James Paine interiors

The Saloon at Uppark, West Sussex, probably designed by James Paine. The compartmented ceiling and the pedimented chimneypiece are typical of Paine. ©NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie

The previous post showing Gibside Chapel designed by James Paine gave me the idea to feature some of his interiors.

The Drawing Room at Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire. The chimneypiece and ceiling were designed by Paine, while the doorcases and sofas are slightly later additions by Robert Adam. ©NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie

Paine seems to have been born in Andover, Hampshire, in 1717 as the youngest child of a carpenter.  

Detail of the chimneypiece designed by Paine in the Dining Room at Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire. The grotesque decoration on the wall is by Adam. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

He appears to have studied at the St Martin’s Lane Academy in London and then to have come into contact with the circle of the 3rd Earl of Burlington, the promotor of Palladian architecture.

The top-lit Stair Hall by Paine at Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk. ©NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie

Paine built up a succesful architectural practice, both in Yorkshire and the north-east as well as in southern England.

The Dining Room at Felbrigg, created by Paine in 1752. ©NTPL/John Hammond

Although he worked within the context of Palladianism, he emphasized the need to make classical architecture fit contemporary needs. Top-lit staircase halls were one of his specialities.

The Staircase Hall at Uppark, another example of Paine's compact, top-lit staircases. The red baize door leads to the servants' quarters. ©NTPL/Geoffrey Frosh

In his earlier interiors Paine mixed Palladian with Rococo, but later he also adopted the newly fashionable neoclassical style.

Paine's Rococo ceiling of the Staircase Hall at Uppark. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

Elegant chimnneypieces were another signature element of Paine’s, for which he ran a dedicated workshop.

For this post I consulted the guidebooks for Felbrigg Hall, Kedleston Hall, Nostell Priory, Uppark and Wallington as well as the entry on Paine by Peter Leach in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

10 Responses to “James Paine interiors”

  1. Guy Says:

    I’m off topic but what a spectacular door at Uppark!

    Versace’ take on the green baize door….

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Yes it is rather ‘Versace’, isn’t it? But Gianni would have gone on to paint the wall a strong yellow, or terracotta, don’t you think? :)

  3. Guy Says:

    And thus destroyed all the good work!

  4. Barry Leach Says:

    There is a whole section with black and white photographs of Uppark in English Country House, Mid Georgian from Country Life.

    One of the photographs of the staircase shows Lethieullier family portraits by Arthur Devis ranged up the right wall, under two horse paintings (Stubbs?)and busts on the brackets – gone from your photograph. Are the pink walls the original paint or is it renewed?

    Also, it is good to see the saloon in color and I’d really like to stand under that simulated dome and see if the illusion works.

    Good post to read over coffee on another freezing morning in Atlanta.

  5. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    In 1989 there was a devastating fire at Uppark caused by leadwork repair on the roof, and the pictures you mention were probably lost at that time. Quite a lot of the contents of the house was saved, though, and Uppark was restored to its ‘aged’ appearance before the fire – in itself a fascinating conservation project. The book ‘Uppark Restored’ by Christopher Rowell and John Martin Robinson charts the house’s re-emergence from the ashes.

  6. Toby Worthington Says:

    Thanks for this completely delightful diversion on a grim Friday morning. The dining room at Felbrigg has always seemed to me one of the loveliest rooms in England, with its perfect balance of the rococo and the classical ~ to say nothing of its unusual inset looking glasses along the walls. In its own quiet way there is something daring and subtly unconventional about the arrangement of plaster surrounds. All in all, a perfect room.

  7. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Well, that chimes exactly what I was reading in Paine’s entry in the DNB, that he managed to be quite original and inventive within the Palladian framework.

  8. Barry Leach Says:

    I had completely forgotten about the fire at Uppark though only recently did I read about it happening. Did not realize idiocy was one of the effects of cabin fever.

  9. downeastdilettante Says:

    The first time, as an adolescent, that I saw a photograph of the Uppark saloon, it went through me like a ligthening bolt–love at first sight. Still does, 40-odd years later—what a superb bit of design, as are all of these—the upper stair landing at Felbrigg particularly enchants. Marvelous to see these together for comparison.

  10. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Yes it is fascinating to see Paine’s different approaches to subdividing and framing sections of wall, isn’t it?

    In the case of the Felbrigg Stair Hall, Paine originally wanted to put a large medal above the door on the left (hence the different bracket there), but the owner changed it to another bronzed plaster bust. I don’t know which I would prefer, but it is an interesting example of client-designer interaction.

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