Hammerwood Park was conceived as a temple dedicated to Apollo as deity not only of the arts but also of hunting.
Photo: Thomas Pinnegar 2008
Apollo is represented upon the Coadeware plaque above the temple entrance into the Library playing a double pipe and wearing the skin of a wild beast freshly hunted. Latrobe also symbolised Apollo's presence at the house by styling the Paestumesque-proportioned columns with the plain shanks of those at the Temple of Apollo on the island of Delos.
Built for entertaining by Latrobe in 1792 the house comes to life best today when hosting concerts and dinners whilst retaining its primary function as a family home. On two afternoons a week in the summer visitors enjoy tours and cream teas. There are also two guest suites which can be a useful base for those using Gatwick Airport.
Hammerwood Park East Grinstead Sussex RH19 3QE 01342 850594
We hope you will have great fun adventurously following links below.
Built in 1792, contemporary with the French Revolution, the house was built to appear palacial but in fact is only about one-third of the size it looks. The effect is assisted by various subtle effects but principally the columns on the wings are half the size of those on the central block - so they look as though they are set back a huge distance. The columns on the temples are tapered to make them look taller than they really are.
The eye is led into the far distance by an enclosing valley to the south focussing upon a hill with a cleft hill behind in the same way as the ancient Minoan palaces and Greek temples which paid reverence to the Earth as the mother of all and all which lived therein.
Coadeware plaque derived from the Borghese vase held in the Louvre. Apollo, in the course of being anointed plays an Aulos - a double shawm or reeded pipe whilst the maiden next to him plays the Cithara and the lady at the end plays a jingleless type of tambourine. The Cithara was Apollo's instrument whilst the Aulos was normally played by Dionysus. Apollo is seen here playing Dionysus tune! Perhaps this has been played out in the history of the house, built by Latrobe, owned by Led Zeppelin and now once again being home to classical concerts.
The mortals are wearing robes whilst the immortals are wearing the animal skins from the animals freshly hunted at this hunting lodge. The combination here of mortals and immortals here at the same ceremony at the same place at the same time has inspired David Pinnegar in his interpretation of the Parthenon Frieze - see below.
The drunken man is being rescued by one of the Gods, probably Dionysus. Presumably this was after the ceremony at which Apollo was being anointed earlier, on the other side of the vase, and here at Hammerwood on the symmetrically opposite temple.
The mural was painted in just six weeks of 1991 by French artists Jean-Louis Grand and Guillaume Avonture to celebrate the bi-centenary of the house. Each aspect of the painting is symbolic.
David Pinnegar's personal explanation below is admittedly apparently heavy, but we hope you will find it interesting. Why preserve the heritage? The heritage is the remaining physical evidence of the past. Perhaps we have had to deal with issues in the past, our knowledge of which may help us in the future? Please read on . . . You never know - it might be refreshing?
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and Here for The Times report of what English Heritage's Chairman Sir Jocelyn Stevens has to say about the Lottery
Donations of any size, however small, are appreciated and will be well used. £70,000 is needed for the restoration of the derelict Dining-Room section of the East Wing and about £200,000 is needed for rebuilding the North Wing. There is much to do and whilst these sums are substantial, every little helps. Exhibition facilities for the dress collection is a priority ambition. The collection ranges from the 1790s to the 1930s and is one of the most important in southern England. The house currently provides no convenient space for its storage or for showing it other than to the smallest numbers of visitors. About £5000 is needed to replace gutters on the two wings and, if the building is to be preserved, much more needs to be spent on regular maintenaince. The Latrobe Heritage Trust wants to help not only Hammerwood Park but also other historic houses of educational value.
The opening of Hammerwood Park to the public owes much assistance to Arthur Pyke John Pinnegar & Co., solicitors, who were responsible for restoring derelict legal rights of way. Much invaluable experience has been gained!
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