Beningbrough Hall - Drawing room

This was originally two rooms, Beningbrough's principal bedchamber and ante-room, for the use of honoured guests. Probably in the 1830s the dividing wall was taken down to make a larger reception room; the previous division is marked by the ceiling beam. More exquisite carving enlivens the two different carved friezes. In the former bedchamber - the first half of the room - the frieze and the cresting of the chimney-piece include the monogram of John Bouchier and his wife, Mary - 'JMB'. The portraits in the first half of the room - over the fireplace and over the inner door, were once thought to be members of the Bourchier family, but this looks unlikely now. The only certain Bourchier is John Bourchier, the fashionable young man in an ornate brocaded waistcoat, the son of the builder of Beningbrough. He's the man who commissioned the painting of Beningbrough Hall that hangs by the staircase.

Much of the furniture in this room is particularly fine. Between the windows are mirrors with walnut frames intricately inlaid with marquetry and 'oyster' veneer, and matching tables below, similarly inlaid. They may be the work of the royal cabinet-maker, Gerrit Jensen, from about 1690. At the far end of the room is a Queen Anne bureau-bookcase in the same walnut 'oyster' veneer, and a set of mahogany armchairs and sofa, in the Chinese style, from about 1760.
At the far end of the room the full-length portrait of the poet Alexander Pope (112) holds pride of place. Next to him, facing the windows, the man in exotic Turkish dress is John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, who gave his name to the sandwich, or meat between two slices of bread, which he famously ordered when he was too busy to stop for dinner either while at the gambling table or at work as first Earl of the Admiralty.

Drawing room, Beningbrough Hall

Drawing room, Beningbrough Hall
© John MacLean

Download In focus: Drawing Room
Portraits on display in this room