The Gibside Estate. ‘‘It Has Even Now, After Nine Years

1616 words - 6 pages

The Gibside Estate.''It has even now, after nine years neglect, sufficient majesty to engage the attention of every traveller fond of romantic scenery.'' Britain was one of the strongest nations in the world in the Georgian period, and this is reflected in the architecture of the time. In fact, the eighteenth century, in Northumberland, is often referred to as the 'Great Awakening' , in reference to the formidable constructions of country houses. It was a competitive arena for architects to demonstrate their skills, and for patrons to indulge in their fantasies of nobility and antiquity, as well as expanding their estates. George Bowes, (1701-1760), was a member of the landed elite in Northumbria, and his property, Gibside, forms the focus of my study. By analyzing the designs and possible influences of the many buildings on the Gibside estate, I hope to provide an insight into the incredible legacy of George Bowes, as well as analyzing the cultural and historical significance of the architecture itself. Gibside estate is vast, so I will focus, mainly, on the buildings that I was able to make a visual assessment of, and give some brief detail into the further development of the estate after George Bowes' death. I will acknowledge the architect and references to any architectural movements in my observations, and an occasional look at the landscape of the Gibside estate is necessary, as this plays such an important role for Bowes and eighteenth century ideals.George Bowes, (1701-1760) was the youngest of ten children, so it was due to the tragic deaths of his elder brothers that meant he inherited the Gibside estate. In a period where there was the ''assertion of social, political and most importantly, cultural domination by the elite,'' George can be seen as a typical aristocrat of his time. He appears to follow tradition, as history tells it, joining the army aged eighteen, as befitted a younger brother not to inherit the land of his father, inheriting Gibside, in fact, the same year as he obtained his majority. Bowes had been a good student at school, and loved music, art and architecture, striving to acquire knowledge while at Gibside. He subscribed to the Society for the Encouragement of Learning in London, and was good friends with Thomas Robinson (1700-1777), a follower of the 3rd Earl of Burlington, (the arbiter of Palladian taste.) A few major, influential books for the century, on architecture, are recorded as being subscribed to by Bowes, such as Palladio's 'The Four Books of Architecture' and Will Kent's 'The Designs of Inigo Jones'.As well as educating himself on the arts, Bowes keenly entered into traditional gentleman's sports and social activities such as horseracing, (buying and betting), hunting and cards. Bowes He also was married in 1724 to his beloved, extremely young wife Eleanor Verney. Her tragic death after only two and a half months left him devastated for several years. Business and politics seem to have been...

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