The Drawing Room
In a country house like Kiplin, the Drawing Room displayed the family’s best furniture and paintings. When Christopher Crowe owned the Hall, he added the room’s Georgian ceiling mouldings and dado rail. Here he displayed some of the paintings and other items purchased when he was British Consul in Livorno, such as the 17th century view of An Italian Palace through a Colonnade to the right of the fireplace.
While in Italy, Christopher Crowe also acquired a set of charming little pietra dura (hard stone – marble and other coloured stones) scenes of the Italian countryside. He or his son commissioned the fine Chinese Chippendale-style cabinet to house the panels. Behind each one is a drawer or cupboard where he perhaps kept documents or smaller items such as antique coins or seals.
Other paintings belonged to the Carpenter family, including Sir William Beechey’s large portrait of Elizabeth Carpenter with her son George, later 3rd Earl of Tyrconnel, painted in about 1795. The small portraits to the right are of George, 2nd Earl of Tyrconnel, by Beatrice Carpenter after the original by John Downman, John, Lord Delaval, and his wife, Susannah, of Seaton Delaval Hall in Northumberland by Downman, and Mrs Robert Crowe by Sir Thomas Lawrence.
To the left of the fireplace is Elizabeth’s husband, Charles Carpenter, by David Allan and, below, a delightful portrait of his elder brother, George, later 2nd Earl of Tyrconnel, originally attributed to Sir Joshua Reynolds. Their mother, Frances Clifton, Countess of Tyrconnel, by Gainsborough Dupont hangs above the door to the left, looking rather formidable. Her portrait as a young bride is at the foot of the staircase.
Admiral Carpenter’s three sisters were famed for their beauty and all married very well. Adelaide Talbot, on the left, became Countess Brownlow of Belton House and Ashridge Park, Constance Talbot in the centre became the Marchioness of Lothian of Blickling Hall, while Gertrude Talbot on the right became the Countess of Pembroke of Wilton House. They were all painted by the celebrated Victorian artist and family friend, G.F. Watts. A watercolour copy by Beatrice Carpenter of Watts’s portrait of their father, Henry John Chetwynd-Talbot, 18th Earl of Shrewsbury, hangs opposite above the door into the Hall.
Most of the furniture in the Drawing Room is Georgian. It may have belonged to the Crowes or been brought to Kiplin by the 4th Earl of Tyrconnel in 1818. The desk is a Louis XV style kingwood bureau plat, while the pretty, mid-18th century, marquetry side chair nearby in the corner is Dutch. The 19th century marble fireplace has Arts and Crafts Longden tiles designed by Philip Webb in about 1877. The marble-topped rosewood and gilt pier tables on either side date from about 1810. The china in the large bookcase is a mixture of surviving family pieces. On the mantelpiece and tables are copies of late 19th and early 20th century photographs of the Talbot and Carpenter families from the family scrapbooks.