Ickworth House's striking Neoclassical facade dominates the Suffolk countryside outside Bury St Edmunds.
With over 1,800 acres of parkland designed by Capability Brown, the house and its grounds were created as an homage to Italy, the country so beloved by Frederick Augustus Hervey, the 4th Earl of Bristol. The Earl-Bishop spent his life travelling the continent, gathering together a vast collection of paintings, sculpture and artefacts. Already possessed of several houses, he conceived Ickworth primarily as a museum for his treasures. At his death only the Rotunda - the giant circular structure at the centre of the two wings, described by Hervey's wife as 'a stupendous moment of Folly' - was nearing completion. The house was eventually finished by his son.
Although Hervey's treasures, confiscated during the French invasion of Italy, were destined never to occupy Ickworth, his descendants made it their life's work to rebuild what has become an exceptional collection of art and silver. Paintings housed in the galleries include works by Velázquez, Titian and Poussin, while the collection of 18th-century portraits of the family is exceptionally fine, featuring canvases by Gainsborough, Reynolds, Vigée-Lebrun and Hogarth. In addition to one of the very best British collections of Georgian Huguenot silver, Ickworth is also home to an impressive array of Regency furniture, porcelain, and domestic objects.