The magnificent art collection of Great Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, sold to Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, in 1779, to adorn the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, is reassembled in its spectacular original setting of Houghton Hall for the first time in over 200 years.
Masterpieces by Rembrandt, Poussin and Velazquez are among a collection of over 40 works from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg which travel to Britain for a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition “HOUGHTON REVISITED: The Walpole Masterpieces from Catherine the Great’s Hermitage”.
The “Houghton Revisited” exhibition runs till 29 September 2013 and gives a unique opportunity to view one of the most famous art collections of XVIII century Europe. The display will include paintings from the English, French, Italian, Flemish and Spanish schools, with masterpieces by Van Dyck, Poussin, Albani, Rubens, Rembrandt, Velazquez and Murillo.
Houghton Hall, now the family seat of Sir Robert Walpole’s direct descendant, the 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley, is considered one of the country’s finest Palladian houses.
The inherited debts of Robert Walpole's grandson, George Walpole, the 3rd Earl of Orford, were the main cause of the sale of such a large number of paintings from his collection to Empress Catherine the Great. Arrival of the Walpole collection in St. Petersburg in 1779 was an important event in the Hermitage history. Sir Robert Walpole's paintings greatly expanded the Imperial collection.
The paintings in the Houghton Revisited exhibition will be hung in their original positions in the State Rooms, bringing them back to the splendour of more than two centuries ago.
The exhibition is a fitting celebration both of 250th anniversary of Catherine the Great’s accession to the throne, and the long and distinguished history of Anglo-Russian cultural relations. This is a unique opportunity for everybody to revisit a moment in British history of supreme diplomacy, shrewd dealership, lavish spending and exceptional collecting. Don’t miss the chance to see this legendary British collection temporarily returned to the collector's country. The address of the Houghton Hall is: King’s Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6UE.