Events Life + Arts

Houston hosts Houghton Hall


Houghton Hall utilized oriental-inspired furniture in its Cabinet Room. | Photo by Pablo Milanese/ The Cougar

For the first time, Houghton Hall left England. Its first stop was the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Originally the home of the first English prime minister Sir Robert Walpole, it now belongs to the marquesses of Cholmondeley. Under their direction, it has become a national landmark renowned for its art collection and unique furnishings.

Located in Norfolk, northeast of London, Houghton Hall houses paintings, porcelain, sculptures, costume, metalwork and furniture all meant to convey opulence and regality.

“Houghton Hall: Portrait of an English Country House” brought nearly 200 objects to Houston to recreate and evoke the image of the rooms at Houghton Hall.

Despite the energy and oil companies often being Houston’s main selling point, its art culture is nothing to sweep under the rug. Houston is the first city to host Houghton Hall outside England.

The exhibit was not an immersive experience in which stepping into each room transported the visitor to the 1800s, but it did serve as a reminder of a time when living in extravagant castles with detailed marbling, stone pillars and themed rooms was the norm, or at least the dream.

There was a touch screen available with 360-degree full-color photographs of each room: the Great Staircase, the Stone Hall, the Common Parlour, the Library, the Marble Parlour, the Cabinet Room, the Embroidered Bedchamber, the Green Velvet Bedchamber, the Carlo Maratta room and the Saloon.

Clothing was also on display in Houghton Hall: Portrait of an English Country House. | Photo by Pablo Milanese/ The Cougar

Seeing each room, even through a small screen, was enough to whisk visitors away to a world that used to exist and is now on display for the current world to see.

The exhibit ran from June 22, 2014 to Sept. 21, 2014 at the MFAH’s Beck Building. It is no longer available for guests to view and is now moving to its other destination, San Francisco, before making its last stop in Nashville.

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