The Destruction of the Country House


Salon IFA had an interesting report on the export of British Heritage.

'In 1974 Harris, Roy Strong FSA and Marcus Binney FSA co-curated the Destruction of the Country House exhibition at the V&A, which encouraged the founding of SAVE Britain's Heritage, of which Binney is currently Executive President and Harris a Trustee. Now, according to the Observer, Strong and Harris are hoping Britain’s ‘lost heritage’ can be tracked down.

From the 1880s to the 1940s entire historic interiors were shipped across the Atlantic, to be bought by the likes of William Randolph Hearst, John D Rockefeller, JP Morgan and Henry Frick. The owners of Gwydir Castle, Conwy, have been searching for 16th-century decorative carved oak panelling, stripped from the castle and sold to Hearst in 1921, without success. Strong told the Observer: ‘There were ship-loads of early English portraits exported, not just grand things. There’s English sculpture – how much of that went to America? We don’t know. There were no export controls. A large proportion of Britain’s art history from the 16th to 18th centuries may be missing.''

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