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Asthe historian John Evelyn wryly noted at the time:" The House or rather Palace at Althorp is a noble pile in form of a half H, built of brick and freestone à la moderne; the hall is well, the staircase excellent; the rooms of state, galleries, offices and furniture such as may become a great prince. It is situate in the midst of a garden exquisitely planted and kept… with rows and walks of trees, canals and fishponds…" The next additions were carried out by the Fifth Earl of Sunderland in about 1730- 32, when he decorated the hall. A Palladian design was drawn up by Colin Campbell. However, he died in 1729, and it was left to Roger Morris to carry out the work. In 1772, part of the roof fell in. Years of benign neglect were compounded by the First Earl Spencer's prior interest in the construction of his London mansion, Spencer House. Only after his son's accession was an overhaul considered. The architect taken on was HenryHolland, whose first commission had been for Brook's Club, a favourite meeting place for the Whig aristocracy. The politicallyactiveSpencers, as founder members, had long been Whig supporters, but they had been isolated from power byadecade of Lord North'sdiscredited Tory rule. This ended in 1770 and heralded a change in fortunes for both patron and architect. Architecture often reflects political values, and Holland's espousal of a freer mixture of French neo- classical and nativetradition had endeared him to his sponsors, who were tired of the Establishment's neo- Palladianism. In the politically schematised climate of the time, this mattered. After Brooks'sClub, Holland'scommissions came in quick succession. While at Althorp, he also worked on the Prince Regent's Marine House at Brighton ( later Nash's Xanadu-like Pavilion), and on a re- design for Carlton House. At the outset, the Earlwrote:" We have got Mr. Holland here who has brought his plans with him. I have a notion they would be very clever ones…. but the Quomodo is the difficulty. Imust be content with making the apartments we live in weatherproof and saving the house from tumbling down." The external treatment given to Althorp reflected both the Earl's finances and fashionable imperatives. Rather than cover the existing walls in white brick, Holland substituted ' mathematical'or rebate tiles, so- called because of their precision fit, flush- mounted to look like brick. The tile appears tobe a cosmetic outgrowth of a weather- proofing tile, which Holland also experimented with at Brighton. Holland also added simple pediments to the north and south fronts, corridors to the projecting wings, and new dressings in the Roche Abbey stone from Yorkshire, and pilasters in local Kingsthorpe stone for the front entrance. The roof was also lowered, and the chimneys constructed anew. On the outside, the house is much today as Holland decreed, characterised above all by conscious restraint and a lack of ornament. The style is partly dictated by Holland's desire to respect Carolean and Palladian antecedents; but also by his innate Englishness. There are classical and French elements, but they are subservient to the overall modesty of the scheme. Internally, Holland's precepts were tempered by practical concerns. He relocated the state rooms to the west wing of the ground floor ( in a reversion to pre- Palladian practice). Low ceilings confined his scope for grandeur, but not that for domestic convenience. The Long Library was extended and the gallery painted. The then Lady Spencer praised the scheme as " the image of comfort- so convenient, so cheerful, so neat, so roomy, yet so compact…" How deliberately the Holland alterations responded to familydirectives on this score is not clear. Certainly, after the completion of Spencer House a few years previously, the Spencers had at their disposal, in the heart of London, one of the grandest mansions. Inevitably, with their involvement inpublic life too, the family's social life devolved there. Althorp, by contrast, best provided space and repose. Holland's last act was to extend the house to the east with offices screened by shrubbery. He undertook this landscaping himself, much to the fury of his assistant Lapidge, an understudy to Lancelot ' Capability'Brown – who was also Holland's father- in- law. The work was finished smoothly enough, but it had been stalled by other difficulties. The Earl had bargained for modest alterations; Holland, unswayed by client considerations – the ' Quomodo'– wanted a more extensive scheme. Mid- way through, in the best builder- developer tradition, he had therefore advanced money in order to complete- but with interest. This seems to have become accepted by the second half of the eighteenth century, and there were dozens of sub- contractors to pay. Holland's final bill came to £ 20,257. less five per cent commission. The Earl paid, but only through that familiar aristocratic recourse, the disposal of a rotten borough ( Okehampton), and another property, Chilworth Manor in Surrey. Althorp by John Vosterman 1677. This shows the original red brick, before it was tiled. HENRY HOLLAND. THE ARCHITECT OF CHANGE 45

Owners of Althorp [ 1500s to 1783] Sir John Spencer, Kt, bought Althorp 1508 ( d. 1522) married Isabell Graunt Sir William Spencer, Kt,( d. 1532) married Susan Knightly Sir John Spencer, Kt,( d. 1586) married Katherine Kitson Sir John Spencer, Kt,( d. 1599) married Mary Catlyn, 1566 Sir Robert Spencer 1570 - 1627 Created Baron Spencer of Wormleighton married Margaret Willoughby, 1587 ( d. 1597) William, 2nd Baron Spencer, KB 1591 - 1636 married Lady Penelope Wriothesley, 1614 1598 - 1667 Henry, 3rd Baron Spencer 1620 - 1643 created Earl of Sunderland , KG 1643 married Lady Dorothy Sidney, 1639 1617 - 1684 Robert, 2nd Earl of Sunderland, KG 1641 - 1702 married Lady Anne Digby, 1665 1646 - 1715 Charles, 3rd Earl of Sunderland, KG 1675 - 1722 1) married Lady Arabella Cavendish, 1695 1673 - 1698, 2) married Lady Anne Churchill, 1699 ( d. 1716) 3) married Judith Tichbourne, 1717 ( d. 1749) Robert, 4th Earl of Sutherland 1701 - 1729* Charles, 5th Earl of Sunderland, 3rd Dukeof Malborough, KG 1706 - 1758* ( quitted Althorp 1734) Hon. John Spencer, 1708- 1746* married Lady Georgina Carteret, 1734 1716 - 1780 John Spencer, created Earl Spencer 1765 1734 - 1783 married Georgiana Poyntz, 1775 1737 - 1814 * Son of Charles, 3rd Earl of Sunderland and Lady Anne Churchill John Spencer, created Earl Spencer John Charles, 3rd Earl SpencerFrederick, 4th Earl Spencer John Poyntz, 5th Earl SpencerCharles Robert, 6th Earl Spencer AlbertEdward John, 7th EarlSpencerEdward John, 8th EarlSpencer Charles Edward Maurice, 9th EarlSpencer George John, 2nd Earl Spencer 67