Beningbrough Hall - Dining Room

The Dining Hall, Beningbrough Hall

The Dining Hall, Beningbrough Hall
© John MacLean

The Bourchiers probably called this room 'The Great Parlour' and ate most of their dinners here. The term 'dining room' was rarely used before the mid eighteenth century. The Bourchiers would have kept this room sparsely furnished, with chairs pushed back against the wall as now and tables brought in as required. As here parlours were traditionally panelled, rather than hung with fabric which retained the smell of stale food.

The walls are double hung with portraits from Sir Godfrey Kneller's famous Kit-Cat Club series, still in their original matching gilt frames. The club met at Christopher Cat's Fleet Street tavern and took its name from his mutton pies, known as 'Kit cats'. The members were writers and politicians pledged to uphold the 1688 Revolution and to defeat the Catholic King of France, Louis XIV. Among the more notorious was Charles Mohun, twice tried from murder before he was twenty. Within the limits of the half-length format, Kneller demonstrated his considerable skill in varying pose and mood to suit the sitter. The other half of the Kit-Cat Club group are on display at the National Portrait Gallery.

From the windows one can enjoy fine views over the open parkland which was laid out in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth-centuries to the south of the house.

Download: In focus Portraits on display in this room