Ross-on-Wye Civic Society

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HAREWOOD MANSION - A REVISED DESIGN

Ross-on-Wye & District Civic Society newsletter Spring 2007 (number 92)
Article by Philip Anderson (Hon Sec)

In December the Duchy of Cornwall published a revised design for the new mansion to be built as part of their regeneration of the Harewood Park estate. It is smaller and more compact than the original design in order, said the Duchy, to show a better commercial return on the property. (They continue to insist that the mansion is a commercial venture and is not for Prince Charles, Prince William, or any other royal personage).

The Hereford Times focused on the so-called "triumphal arches" on the front elevation "usually built to celebrate a great military victory or momentous occasion and will undoubtedly rekindle speculation that the house will be home to Prince William and his future bride". (This was written before the association with Kate Middleton was ended.) Letter writers to the paper saw it differently - one compared it to a water board pumping station of the 1950s and another to one of Saddam Hussein's palaces in Iraq!

In reality what architect Craig Hamilton seems to have done is to draw inspiration from the work of Sir John Soane, the late 18th/early 19th century architect. The tall, clean-cut arches, the simple rectangular shape and the restrained stylized ornamentation are all reminiscent of his work, as can be seen by comparing the new design to Soane's design for the front of Dulwich Art Gallery.

Harewood House revised design
The revised Harewood design

Harewood House - Soane`s Dulwich Art Gallery
Soane's Dulwich Art Gallery

In any event the Southern Area Planning Committee, who were shown a scale model of the house, were complimentary and voted unanimously to grant planning permission. This writer rather likes it too, but such things are very much in the eye of the beholder, as the Hereford Times correspondence shows.



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