High quality fine art print of Wollaton Hall at Sunrise by Tom Price.
A4 printed on premium semi gloss photo paper.
Listed Building – Grade I
Wollaton Hall is an Elizabethan country house of the 1580s standing on a small but prominent hill in Wollaton Park, Nottingham, England. The house is now Nottingham Natural History Museum, with Nottingham Industrial Museum in the outbuildings. The surrounding parkland has a herd of deer, and is regularly used for large-scale outdoor events such as rock concerts, sporting events and festivals.
Wollaton is a classic prodigy house, “the architectural sensation of its age”, though its builder was not a leading courtier and its construction stretched the resources he mainly obtained from coalmining; the original family home was at the bottom of the hill. Though much re-modelled inside, the “startlingly bold” exterior remains largely intact.
Wollaton Hall was built between 1580 and 1588 for Sir Francis Willoughby and is believed to be designed by the Elizabethan architect, Robert Smythson, who had by then completed Longleat, and was to go on to design Hardwick Hall. The general plan of Wollaton is comparable to these, and was widely adopted for other houses, but the exuberant decoration of Wollaton is distinctive, and it is possible that Willoughby played some part in creating it. The style is an advanced Elizabethan with early Jacobean elements.
The building consists of a central block dominated by a hall three storeys high, with a stone screen at one end and galleries at either end, with the “Prospect Room” above that. From this there are extensive views of the park and surrounding country. There are towers at each corner, projecting out from this top floor. At each corner of the house is a square pavilion of three storeys, with decorative features rising above the roof line. Much of the basement storey is cut from the rock the house sits on.
The building is of Ancaster stone from Lincolnshire, and is said to have been paid for with coal from the Wollaton pits owned by Willoughby; the labourers were also paid this way. Cassandra Willoughby, Duchess of Chandos recorded in 1702 that the master masons, and some of the statuary, were brought from Italy. The decorative gondola mooring rings carved in stone on the exterior walls offer some evidence of this, as do other architectural features. There are also obvious French and Dutch influences. The exterior and hall have extensive and busy carved decoration, featuring strapwork and a profusion of decorative forms. The window tracery of the upper floors in the central block and the general busyness of the decoration look back to the Middle Ages, and have been described as “fantasy-Gothic”.