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Behind its powerful fortifications, Raby Castle is a sumptuous family home with many Mediaeval, Regency and Victorian interiors that can be seen during a visit to the Castle.
18th Century Renovation and Innovation - The Entrance Hall, Chapel and Barons' Hall
The Entrance Hall with its elegant Gothic vaulting has been described as "one of the boldest conceptions of its age and the first truly dramatic interior of the Gothic revival". John Carr of York was asked to construct a carriageway in the hall. His work on this was completed by 1787 when the 2nd Earl of Darlington's son returned from his tour of Europe.
The raising of the roof made it possible for carriages to drive right through the hall but effected the High Gothic decorated Chapel (pictured right) above where evidence of its former mediaeval sedilia (the area where the priest would sit) is now half sunk into the floor.
The Barons' Hall, where seven hundred knights once gathered to plot the doomed 'Rising of the North' in 1569, was also affected. In the 1840's, the architect William Burn extended the Hall 17m, over his newly created Octagon Drawing Room, and the original hammerbeam roof was replaced with a more elaborate one. However, the Barons' Hall still retains part of the Minstrels Gallery and a window from the Nevill period.
Meticulous Restoration of a Major Victorian Interior - The Octagon Drawing Room
The Octagon Drawing Room (pictured right) is a most rare survivor of an 1840's room with unchanged decoration, displaying lavish textiles: gold silk lines the eight walls, and the curtains and elaborate swags are of crimson and gold silk.
Modelled in 1848 by Scottish Architect William Burn, Castle records were used in its restoration to re-create one of the most striking and instructive interiors of a period that loved rich and colourful effects.
The 11th Lord Barnard commissioned a 5 year restoration programme, starting in 1993. Much of the original room's paintwork, mouldings and gilding were cleaned and conserved. Where necessary, new silk panels and curtains, which matched the originals, were woven on the only 19th century handlooms still in commercial use in England.
18th & 19th Century Rooms - The Small Drawing Room, Library and Ante-Library
The Small Drawing Room houses a fine collection of sporting paintings under a beautiful plaster ceiling, with mouldings of musical instruments. This fine Regency room reflects, in its atmosphere, both the masculine sporting world of the era and the tranquil landscape seen beyond the large windows.
In the Library, the repetition of fox emblems on the pelmets, cornices and fireplace also reflects the favourite sporting pursuits of the family.
Further along the Ante-Library adjoins, designed by William Burn in 1848. These rooms have many items of furniture, paintings and craftwork created by significant artists and craftsmen of the 18th century. (see Artworks)