3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3 Subscribe to Kent Life today click here

Spotlight on: Knole Sevenoaks

PUBLISHED: 17:43 16 August 2015 | UPDATED: 17:43 16 August 2015

The exterior of Knole showing Bourchier's Tower, looking east across Green Court. This is the largest of the seven courtyrads at Knole.

The exterior of Knole showing Bourchier's Tower, looking east across Green Court. This is the largest of the seven courtyrads at Knole.

©NTPL/Matthew Antrobus

Knole’s historic hall is being brought back to its glorious heyday as part of the larger five-year conservation currently taking place

This autumn marks the start of an ambitious conservation project that will transform the Great Hall at Knole in Sevenoaks back to its heyday as a place of lavish entertaining in the presence of Archbishops, royalty and Edwardian high society.

Knole’s Great Hall has been the setting for magnificent feasts and celebrations for more than 600 years. Now it is being redecorated and restored to reflect the colour scheme of an earlier era, as part of a larger five-year conservation taking place at Knole.

Curator, Emma Slocombe explains why the Great Hall is so significant: “Knole started off as a modest manor house, then in 1456 it was transformed to a great palace for successive Archbishops of Canterbury.

“From that point, hospitality became a huge part of what Knole was all about. The Great Hall was positioned at the heart of the house, located next to the Great Kitchen. It’s the largest room in the house, designed to seat an entire medieval household, which meant several hundred people eating together at the same time.”

As the centuries passed, so subsequent owners made changes to the Great Hall, until it ended up reflecting a mix of styles, furnishings and decorations from different historical periods.

Entertaining continued well into the 20th century, with important dinners enjoyed in the hall by people of note, including a young Vita Sackville-West, the writer and gardener who was born at Knole in 1892 and spent much of her childhood there.

Colour therapy

According to Emma, the conservation work reintroduces some vibrant colours to the Great Hall’s ceiling and walls. “We’ve carried out extensive analysis of the paint layers and compared them to our archives. This has allowed us to understand the full decorative history of the room and to choose the right colours and paints.

“We’ve decided to return the room to how it looked in the early Edwardian era, prior to Knole passing into the care of the National Trust. We’re bringing back rich reds to the walls and complimenting them with a fresh blue-grey ceiling to give the room a much-needed lift.”

The Great Hall’s many paintings will also be conserved as part of the changes, with several being brought in from other areas of the house.

The pictures chosen to hang in the room will form a collection of some of the finest 17th-century portraits, to reinstate the idea of a family who have lived at Knole over many successive generations.

They will add even more colour and interest to the room, being displayed using refurbished historic picture lights to show them at their best.

One of the hardest parts of the conservation work will be moving the Great Hall table to gain access to some of the room’s huge canvas paintings. The table is so large and heavy that it will take 30 people to move it, all lifting at exactly the same time.

Autumn highlights

October will be the last time that visitors can see the Great Hall before it closes for the start of conservation work in early November. However, there will be plenty to see and do at Knole.

Autumn is a traditionally colourful time, with the many trees in the gardens and deer park displaying beautiful reds, yellows and golds, plus deer roaming free in the lush, green parkland.

The bookshop, outdoor café and impressive orangery will all remain open and in addition, the estate office houses a fascinating, tactile exhibition and oral history recordings of Knole.

The newly restored Great Hall, will its new colour scheme and picture hang will open to the public again in 2016.

Find out more

A programme of events and activities also runs at Knole throughout the year, as well as at other National Trust houses and gardens in Kent and beyond. For more details, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/southeast.

w

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Kent Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Kent Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Kent Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

A popular choice for commuters, Sevenoaks has history, culture, a thriving high street and a reputation for being one of the best places to live in the country

Read more
September 2018

Known respectively as the Capital of the Weald and the Crossroads of the Weald, rural treasures Cranbrook and Hawkhurst are the closest of neighbours

Read more
September 2018

This historic town is known for its markets, its brewing industry and its pretty creekshide setting

Read more
September 2018

Many of Kent’s cafés and coffee shops are taking part in a green revolution - reducing their waste and ditching single-use plastics

Read more
August 2018

With its Royal Harbour, its sandy beach and its open skies, this is the perfect time of year to see Ramsgate at its best

Read more
August 2018
Friday, August 10, 2018

We have selected 12 of the grandest historic stately homes with stunning gardens in Kent to visit

Read more

Dig out the bucket and spade, slap on the sun lotion and head to beautiful Broadstairs this summer

Read more
August 2018

The little medieval town of Sandwich has it all: character, history and a great location

Read more
August 2018

For many the essence of the beauty of the Kent Downs AONB is our natural wild flower grasslands which bloom in profusion in June and July

Read more
July 2018

Our county town has a lot to brag about, from its important history to its excellent facilities, great shopping and an ever-increasing list of places to eat and drink

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Kent Life Food & Drink awards 2016. Open for entries.

Latest Competitions & Offers

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search