The Long Gallery on the south west side is in French 18th century style and would have originally housed Gregory Gregory’s library, picture, and tapestry collection. The tapestry hooks can still be seen high up on the walls. It functioned as a multi-purpose room where people would entertain and exercise when the weather was bad. The house was designed to enable the state rooms to be on the first floor with an elevated view of the Vale of Belvoir, but with access to the gardens from the rear and side of the house. This was achieved by building the house into the side of the hill, enabling servants’ quarters to be located underneath and to the rear.
Today, during semester time the Long Gallery is the venue for biweekly British Studies lectures with up to 185 American students in attendance. It is also a favoured room for wedding breakfasts and other events and can accommodate up 240 seated guests.
The delicate carved paneling and plasterwork are indicative of French 18th century style.
The walls are wood, coated in gesso, and faux bois grained using a technique typical of the mid 19th century. The paneling was redecorated in the 1980s and again recently (2014).
The cloud effect ceiling is thought to be original, although at one time it was erroneously believed that the Jesuit owners (1948-1966) painted over cherubs and nudes because they found them distracting. The photographs below show that this was not the case.
The fireplaces have sliding brass pull-outs to each side to help draw up the fire. Note the Gregory Gregory (GG) insignia on the fire backs.
Four of the Seven Deadly Sins can be seen depicted in marble over the doorways leading to the garden and conservatory – Deceit (mask), Jealousy (serpents), Pride (peacock/swan), and Malice (lizard).
Photography: L Dawes
Above the doorway to the Ante Room is an Elizabeth I coat of arms.
There is a servants’ access spiral staircase in the far corner which serves all three floors, currently used as a fire escape.
All of the windows are provided with sliding shutters. From the Long Gallery windows, the stone balustrading seen in the gardens was brought from the original Elizabethan manor house in the village, which, along with a nearby iron gate and the griffin-like figures on pedestals, are the only features which were saved.
Information about the paintings.
The Long Gallery in earlier times
The Long Gallery was formerly known as the Tapestry Gallery. “The walls of this splendid gallery are decorated with Gobelin tapestry, wrought so perfectly and artistically as to equal oil paintings. They were brought from Paris where they were originally intended for one of the royal palaces. The two pieces over the fireplaces – “Vulcan forging the Bolts of Jove” and “Bacchus” are very large. The chairs and sofa are covered with Obisson tapestry richly wrought. On the marqueterie tables are a crystal casket, Florentine ditto, Japan and China vases, cabinet of gems etc. On a marble slab within the western bay is a Chinese idol, whose strange faculties are hideously portrayed. An elaborate ebony cabinet, and another one inlaid with mother-of-pearl are distinguishable objects. A pair of boxwood frames representing fruit and flowers are exquisite carvings by the celebrated Grinling Gibbons.”
From Reminiscences of a visit to Harlaxton Manor House, The Grantham Journal, Saturday June 4, 1859.