Spotlight on the Castle: The Drawing Room

Castle, History

Drawing Room

Originally used in Tudor times as the domestic offices, William Waldorf Astor converted this room into the Drawing Room in 1905. Designed and panelled by the architect Frank Loughborough Pearson, the beautiful panels are made from oak, bog-oak and holly and are each unique with the exception of one duplicate.

The gorgeous panels in this room were inspired by the Elizabethan Inlaid Chamber at Sizergh Castle, Cumbria. Adding a sense of intrigue, a secret door is cleverly integrated into the panelling, behind which the Astors hid their drinks cabinet and access to a turret can be gained.

Astor entertained his guests in lavish style in the Drawing Room and pre-dinner drinks would have been served here. Renowned for their hospitality, the Astors socialised with royalty, prime ministers and many well-known people. Queen Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and George Bernard Shaw were all among their guests.

Authenticity was important to Astor when designing and creating the rooms in the castle, and wherever possible he ensured that his workmen used the same materials and tools as Tudor and Elizabethan craftsmen.

He managed, however, to successfully harmonise history with 20th Century convenience and comforts and there are several interesting items in this room that are testament to this. For example, a semi-circular satinwood George III commode has been converted to house a record player. There is also a Blüthner baby grand piano in rosewood satin finish (c.1922) in the Drawing Room, whilst the impressive carpet (c.1890-1900) is from Eastern Turkestan and would have taken a large team of people around eight years to make.

Discover more about the Castle rooms here.

Also to find out more about Hever Castle’s interesting history, please see our archives.

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