That an Englishman’s home is his castle, is a well used phrase about the English love affair with their own bricks and mortar. But in the eighteenth century it might as well have been stated that an Englishman’s home was his own classical Arcadia. During that century countless English gentlemen were sent off on the Grand Tour to finish their education and many came back with a passion for all things classical, and quite often they came back with a treasure trove of antiquities as souvenirs (both authentic and fake).
One such Grand Tourist who returned to England with a particularly spectacular classical vision was Thomas Coke (1697 1759) 1st Earl of Leicester (fifth creation).
Coke set off on his grand tour between 1712 -1718 and came back not only with an extensive new library, an enviable collection of art and classical sculpture, but also with a BIG idea. He…
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