Gawthorpe Hall's Long Gallery
In an earlier post, I mentioned that on Sundays I work as a volunteer room guide for the National Trust at Gawthorpe Hall. Most frequently, I find myself in the Long Gallery.
Long galleries were popular components of Elizabethan and Jacobean houses. They provided elegant, safe, and spacious accommodation for taking a little light exercise - particularly important for the ladies of the house, whose freedom of movement would have been somewhat circumscribed, particularly in inclement weather.
The walls were often hung with portraits of family members, making the long gallery a kind of 'show-off' space, where the head of the house could extol the virtues of family ancestors. The portraits at Gawthorpe today are all on loan from the National Portrait Gallery and are of notable (or quasi-notable!) seventeenth century characters, such as Samuel Pepys and Thomas Killigrew.
The portrait on the left of this picture is of Abraham Cowley. Now almost forgotten outside of University English Departments, he was considered by John Milton and Alexander Pope to be one of the foremost poets of his generation.
The Long Gallery at Gawthorpe Hall was also used for the Rent Dinner at Michaelmas, when tenants of lands and buildings owned by the Hall came to pay their rent.
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