Decorated and furnished in the grand manner of the mid-19th century, this room not only retains its fine Jacobean plasterwork but also fulfils its original 17th-century purpose as a portrait gallery. The date 1603 and the royal arms of James I are in the plasterwork of the overmantel, carefully preserved during the replacement of the stone fire surround in 1851. A Pugin fire grate was fitted at the same time, but the tiles are late 19th-century by William De Morgan. Classical doorcases in the same style as the Staircase were set up in 1852, and the walls were hung with a rich flock paper designed by Pugin. This paper has been reprinted from fragments found long after the original paper had been destroyed. The pattern, inspired by 15th-century Italian textiles, is in two colours of flock with gilding, on a vellum ground. The portraits, from the National Portrait Gallery, are of noted figures in politics and the arts in the second half of the 17th century. They include full-lengths by Kneller of the earls of Oxford and Rochester (at either end of the room); an early Charles II, from the studio of J.M. Wright, alongside a version of Lely’s Duchess of Cleveland (to the right of the fireplace); and an interesting costume portrait of Eleanor James, mantled in lace of the 1690s. The oak furniture is mostly of 16th- and 17th-century origin, although many of the chairs, chests and cupboards were put together in the mid-19th century, reusing various pieces from the earlier period.
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