Burghley House

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Things to do


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September, 2019

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This is one of a series of detailed reviews I have written about Burghley House.

The series of rooms along the west wing were originally the long gallery of the Tudor house but was turned into a series of interconnecting rooms to house the paintings collected by the 5th Earl.

The first of the state rooms in the west wing is QUEEN ELIZABETH’S BEDROOM, although she never actually slept here and the room wasn’t finished until after her death. The splendid state bed is C17th and the tester and headboard are the originals. The curtains, bedspread and bed skirt were replaced to the original design in the 1980s. The false marble decoration is a recreation of the original decoration. Gobelin tapestries hang from the walls.

The PAGODA ROOM takes its name from the two small C18th mother of pearl pagodas displayed in it. This is a very homely room with panelled walls, plaster ceiling and is now used as a study with a central desk. On the walls are family portraits including that of William Cecil.

There are also many royal portraits including a copy of Van Dyck’s Charles II as a boy with his brothers. On either side are portraits of Charles I and Henrietta Maria. There is even a portrait of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England.

Off the Pagoda Room are two small closets. One contains an early C20th bathroom and the other is a dressing room.

Beyond the Pagoda Room is the BLUE SILK BEDROOM dominated by a wonderful C18th state bed made for the 9th Earl. Walls are covered with tapestries and the lovely marquetry furniture decorated with flowers is French. The story is that this was intended for Louis XIV, the Sun King, but he rejected it and it was bought by the 5th Earl.

Next to it is the BLUE SILK DRESSING ROOM with its marble painted panels below blue silk wall coverings hung with gilt framed pictures. In the centre of the room is an C18th Chinese export lacquer table which can be used to play blackgammon, chess or cards. The flaps can be folded over to allow it to be used as a tea table. The blue and white porcelain arranged above the fireplace is mainly C17th Chinese.

This is the last of the rooms with a decorative plaster ceiling, beyond they all have painted ceilings.


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