I was determined this time to have a look at the interior of the Hall especially as one of the church crawling group on twitter had shown photos of a rather superb Court Mantua dress from Georgian times.
Berrington Hall was built in 1778-81 for a Thomas Harley, son of the 3rd Earl of Oxford. It was designed by Architect Henry Holland. The interior illustrates his refined Louis XVI style. There are mythological references to the marriage of Harley's daughter Anne to George the eldest son of Admiral Rodney.
The hall has a grand Ionic portico.
You enter the house via the Marble Hall which was inspired by French neo Classicism introduced to England in the 1770's by Henry Holland.
Classical plaster roundels of trophies of arms.
At this stage I got a bit confused over the rooms! To be honest the house had more visitors than I felt comfortable with and I spent a bit of time dawdling and lingering to try and get away from a huge group who seem to have entered at the same time as me. But as they were reading every bit of information going in the end I decided to continue.
Lady Cawley's Sitting Room
The area around the Staircase Hall and Grand Staircase
The next few rooms were full of exhibits for the "Dress Fit For a King" exhibition of Georgian dresses.
In 2016 Christie's Auction House contacted the National Trust to say that Ann Harley's Court Mantua which she would have worn to court to meet King George III probably when her husband was Mayor of London 1767/68 was coming up for auction.
Ann Harley was the daughter of Edward Bangham MP and the wife of the Hon. Thomas Harley 1730 - 1804. The National Trust placed a successful bid and the dress arrived in 10 separate pieces. The dress was restored throughout 2019. A section of sleeve was missing and part of the stomacher. New technology has enable restorers to produce new fabric to replace the missing sleeve
One room contained replica court mantua dresses showing how the dress design changed over the years.
1708/9 (Queen Anne)
1735/40 (George II)
1760's/70's (George III)
Late 1760's (George III)
1750's - 1770's (George II and George III)
And a photo of THE dress I had come to see.
I came out of the exhibition on replica court mantuas to find myself at the top of the servant's stairs so where was THE dress. Somehow I had missed it so I had to retrace my steps to the top of the stairs and ask the guide and there it was hidden away in a room which had been surrounded by people when I arrived hence me missing it!
Isn't it gorgeous?! Although I really would not want to wear it!
The fabric is cream ribbed silk brocade with coloured silk and gold threads.
Back to the house tour and the Dining Room
I spotted this in the library.
I think some parts of the house were closed ie the Nurseries and the Servants' Quarters.
Leaving the house I met up with B for an icecream and final look at the walled garden. We later packed and came home in the early evening.
I hope we can return to Herefordshire soon although the ominous news is that the massive rebuilding work in the adjoining semi appears imminent as there are signs they are about to move out. No sign of any Party Wall Agreement from them though! I suspect they will just move out and the builders will appear. I won't go into detail but I am sure you can imagine that I now wish we had made a real effort into moving before all this started although there have been various reasons that have made this difficult which I won't go into here.
I hope everyone is staying safe and well.
All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera (I don't particularly rate most of my photos but if anyone wises to use one I would be grateful please for an email first).
Reference: National Trust Guide Book to Berrington Hall
National Trust Website Berrington Hall sections