Italy is a country that features prominently in the history of Attingham with the house and the country being connected in a variety of ways.
Thomas, the 2nd Lord Berwick was especially fascinated by Italy and its architecture and paintings, visiting the country as part of his Grand Tour when he purchased numerous paintings, sculptures and other souvenirs. He eventually returned to Italy to live following his bankruptcy and died there in 1832.
His brother William, the 3rd Lord Berwick, also had a great love of Italy developed when he lived and worked there as a diplomat. William accumulated collections of Italian furniture and art, many of which he bought back to Attingham where the interiors of several rooms continue to reflect his tastes. Included in the items be bought back from Italy are the collection of white and gilded Italian furniture that came from the Palazzo Belvedere, once the home of Napoleon’s sister, Caroline Murat, a portrait of whom hangs at Attingham.
Another connection is the beautiful Italianate style villa at Cronkhill designed and built by the architect John Nash for the 2nd Lord Berwick in the early 1800’s. It is located less than 2 miles from Attingham and stands on a hillside offering stunning views across the Attingham Estate. A picture of the house from 1919 is shown below and the view is virtually unchanged today.
The 5th Lord Berwick chose to live at Cronkhill in preference to Attingham and it was also frequently used by the 7th Lord to host shooting parties. The photo below shows the 7th Lord and Lady and others relaxing at one such event.
Teresa Hulton, the 8th Lady Berwick was of course born in Italy and lived there until marrying Thomas Noel Hill, the 8th Lord in Venice in 1919, after which they returned to England and initially lived at Cronkhill. The picture below shows the welcome from estate workers that greeted the newlyweds on their arrival.
Three other photos of various interior views of Cronkhill are shown below. These were all taken in the period 1919 – 1920 when the 8th Lord and Lady were in residence at the house. The first photo shows a view of the Staircase Hall.
The second photo shows a view of the Drawing Room.
The final photo shows the 8th Lord Berwick sitting at the table in the Dining Room in 1920.
In the photo of the 8th Lord, two items can be seen behind him (a mahogany knife box and a French ormolu table centrepiece) which can now be seen in one of the show rooms at Attingham, so look out for these when you are next here.
The 8th Lord and Lady eventually moved to Attingham in the 1920’s and Cronkhill is now a tenanted property but is open to the public on six days of the year, the first two of which are this coming Friday and Sunday, the 27th and 29th April. If you are coming to Attingham on either of those dates then I would encourage you to make some time to look at Cronkhill as it is really well worth a visit.
Further information on Cronkhill including its opening dates for the year can be found here.