Most of the room settings in the Palladian Hall are original designs for the collection, but this one is based on the Hall at Hatch Court, a house in Somerset built in 1755 to the design of Thomas Prowse. The need to show two floors dictated a scale of only one-tenth actual size. Albert Reeves of Peckham Rye, who made the Hall and all its furniture, started with a cardboard prototype to the scale of half an inch to the foot to test the suitability of the layout and to check the construction of the staircase and other architectural features. For the final model the staircase presented the greatest challenge. The pattern for the tiny balusters was hand carved and 84 replicas were cast. When set in place 20 sections of wood were joined together to produce the curve of the handrail. Mrs Carlisle embroidered 88 inches of stair carpet for the Hall. The pair of oval carpets are also her work. Of the furniture, the pair of torcheres at the foot of the staircase are probably the most fragile pieces in the whole collection. On the walls hang copies of portraits of Mrs Carlisle's grandchildren.
Makers and roles
Albert Reeves, cabinet maker