To me, Northington Grange, just outside Alresford, is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I have seen. It is one of the first sites I saw on my very first visit to England, and I still love to go there today – and today I did!
A bit of history, taken from http://www.english-heritage.co.uk:
Sir Robert Henley (c.1624–92), a wealthy politician, bought an estate and modest country house known as The Grange in 1662. Three years later, he commissioned the architect William Samwell to build a new impressive residence to replace the house.
This residence was drastically transformed from 1809, when the architect William Wilkins – an expert on ancient Greek architecture – rendered the exterior to give it the appearance of a Greek temple.
Wilkins had been commissioned by Henry Drummond (1786–1860), then owner of the house, who wanted something sensational in the latest neoclassical taste. But he disliked the result and sold the estate in 1817 to his neighbour Alexander Baring, whose family continued to alter and embellish the house throughout the 19th century.
After neglect and the threat of total demolition, the house was taken into guardianship in 1975 and is today in the care of English Heritage.
Below are some photographs that I took today:
In 2003, the Grange Park Opera built a theatre in the Conservatory. This year I was lucky enough to be able to get a ticket to a rehearsal of Eliogabalo. It was my first opera experience and I loved it! It was a gorgeous June evening, and we had a picnic on the lawns to the front of this magnificent mansion as the sun began to set, with the sound of champagne corks popping and even a flock of geese flew over.
The only way I can describe it is prefectly gorgeous!