Architecture / Features & Decoration
Lime plaster, oil paint and gilding
8.17 x 8.25 metres
Berrington Hall, Herefordshire (Accredited Museum)
Staircase Hall ceiling The staircase Hall fills the middle of the house and shows Holland’s mastery of complex and dramatic spatial effects. The hall is lit by a glass dome in the centre of the hall ceiling. At first floor level the hall is circumscribed by scagliola columns and pilasters. Columns support lintels dividing the main staircase ceiling from those above corridors to the south and west sides. The landing below the ceiling on its north side gives onto an alcove. Decorated ceilings extend over the west side corridor, the north alcove as well as atground floor level to the arched soffit under the north landing. The skylight is divided into four sections with a web of delicate metal ribs supporting the glass within each quadrant. The centre of the dome is decorated with a rosette and further enrichments punctuate both the quadrant ribs and the thin metal rib intersections between them. The base of the dome is circumscribed by a frieze ornamented with swags and rams heads. The plasterwork compartments framing the skylight are painted a light blue with grisaille medallions against a pink background to each corner. Further rosettes punctuate the spaces between these panels. Similar enrichments continue the scheme to the adjacent west landing and north alcove with gilding used throughout to highlight the decorative plasterwork. A narrow frieze and cornice, similarly enriched, circumscribes the ceiling. The original decoration is considered to have been plainer.
The ceiling is contemporary with Henry Hollands original design. Architectural features both internal and external including decorative schemes and fixtures all accepted in lieu of death-duties, along with the buildings and estate, and transferred to the National Trust in 1957.