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Beautiful Rooms - The Palm Room, Spencer House

Thursday, March 18, 2021 - 13:15

The Palm Room at Spencer House is the architectural climax to the ground floor and survives largely as designed by Vardy.

Image Credit: Peter Smith Photography

The fantastical architecture with carved and gilded palm trees is based on John Webb’s design for the King’s Bedchamber at Greenwich Palace, which was then thought to be by Inigo Jones and therefore within the accepted canon of Palladianism. The palm trees were chosen as a symbol of marital fertility and also serve to underline the eighteenth- century belief in the close connection between classical architecture and nature.

The frieze of griffins and candelabra is derived from the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina in Rome and its use at Spencer House is especially apt as the griffin is the heraldic supporter of the Spencer arms.

Vardy’s drawing of 1757 shows the original colouring with the coffers of the dome in the alcove alternately tinted pink and green behind Joseph Rose’s superb plasterwork.

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