Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle and our ancestor, Thomas Allom

It is quite novel to be related by marriage to both Virginia Woolf through photographer Julia Cameron and also to a designer of the castle best known as Downton Abbey. Therefore I thought it best to revisit my interiors, castles and landscaped gardens category that was such a pleasure to write about on my original blog, RegencyGirl, which has since transformed into TheCuriousRaven.
Here I shall be reposting some of my previously published articles and writing some anew.

But enough waffling from me, lets get to the point about Highclere castle, made famous for being the location of celebrated television series Downton Abbey.

According to wikipedia :

‘Highclere Castle /ˈhklɪər/ is a country house in the Jacobethan style, with a park designed by Capability Brown. The 5,000-acre (2,000 ha) estate is in Hampshire, England, United Kingdom, about 5 miles (8 km) south of Newbury, Berkshire. It is the county seat of the Earl of Carnarvon, a branch of the AngloWelsh Herbert family. Highclere Castle was a filming location for the British comedy series Jeeves and Wooster, which starred comedians Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. It was also used as the main filming location for the award-winning period drama Downton Abbey.

And here we thank Wikipedia again for the brief introduction to my ancestor in-law :

‘Thomas Allom (13 March 1804 – 21 October 1872) was an English architect, artist, and topographical illustrator. He was a founding member of what became the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). He designed many buildings in London, including the Church of St Peter’s and parts of the elegant Ladbroke Estate in Notting Hill. He also worked with Sir Charles Barry on numerous projects, most notably the Houses of Parliament, and is also known for his numerous topographical works, such as Constantinople and the Scenery of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor, published in 1838, and China Illustrated, published in 1845.

This talented Allom is the great great grandfather of my dearly beloved, Chevalier. Henry Thomas Zachary Carrick Allom. (While there is much resemblance between my Allom and the celebrated topographical illustrator and founding member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, the portrait of Thomas Allom doesn’t quite reflect the fiery intellect of my dearly beloved, or the burnt autumn hue of his hair…)


Quite aside from his more well known architectural and illustrative adventures,
Thomas Allom also had a young hand in the design of one of the most famous stately homes in the world, Highclere Castle – more widely known as Downton Abbey.
Here is a photo of butler Colin Edwards in the Saloon at the heart of the house. Designed by architect Thomas Allom in the gothic style and completed in the 1860s, it is one of many gorgeous rooms in the estate.Again from wikipedia : ‘In the saloon, in an attempt to resemble a medieval English great hall, Barry’s assistant Thomas Allom introduced a Gothic influence evident in the points rather than curves of the arches, and the mock-hammerbeam roof.[20]
Although the exterior of the north, east and south sides were completed before the 3rd Earl died in 1849 and Sir Charles Barry died in 1860, the interior and the west wing (designated as servants’ quarters) were far from complete. The 4th Earl turned to the architect Thomas Allom, who had worked with Barry, to supervise work on the interior of the castle, which was completed in 1878.

The chatelaine, Fiona, eighth Countess of Carnarvon is interviewed about the majestic home here. And if you fancy a journey with me to our uncles house where many original Thomas Allom artworks reside, please follow me to that blog post

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Raven Tao

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