The Drawing Room

This room, along with the Saloon, retains its original late eighteenth-century plasterwork ceiling. The white marble chimney-piece, with its central plaque of a reclining Muse, is also original to the room, which was redecorated in 1988 by Miss Imogen Taylor.

Some of the Italian paintings here were bought by the 1st Lord Faringdon, but the majority were acquired by the 2nd Lord Faringdon. The most recently acquired is the one that dominates the room: the beautifully preserved painting by Giovanni Battista Pace of St Jerome (no.42), which was in the Barberini Collection in Rome until 1964.  The asymmetrical composition of the Mystic Marriage of St Catherine, by Palma Vecchio (no.46), over the fireplace, is explained by the fact that the figure of the Baptist has been cut away from the left.  Tondi (circular paintings) hang on either side: on the right is The Holy Family with St John the Baptist by Sandro Botticelli (no. 47), and on the left is Madonna and Child with the Infant St John by a follower of Leonardo (no. 45).


Most of the furniture acquired for this room by the 2nd Lord Faringdon dates from the period immediately after Loveden’s building of the house – that is to say, the 1780s and 1790s – and is thus particularly appropriate in these surroundings. It includes a collection of satinwood and rosewood pieces, remarkable for their painted peacock-feather decoration, six painted shield-back chairs, of which the matching sofa is in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, a pair of semi-circular card-tables and two Pembroke tables. The pair of convex-fronted side-tables, set on either side of the fireplace, are reputed to have been given to Lady Hamilton by Nelson.


The set of six oval-back chairs and settee in giltwood are in the Adam style of about 1775. The writing-table, on which stands a French Empire ormolu mantel-clock attributed to the bronzier Jean-André Reiche, is a good example of a Carlton House desk. So named, according to Rudolf Ackerman in his Repository of Arts of 1809–28, ‘from having been first made for the August personage whose correct taste has so classically embellished that beautiful place’.  The prototype Carlton House desk was probably made by Robert Campbell around 1780–90.  Both Hepplewhite and Sheraton published patterns in 1795 and 1802, respectively, and several leading cabinet-makers produced their own versions, including Gillows, who may have made this particular desk.  


On the chimney-piece is a small clock in ormolu and lapis lazuli by James Cox (fl.1760–88), designed as a two-handled vase. The chandelier is English, originally from Devonshire House, in Piccadilly, and is one of a rare series evolved by Perry & Co. in the 1830s, which dispensed entirely with drops and relied instead for its brilliance and luminosity on the sculptural properties of the glass.


The freestanding bracket cabinet of two tiers is in the style of the eighteenth-century designer, Robert Adam, and was commissioned from Thomas Messel in 2012 to house a collection of Maiolica plates purchased at auction in 1950 from the collection of Henry Harris, and three portrait miniatures. The larger of the miniatures in the centre of the lower vitrine is of Edward Loveden Loveden (c1749-1822) who was responsible for the building of Buscot Park between 1780 and 1783. The left-hand miniature is of the 1st Lady Faringdon (1854-1920), the present Lord Faringdon's paternal great-grandmother, whilst the miniature on the right is of his maternal great-grandmother, the Countess of Donoughmore, who was from Tasmania.


Ceramics, Sculpture and Objets d'Art

On the side-tables are two seventeenth-century Italian earthenware chargers, painted in pale blue, a German rock-crystal bowl supported by a satyr modelled in ormolu, a Viennese early eighteenth-century rock-crystal and enamelled casket, and an early nineteenth-century Wedgwood vase in the form of an Egyptian canopic jar and cover. On the table behind the sofa, the four new bronzes are the work of Professor Cenci of Florence.


Further objets d’art include a collection of Derbyshire fluorspar or ‘Blue John’ (some of it on the chimney-piece); three Kangxi (1662–1722) cloisonné enamel koros (incense burners) with bronze mounts; a seventeenth-century statue of the Virgin and Child in semi-precious stones, possibly from the Florentine Grand-Ducal workshops; and a Spanish carved ivory figure of the Virgin of the same date or slightly later. Especially fine are the various Italian dishes and tazzas, mainly of maiolica made in Urbino in the mid-sixteenth century, and purchased when the Henry Harris collection was put up for sale in 1950. The dish painted with Scipio volunteering to command a Roman army (c.1545) is the work of Francesco Durantino, one of the most prolific of the Urbino maiolica painters.  Also by Durantino is the bowl depicting the Death of Aeneas and the dish showing the stories of Echo and Narcissus, from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.


Other classical subjects include the Sword of Damocles, the Bath of Venus and Apollo in his chariot, while one bowl is decorated with Adam and Eve and the Sacrifice of Cain, and another has animal and bird motifs.

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