Architecture / Features & Decoration
1.15 m (Height); 35 m (Length); 5 m (Length)
Lanhydrock, Cornwall (Accredited Museum)
Ceiling to the Long Gallery. The decorative plasterwork ceiling is of a barrel vault construction, with interwoven strapwork punctuated with emblematic motifs.
The gallery at Lanhydrock belongs to the 17th Century remodelling of the property under its then owner John Robartes. The decorative plasterwork ceiling is of a barrel vault construction and of a type consistent with contemporary regional styles, with interwoven strapwork punctuated with emblematic motifs. The 24 main panels to either side of the centre of the vault illustrate episodes from the book of Genesis, whilst the animals in the smaller panels are taken from illustrations in volumes by Conrad Gessner and Edward Topsell. The lunettes above the door and the two fireplace overmantels are based on engravings by Ambrosius Francken. A handsome avenue of open pendants with inset figures marks the apex of the ceiling. The ceiling extends to the full length of the North Range of the property at first floor level and originally gave onto another gallery in the East Range. This range was demolished in 1754. A fire in 1881 was responsible for the loss of the majority of the remaining decorative plasterwork at the property. The survival of the plasterwork in the Gallery is a testament to the judgement of its owner, Thomas Charles Robartes, and the architects he commissioned to carry out the repair of the building, Richard Coad and James Maclaren. The significance of the ceiling is well recognised both in terms of its importance within the context of the house itself, but also more widely within the National Trusts portfolio of early 17th Century decorative plasterwork. The scale, quality of craftsmanship and liveliness, as well as the general integrity of the scheme at Lanhydrock also places it amongst the canon of those ceilings that tell the story of English plasterwork.