Saturday, November 14, 2015

Kenwood House Part 2 of 3...

In part two of our trip around Kenwood House we explore the rest of the downstairs. The plans again are shown below (a PDF of the plans can be found here).

From the anteroom to the library we wander through the enfilade that comprises the south face if the house, starting with Lord Mansfield's Dressing Room. This pleasant room, restored with blue/grey painted walls starts to showcase the Iveagh bequest, starting with a portrait of Edward Cecil Guinness, Lord Iveagh, himself...

Above photo from Apollo Magazine.

This room contains several other oil paintings including this one I quite liked, of two boys riding with their dogs:

There was also a small French writing desk and small balloon shaped mantel clock...

Next we enter the breakfast room (which at one stage was two separate rooms, the drawing room and the parlour) which has been restored in a sage green colour...
Above: Two shepherd boys with dogs fighting (Thomas Gainsborough, 1783)

Below: Lady Mary Leslie (Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1764).
Above: The 18th century sofa with gilded wood and blue silk damask.

Below: Detail of same, with matching curtains.
Above: Peter relaxing in a chair taking it all in.

Below: A mechanical wheelchair by John Joseph Merlin 
(seen in portrait above chair in above photo).

Cranking the handle turns the gears on the wheels below.
Merlin has also been credited with inventing the roller skate.

Above: A beautiful 18th century Chippendale style marquetry table with ? satin wood scalloped segments on a rosewood base.

Above: An inlaid writing desk.

Below: Marquetry detail of the same.

Continuing to move west we enter Lady Mansfield's Dressing Room...
Above: Oil painting of long horn cattle being milked on the Kenwood estate (one can see Kenwood house in the background). (Julius Caesar Ibettson, 1979).

Below: A neoclassical dresser.

leaving the dressing room through the doorway into the stairwell of the Deal Staircase,so called as it is made from deal - soft fir or pine boards (dele = plank in German) there was a grandfather clock and another portrait.

Continuing west from the stairwell one enters the Green Room, which has a small vestibule separated from the main part of the room by an archway. Off the vestibule is the orangery. Odd the main room is the music room.

The Green Room is decorated with rococo art and furniture...

Above Lovers in a park and Below Le Pecheur, both the camp results of French rococo artist Francois Boucher renowned for his voluptuous paintings of classical scenes and women, including Madame de Pompadour. Several of his works are on display in The Wallace Collection.

There was also a French boule clock and cabinet...

 The Music Room

The Music Room was added by the 2nd Earl of Mansfield in 1794 (who also commissioned the North East and North West wings, and had Hamstead Lane diverted away from the house to increase the privacy). It contains many portraits, several by Sir Joshua Reynolds, such as that of The Honorable Mrs Tollemache as Miranda (above the sofa on left).

Mrs Jordan as Viola by John Hopner

Above: Portrait of Mary, Countess Howe, by Thomas Gainsborough.

Above: Small 'square' piano.

Below: Chamber organ and harp.

The walls are a pale lilac colour, whilst the soft furnishing are a dark grey/green colour.

There was a lovely arched gilded mirror above the fireplace with an ormolu clock and a pair of basalt urns...

 The black basalt urns made me think of Chronica Domus' basalt ware.

Below: The restrained chandelier hangs from a plaster ceiling detail.

The Dining Room

This is located in the corresponding wing on the other side of the house. The walls are covered in a dark red damask, with gold trim. One of the most famous paintings in the collection hangs here, the Vermeer of  The Guitar Player...

The Guitar Player, Jan Verneer, 1672

 There is also a self portrait of Rembrandt...
Self Portrait, Rembrandt H van Rijn, 1660.

Photos of Dining Room in public domain

The last room to visit on the lower floor is the Orangery, which now used to keep children occupied.

It can be hired for weddings...

The exterior of the Orangery...

In the final post we shall venture upstairs to the upper hall and bedrooms housing the Suffolk Collection.


  1. What a treat this post is! Packed full of beautiful pictures and interesting details.
    Thanks as always

  2. And the tour continues, thank you. This house is packed with treasure but oh, those urns! Would dearly enjoy adding those to my humble little collection of basalt ware.

    I was surprised to see Peter seated. Using chairs in these houses is usually discouraged by the placement of spiky seed pods atop chairs (as is evident in many of the other seating photographs in this post). Good to know that at least a few chairs are accessible for the enjoyment of visitors on those splendid rooms.

    1. Yes, sitting down made it easier to admire the plaster work on some of the ceilings (and also provided some respite for those dragged to their 5th property of the week!)


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