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We have our own whale!

Long Gallery

The Long Gallery, forming the upper floor of the west front, was completed by the close of the sixteenth century, although none of the present interior dates from this time. The bolection-moulded panelling dates from the late seventeenth century, as does the marble fireplace in the far bay. The bookcases were installed in the 1740s and the neo-Jacobean decorative plasterwork on the ceiling and frieze dates from the 1830s when the Clifford Constables undertook a programme of extensive redecoration.

When Dame Margaret Constable was given leave to ‘walke at her pleasure’ in a written agreement of 1610, the Long Gallery would have been sparsely furnished, and probably remained as such throughout the seventeenth century. There would have been relatively little furniture apart from a few chairs and one or two chests and the floor would either have been bare oak boards or covered with matting. All this changed when, in the 1740s, Cuthbert Constable ordered the estate joiner Thomas Higham to cut away parts of the bolection-moulded panelling and construct thirteen large elm and mahogany bookcases to accommodate his considerable library.

In 1833 the Clifford Constables began the restoration of the Long Gallery. The elaborate decorative plasterwork ceiling and frieze was installed, although it was not until 1854, when the firm of William Binks & Son of Hull was employed to paint the ceiling, that the frieze was ‘picked out in scarlet’. The room was sumptuously furnished with new curtain hangings, a new carpet, and richly carved and gilded furniture. The sphinx tables by Giuseppe Leonardi (fl.1781-1811), with marble tops by the mosaicist Giacomo Raffaelli (1753-1836), were purchased by Sir Clifford Constable and his wife Marianne when they were in Rome on their honeymoon tour. 

Lady Margaret Dormer

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