The ceiling and cornice were designed by Benjamin Baud, one of the architects who submitted designs in the House of Parliament competition in 1835 (former assistant of Sir Jeffrey Wyattville during alterations to Windsor Castle and the architect of Brompton Cemetary). Castle conservation staff considered the cornice a work of art which required careful cleaning, retouching of both paint and gilding, then being varnished with the same varnish used in fine paintings. They were assisted in this by students just graduated from De Montford University, Lincoln working with our restoration staff as part of the Foundation Educational Programme. Note the delicate colours which are represented in both the ceiling and the chandelier.
The large Venetian chandelier is original to the house and is considered to be the finest Venetian chandelier in England. According to Stourton family records, it was given to Charles, 20th Baron Stourton by King Francis II of Italy (also reported to have been purchased when King Francis was deposed by Garibaldi in 1861). The chandelier is 9ft. 2in. tall.
The 100% silk damask on the walls and drapes were made especially for the house by a weaving firm in the Como district of Italy and required about 500 meters of silk fabric.
The massive Rococo gilt wood mirrors were commissioned by The Lord Hastings for Melton Constable Hall, c1750, and are thought to be by Chippendale. They were stored for many years in a Sotheby’s warehouse and came with three cardboard boxes full of pieces that had fallen off, like a jigsaw puzzle. It took one man three months to refit them back onto the mirror frame and then one whole day for seven men to move them from horizontal to vertical and then hang them onto the wall. 95% of the original gilt was preserved. The carved gilt wood wall sconces are French, c1850.
The carved white marble fire surround is one of the finest in the Gothic style in England and is considered one of the treasures of the castle. The exceptionally fine Japanese cabinet, c1650, is believed to be by Moyant. Its base is c1700. The centre table of carved gilt wood with inlaid top is probably English, late 18c. The gilt wood console tables are Italian c1750. The fine Ormolu and marble torchere is in the Baroque style with a square marble top. The simulated marble column is supported by male and female caryatid figures as capitols of fluted tapering columns with dolphin bases. The Carved Italian Salon suite, c1888, is very unusual and spectacular. It was found in Florida by Dr. Rolph. The Drawing Room suite is giltwood and needlepoint in the Louis XV style. The French Gothic giltwood and polychrome armchairs are very important. Note that each face is different. The carpet is hand made super Chinese in the Aubusson design purchased by Dr. Rolph in London in 1985. The painting is of H.M. Queen Caroline of Brandenburgh-Ansbach, consort to King George II by Charles Jervas c1720. She died in 1737. The other painting is of King George II, an exact copy of the one owned by the National Portrait Gallery and hanging in Beningbrough Hall, Yorkshire.