The Tapestry Drawing Room

This room is little altered since Lord Lyttelton’s original conception and represents perfectly the Rococo style with the legendary Ho-Ho birds on the pier glasses.

The marvellously preserved tapestries, with brilliantly coloured pheasants, parrots and eagles among garlands of flowers and fruit, were woven by Joshua Morris at the Soho factory in 1725, probably to designs by Andien de Clermont. Acquired in 1752, the tapestries dictated the design of the room. In October 1758, Lord Lyttelton wrote that ‘Athenian’ Stuart (who also designed the Doric Temple in the Park) “has engaged to paint me four pretty little Zephyrs in my drawing-room ceiling”, which is ornamented with flowers in stucco. Although these are painted directly on to the plaster, the centre panel of Flora is on canvas and believed to have originally been painted by Cipriani.

The carved and gilded overmantel mirror and picture frames are by Chippendale. and the superb console tables and pier glasses with their original glass are probably by the same hand as those at Petworth and at Holkham which were carved by Samuel Norman and James Whittle. The seat furniture and firescreen are upholstered to match the Soho tapestries, and are close in style to the work of Paul Saunders. The Louis XVI bureau is made of tulip wood with ormolu mounts.

The portraits are of Lord Lyttelton’s five closest allies by the fashionable artists of the time. Over the Gallery door hangs Henry Pelham by Shackleton, then the Earl of Chesterfield by Van Loo, William Pulteney, Earl of Bath, by Ramsay, the Viscount Cobham (Lord Lyttelton’s cousin) by Van Loo and the Earl of Hardwicke by Ramsay.

These portraits in their Chippendale frames, the pier glasses, the Tapestries and the tapestry furniture now belongs to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. They were given in lieu of Inheritance tax following the death of Charles, the 10th Viscount Cobham.