Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Long Gallery...

It has been a while since We wrote a post about interiors, having been tied up with ensuring the Winter planting was completed, and posting about the various gardening projects. Ergo, I cast my eyes over the plans to see which aspect of the house I could write about, and it found one - the Long Gallery.

A Long Gallery is an architectural term given to a long, narrow room, often with a high ceiling. In British architecture, long galleries were popular in Elizabethan and Jacobean houses. They were often located on the upper floor of the great houses of the time, and stretched across the entire frontage of the building. They served several purposes: they were used for entertaining guests, for taking exercise in the form of walking when the weather was inclement, and for displaying art collections.

A long gallery has the appearance of a spacious corridor, but it was designed as a room to be used in its own right, not as a means of passing from one room to another. In the 16th century, the seemingly obvious concept of the corridor had not been introduced to British domestic architecture: rooms were entered from outside, or by passing from one room to another.

Above: One of the passageways at Castle Howard. This is what I would like the Long Gallery at Willowbrook to resemble. It is not a true room, but a 2 metre wide galleried corridor from the second floor gallery, opening out onto the balcony above the main entrance.

It will be useful for displaying our busts and artwork, especially as the front of the house is on the south side (the cold side in the southern hemisphere), and thus will not have too much light to fade the artwork.

More famous Long Galleries...

Above: The Long Gallery at Powis Castle

Below: The Long Gallery at Belcourt

Below: The Victorian Gothic Long Gallery at Strawberry Hill

Below: The Long Gallery at Castle Howard

Below: The Long Gallery at Seaton Delaval Hall

Below: Penshurst

Below: Hatfield House

Below: Syon Park


  1. Very true. They were indeed used for:
    1. entertaining guests,
    2. exercise by vigorous walking when the weather was inclement and 3. displaying art collections.

    But as your photos show, some long galleries were narrow and some were wide; some were chockablock full of furniture on both sides of the floor and some concentrated solely on the paintings and sculpture at eye level; some were panelled with dark timber and had little natural light while others had natural light flooding onto light coloured natural stone walls.

    I would give my eye teeth to have a long gallery, especially as you suggest stretched across the entire frontage of the building - with a long view over the estate :)

  2. Wow indeed! Roller skates needed here. Another lovely drool-worthy post David.
    Millie xx


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