These works were built for the rather nondescript but obviously uncontrollably wealthy third Earl of Carlisle, Charles Howard. Vanbrugh gave the Earl the sumptuous baroque palace he so desperately wanted, but indulged his own preferences for battlements in the walls and outbuildings.
Nicholas Hawksmoor designed by himself the Mausoleum and Obelisk on the grounds -- while in other works he acted as an indispensible advisor for Vanbrugh.
Before reaching Vanbrugh's fortified walls, the visitor encounters at the extreme edge of the Howard estate, on Bulmer Hill near Welburn, the column to the memory of George William Frederick Howard, the seventh Earl. The column was designed by F.P.Cockerell. The Carrmire Gate of circa 1725, a rusticated arch with broken pediment and six tiny pyramids on piers, running off into castellated walls, is actually by Hawksmoor. After some two thousand feet of wall a tall gate of 1719, with side pavilions and a pyramid roof, provides the main entrance to the estate. The gate was designed by Vanbrugh, but it is the castellated wall with a total of eleven different gothick bastions that shows his hand at its best. Some of the bastions are square, others round or hexagonal, all harking back to Vanbrugh's Blackheath Castle and the Claremont Belvedere which he had built since first starting on Castle Howard in 1699. Further north, on the crossing of the two drives, stands a 100 foot obelisk, making it his first folly here as it dates from 1714. There is a Latin inscription to the Duke of Marlborough, but on the other side is a later inscription:
IF TO PERFECTION THESE PLANTATIONS RISE IF THEY AGREEABLY MY HEIRS SURPRISE THIS FAITHFUL PILLAR WILL THEIR AGE DECLARE AS LONG AS TIME THESE CHARACTERS WILL SPARE HERE THEN WITH KIND REMEMBRANCE READ HIS NAME WHO FOR POSTERITY PERFORM'D THE SAME. CHARLES THE III EARL OF CARLISLE OF THE FAMILY OF THE HOWARDS ERECTED A CASTLE WHERE THE OLD CASTLE OF HENDERSKELFE STOOD, AND CALL'D IT CASTLE-HOWARD. HE LIKEWISE MADE THE PLANTATIONS IN THIS PARK AND ALL THE OUT-WORKS, MONUMENTS AND OTHER PLANTATIONS BELONGING TO THE SAID SEAT. HE BEGAN THESE WORKS IN THE YEAR MDCCII ANNO D:MDCCXXXIEast of the great house is the Temple of the Four Winds by Vanbrugh, a shoot from Palladio's Villa Rotonda. From here one takes in the carefully composed Claude-like picture of Sion Wood to the left, the New River bridge in the middle distance and, as a focal point, Hawksmoor's gigantic mausoleum. This is shaped like a domed Greek tholos, round, with pillars carrying a frieze. The third Earl of Carlisle is buried here. Around it Daniel Garrett later added the fortified wall, square with semicircular projections on each side. From the mausoleum one can see the tall Hawksmoor pyramid of 1728 to the southwest. Further to the southeast is Pretty Wood, hiding another pyramid and a column called the Four Face (quatre faces - Carfax); the same name serves the large vase with four heads on each side at Bramham Park.
Later, Hawksmoor's partnership with Vanbrugh at Castle Howard and Blenheim Palace was to see him in the role of guru. Vanbrugh could not possibly have achieved his buildings without the expertise of Hawksmoor.
|Designed by Nicholas
Hawksmoor alone, the Mausoleum at Castle Howard was begun in
Hawksmoor had to use all of his considerable knowledge in arguing against the prevailing architectural pedants to get the mausoleum built as he wished it to be. He was helped in this by the understanding of his patron.
Although the stairs were added by Robinson and the platform by Garret, it still stands proud as a remarkable architectural achievement.
|The vaulted crypt is encircled by rooms with niches three deep for the dead. Many still gape, empty, awaiting their mortified remains, looking for all the world like big old commercial Pizza ovens. But those which are occupied tell their story with the gravestone's usual economy.|
|Above in the Chapel sunlight streams into a chamber which invites the calmest of contemplation, an invitation to an understanding of death.|