Picture Post: Novel background of Castle Howard’s stunning temple

Temple of the Four Winds at Castle Howard. Picture: Scott Merrylees
Temple of the Four Winds at Castle Howard. Picture: Scott Merrylees
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When the Temple of the Four Winds was completed in 1738, those involved in its painstaking creation on the Castle Howard estate would surely have hoped it would be known the world over centuries later - but could not have been able to imagine the precise way that has come to pass.

Castle Howard, near York, is one of the nation’s finest stately homes and estates but since 1981 has been synonymous with Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited after the much-loved television adaptation of the book was filmed in the grounds.

Filmmakers returned to Castle Howard in 2008 to shoot a cinematic version and in both the film and the television series, The Temple of the Four Winds was the location for a frivolous day of wine-tasting and indulgence for central characters Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte.

Building of Castle Howard began in 1699 and took more than 100 years to complete, with work on The Temple of the Four Winds starting in 1724 and not being completed until 1738.

Architect Sir John Vanbrugh who designed the temple modelled on the Villa La Rotonda is a Renaissance villa just outside Vicenza in Italy did not live to see its completion, dying in 1726.

Originally known as the Temple of Diana, it was used as a place for refreshment and reading for the Howard family, while a cellar below was a space for servants to prepare food in.

In the 1950s, the Temple of the Four Winds was restored by George Howard, who also opened up the house and grounds to the public in the same decade.

It was one of the first major restoration projects in the grounds following the Second World War and involved a new dome, stonework, interior and floor.

In 2001, the Temple’s steps were restored and the venue is now regularly used for weddings.

With stunning views over the nearby hills, its fascinating history and literary connection, it is no surprise the romance and grandeur of the temple provides a irresistible and novel attraction for many couples.

Technical details: Nikon D3s, 80-200mm lens, exposure of 1/250th sec @ f5.6, ISO 400. Picture: Scott Merrylees