The Corridor

A high-ceilinged, narrow corridor runs through the center of the house, cuts through the entrance hall, and leads from the Study in the west to the Ballroom in the east. The chandeliers in the Corridor are scaled-down replicas of Waterford Glass chandeliers presented by Lord and Lady Iveagh to Westminster Abbey on its 900th anniversary in the 1960's. The replicas were also made by Waterford Glass.

Three tapestries, which were either designed or inspired by David Teniers, hang on the Corridor walls. Born in Antwerp in 1610, Teniers was the second of three generations of artists bearing the same name -father, son and grandson. He is best known for his genre studies of Dutch peasants from which these tapestries are derived. They appear to have been purchased by Edward Cecil Guinness in November 1884; an entry in his memorandum book records the purchase of tapestries from the London art and antique dealers Duveen. An account of the tapestries' provenance suggests that they belonged to Lord Overstone, a banker and one of the richest men in England, who died in 1883, and subsequently to his daughter and heir, Lady Wantage.

Corridor

H.C. Marillier has identified the weaver of these pieces as Jacques van der Borcht, and dates them to the 1690s. Van der Borcht usually signed his name in its Latin version 'A CASTRO' which can be seen on one of these works. He and a colleague, Jerome (or Hieronymus) Le Clerc, were probably responsible for introducing these Teniers genre scenes which proved enormously popular. Various artists were employed to draw out the cartoons, from which the weavers worked in fine pitch, using a considerable range of colour, which earned them the description 'fins Teniers' as distinct from the coarser Teniers works made elsewhere.

The tapestries here are bordered with a repeating pattern of acanthus leaves alternating with flowers on a brown ground. They all have, in the centre of the upper border, the arms of Filippo Archinto of Milan (1644- 1712) together with the motto Laus et Laurus Archintaea ('Praise and Glory to Archinto'). They consist of three 'landscape-style' pieces, the Kermesse or Village Fete, Return from Harvest and Milking Scene.

The Kermesse or Village Fete is a scene of village life with three gabled buildings in the background. It features a feasting group, a man and woman dancing to a bagpiper standing on a barrel, and a hurdy-gurdy man playing to a group of little children under a tree.

The Milking Scene tapestry is a landscape with a wooded hill and a casde. Below is a grouping of animals with two milkmaids and two youths, one leaning on a donkey, the other seated on a mound with a long stick by his side. This was a favoured subject of van der Borcht. In the lower right-hand comer of the inner field is the weaver's mark: L VR.BORCHT ACASTRO, and in the lower right-hand edge of this tapestry is another mark -two Bs separated by a heart -showing the origin to be Brussels/Brabant.

The Return from Harvest depicts a wide, open landscape with rising ground and trees, and a castle to the right. Men are scything, gathering the harvest, a farmer is returning from the cornfields on his ass with a dog running in front of him. A couple are holding hands, probably dancing, with others dancing to the sound of the bagpipe, while another couple sit on a bank opposite. This is inscribed D. TEMERS.FEC. at the lower left of the inner field.