CHA, F4/1, pp. 23–4.

  18. Sir Richard Sullivan, Observations Made During a Tour through parts of England, Scotland and Wales, London: J. Brettell, 1780, p. 183.

  19. Charles Heathcote Tatham, The Gallery at Castle Howard, in Yorkshire, London: T. Gardiner, 1811, pls 2, 3, 4, 6.

  20. See Lord Carlisle, ‘Catalogue of pictures etc. bought at Rome by myself’, c.1770, CHA, J14/30/1; also ‘Catalogue of paintings, bronzes, marbles and statuary’, c.1790, J14/30/2. The Descriptive Catalogue of the Pictures at Castle Howard, Malton: printed by G. Sagg, 1805 was reprinted in 1814, 1821 and 1845 but did not list sculpture. The bill from Thomas Jenkins for £175 included landscapes by Dughet and Rosa, a copy of a Venus, an antique bust and a sarcophagus; J14/28/1.

  21. Tatham Album II, RIBA Library, Drawings & Archives Collections, cited in Ruth Guilding, Owning the Past: Why the English collected Antique Sculpture, 1640–1840, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2014, p. 128.

  22. CHA, H2/11/2, p. 35.

  23. CHA, H2/11/3, pp. 145–6, where the Antique Passage is also referred to as ‘The Gallery’.

  24. For the later arrangement of sculpture in the building see the inventory compiled by the house steward John Duthie in 1881, CHA, H2/2/3.

  25. Pedestals attributed to Benjamin Goodison by Sotheby’s.

  26. The Family Memoirs of the Rev. William Stukeley & the Antiquarian & other Correspondence of William Stukeley, Roger & Samuel Gale, Durham: Surtees Society, 3 vols, 1880–85, vol. 1, p. 361; Sir Harbottle Grimston, ‘A Northern Tour from St Albans’, 1768, in Historical Manuscripts Commission, 65th Report, 1906, ‘Report on the Manuscripts of the Earl of Verulam, presented at Gorhambury’, London, pp. 236–7.

  27. Burrell in Dunbar 1997, p. 12; the inscriptions, not reproduced in the published edition, are recorded in the manuscript original, National Library of Scotland, MS 2911, fol. 45.

  28. Reverend James Dallaway, Anecdotes of the Arts in England; or Comparative Remarks on Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting, London: Cadell & Davies, 1800, pp. 195–8.

  29. Gustav Waagen first recorded the sculpture in his Works of Art and Artists in England, 3 vols, London: John Murray, 1838, vol. 3, pp. 197–220, and then in his Treasures of Art in Great Britain, 3 vols, London: John Murray, 1854, vol. 3, pp. 317–32. Adolf Michaelis made his first survey in 1882 without seeing the collection for himself; Ancient Marbles in Great Britain, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1882, pp. 325–32; three years later he had visited the collection and reported in ‘Supplement to Ancient Marbles in Great Britain’, Journal of Hellenistic Studies, vol. 6 (1885), pp. 33–41, and Cornelius C. Vermeule, ‘Notes on a New Edition of Michaelis: Ancient Marbles in Great Britain’, American Journal of Archaeology, vol. 59 (1955), pp. 129–50.

  30. Paul Arndt and Georg Lippold, Photographische Einzelaufnahmen Antiker Skulpturen, Serie 11, Munich: F. Bruckmann, 1929, pp. 5–10; Hans-Georg Oehler, Photo+Skulptur: Romische Antiken in englischen Schlossern, Cologne: Römisch-Germanisches Museum, 1980, pp. 48–57; Barara Borg, Henner von Heseberg and Andreas Linfert, Die Antiken Skulpturen in Castle Howard, Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2005.

  31. For the history of Castle Howard see Charles Saumarez-Smith, The Building of Castle Howard, London: Faber, 1990; the history of Grand Tour collecting especially in relation to antiquities is extensive but see in particular Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, Taste and the Antique: The Lure of Classical Sculpture, 1500–1900, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1981; Jonathan Scott, The Pleasures of Antiquity: British Collectors of Greece and Rome, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2003; Guilding 2014.

  32. These remarks are from the Castle Howard visitors’ comments book.



by Christopher Ridgway
20 November 2020
House Essay
All rights reserved
Cite as
Christopher Ridgway, "Antiquities at Castle Howard", Art and the Country House,