Monday, July 06, 2009
To Holkham Hall for a performance of Orpheus in the Underworld in the Marble Hall. It was all terribly Glyndebourne with picnics in the park during the long interval. Ah, England! There was even a cricket match winding up as we arrived. Kent's grounds were universally acclaimed, his house, as usual, universally excoriated. The problem is, I think, that it's not cosy and the contemporary imagination is surprisingly drawn to the cosy. The exterior is voraciously undecorated even by Palladian standards. This is part Kent, part his client, Thomas Coke. The result is a severe, hyper-symmetrical essay in anti-Baroque. But, if you suppress your desire for cosy and see this as a stern, Roman palace and if a low sun is casting Italianate shadows, it all makes perfect sense. Holkham is built for serene authority as much as for delight. The pork pies, needless to say, were excellent.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 5:53 am