At Kiplin Hall you’ll encounter of stories about adventure enjoyed by members of the four families who lived there – the Calverts, Crowes, Carpenters, and Talbots. We’d like to share a glimpse through the keyhole, exploring a different room each week. This week we wander through the Long Gallery

From the Traveller’s Bedroom described last week, visitors would ordinarily move up another level to the top floor and enter the Long Gallery where they finish their exploration of the hall. However, the new route to explore Kiplin Hall and maintain social distancing brings visitors up the back stairs from the main entrance, starting their journey on the second floor.

Long Galleries provided space for gentle indoor exercise during bad weather, such as walking and playing indoor bowls. They were also often used as picture galleries in which to hang portraits of the family’s illustrious ancestors.

Most of the paintings and furniture in this room date from the 16th and 17th Centuries, but it isn’t always possible to tell which family brought them here.

The Long Gallery was thought to be the most important surviving room from the Jacobean Hall, but galleries usually run across rather than through the centre of 16th and 17th Century houses.

The Northern Echo:

The Long Gallery in Kiplin Hall, a room for indoor exercise and art displays

The roof at Kiplin reveals that two galleries originally ran across Kiplin Hall. The Long Gallery as we see it today, with its decorative door surrounds, fireplace and dado rail was created in the 18th century by the Crowe family. It is 70ft long and runs from the East Tower to the West Tower.

The most magnificent works of art in the Long Gallery are The Piazza di San Marco, Venice, during a Carnival by Luca Carlevarijs, and, at the other side of the tapestry, A View of the Molo with the Doge’s Palace, looking west towards Santa Maria della Salute. Christopher Crowe commissioned these two paintings and four or more other views of Venice from the artist between 1705 and 1715, when he was British Consul at Livorno (Leghorn). Miss Talbot, the last owner of Kiplin Hall, sold two shortly before her death in 1971 and a third painting was sold in 2005. One of these is a copy of the painting sold in 2005 and one an original by Carlevarijs. Visitors can ask the volunteer on duty if you aren’t sure which is which.

The Northern Echo:

From the Long Gallery you can enjoy views across the lake, towards the folly in the distance. Visitors can walk through the grounds and around the lake's edge in a circular route for around one mile

The tapestry between these paintings is early 17th Century Flemish and shows an Old Testament scene from the story of Elijah and the Priests of Baal, where the prophet is calling on God to light his sacrificial fire. Other significant works that speak of status, overseas travel and influence include the painting above the fire of King James I by John de Critz. And Portrait of a Gentleman, after Sir Anthony Van Dyck. Born in Belgium, Van Dyck came to London in 1620 and entered the service of James I in 1621. He was the supreme portrait painter at the court of Charles I, whose portrait hangs above the fireplace in the library at Kiplin, and whose head chopping block can be found in the dining room. The portrait of a young boy is from the circle of Murillo who was one of the greatest and most prolific of the Spanish Baroque artists. Other paintings hail from the Florentine School, c.1500, the Hispano-Flemish School, 1615, and one artist was an heir of Raphael.

The Northern Echo:

Charlie Crocodile up close

The windows allow for impressive views across the parkland, and the over the waters of the lake towards the folly. A wonderful room to take a stroll. You can imagine a room like this proving useful to residents in a lockdown situation. When you visit keep an eye out for the lurking stuffed crocodile. He is called Charlie and we have no idea how he came to be at Kiplin.