Long Galleries – Tudor Tuesdays

February 08 2022 | Castle History

The theme for this week’s #TudorTuesdays with Historic Houses is Long Galleries.

The Long Gallery at Hever Castle was constructed in the 16th century and extends across the entire width of the Castle by Thomas Boleyn, Anne’s father.

Long galleries were used for entertaining guests, taking exercise, and displaying art collections. The panelling dates from the 16th century. The ceiling is an early 20th century reconstruction in the Tudor style created by Nathaniel Hitch.

Visitors can see the different residents of Hever Castle since it was built including Anne Boleyn and another of Henry VIII’s six wives, Anne of Cleves in the stained glass coats of arms on display in the Long Gallery.

In 2018 the room underwent a transformation to better tell the story of the Tudors.

The permanent exhibition depicts the saga from the Wars of the Roses to the Reformation through its art collection.

Through 18 original portraits hung in dynastic order the story of the Tudors is told starting from Henry VI and ending with Henry VIII.

Visitors to Hever Castle can experience what a Long Gallery would have looked like during the reign of Henry VIII and trace the history of the Tudors.

The Long Gallery was faithfully restored using innovative lighting, redecoration and the paintings themselves bordered by fabric (depicting whether they were from the York, Lancaster or Tudor families).

Hever Castle worked with Brilliant Lighting on modern lighting for all the original portraits.

For this major new exhibition each painting was individually assessed, and a bespoke LED picture light made for it. Each incredibly discrete fitting was designed to perfectly evenly light each canvas, with the light output also individually fine-tuned to suit each one.

Brilliant Lighting have also designed lighting for the glass case displaying a 17th century Doge’s hat to ensure visitors are able to see the detail of the intricate design.

Previously the Long Gallery was lit with bright spot lights fixed at the top of the wooden panelling pointing upwards and chandeliers on the ceiling.

The new exhibition sees softer lighter to enhance the paintings and be more authentic to the Tudor period.

The attention to detail even extends to the name plates under the portraits which was the role of former antiques dealer Stephen Burrows.

Antique velum was added to pieces of wood and the name of the subject of the portrait and details of the artist written on by a calligrapher. The wood needed to be uniform: “continuity is what you want,” explains Stephen.

Stephen also took great pains to make sure everything looks authentic even down to the nails pinning the wood to the wall which are put in water to look rusty.

As well as the wooden panels Stephen has also restored the case which is displaying the Doge’s hat.

If you enjoyed this item on Long Galleries why not discover the previous #TudorTuesdays news items.