Following the post about the Regency library at Stourhead – and again inspired by Mark Purcell’s National Trust Libraries Facebook page – I wanted to show a few images of the Regency library at Ickworth, in Suffolk.
This room was created by architect William Field in the late 1820s for Frederick William Hervey, 5th Earl and 1st Marquess of Bristol, with furnishings by Banting, France & Co, who also worked for George IV and William IV.
The 1st Marquess had inherited the half-built house in 1803 from his mercurial father, Frederick, 4rd Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry. The height of the Library, and of several other rooms in the main Rotunda, reflects the Earl-Bishop’s belief that high-ceilinged rooms kept his asthma at bay. He seems to have had a yen for circular buildings, as evident in one of his other projects, the Mussenden Temple at Downhill, Co. Londonderry.
The Earl-Bishop quarrelled with his son and out of spite left his personal fortune to a distant cousin (although he couldn’t deny him the entailed English family estates). It took the 1st Marquess until 1821 to amalgamate sufficient funds to re-start work on the house.
The curtains and upholstery in the Library were replaced in 1909-11 by Frederick William Hervey, the 4th Marquess, with green and silver damask from the Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company. The 4th Marquess also moved the Regency carved and gilded pelmet boards from the Drawing Room into the Library.