Thomas Coke

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Thomas Coke

Post by kimerajamm on Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:57 pm

Under Coke of Norfolk, the great-nephew and heir of the builder, extensive improvements were made to the park and by his death in 1842 it had grown to its present extent of over 3,000 acres (12 km2). As well as planting over a million trees on the estate Coke employed the architect Samuel Wyatt to design over a number of buildings,[24] including a series of farm buildings and farmhouses in a simplified neo-classical style and, in the 1780s, the new walled kitchen gardens covering 6 acres (24,000 m2). The gardens stand to the west of the lake and include: A fig house, a peach house, a vinery, and other greenhouses. Wyatt's designs culminated in c. 1790 with the Great Barn, located in the park half a mile south-east of the obelisk. The cost of each farm was in the region of 1,500 to 2,600: Lodge Farm, Castle Acre, cost 2,604 6s. 5d. in 17971800. The lake to the west of the house, originally a marshy inlet or creek off the North Sea, was created in 180103 by the landscape gardener William Eames.
The Monument. In the grounds of Holkham Hall, pictured in 1999

After his death, Coke was commemorated by the Coke Monument, designed by William Donthorne and erected in 18458[25] at a cost to the tenants of the estate of 4,000. The monument consists of a Corinthian column 120 feet (37 m) high, surmounted by a drum supporting a wheatsheaf and a plinth decorated with bas-reliefs carved by John Henning junior. The corners of the plinth support sculptures of an ox, sheep, plough and seed-drill. Coke's work to increase farm yields had resulted in the rental income of the estate rising between 1776 and 1816 from 2,200 to 20,000, and had considerable influence on agricultural methods in Britain.

In 1850, Thomas Coke, 2nd Earl of Leicester called in the architect William Burn to build new stables to the east of the house, in collaboration with W. A. Nesfield, who had designed the parterres. Work started at the same time on the terraces surrounding the house. This work continued until 1857 and included, to the south and on axis with the house, the monumental fountain of Saint George and the Dragon dated c. 184957 sculpted by Charles Raymond Smith. To the east of the house and overlooking the terrace, Burn designed the large stone Orangery, with a three-bay pedimented centre and three-bay flanking wings. The orangery is now roofless and windowless.

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