The house was built by James Wyatt for Armar Lowry-Corry, 1st Earl of Belmore, between 1789 and 1797. The cost of building turned out to be so high that initially the house was only sparsely furnished.
But when Somerset Lowry-Corry succeeded as 2nd Earl in 1802 he set about decorating Castle Coole in lavish Regency style, using the Dublin cabinetmakers and dealers John and Nathaniel Preston.
They supplied the massive gilt and mahogany furniture in the principal rooms, and also many of the curtains and upholstery materials.
Apart from the goût grec running through much of the decoration, there is also a discernable strand of chinoiserie.
Although classical decoration is predominant in the more ‘serious’ rooms, and chinoiserie was used more in the ‘feminine’ areas of the house, the division was not absolute, as the japanned bookcases in the Morning Breakfast Room show.
As it happens, the BBC is currently broadcasting historian Lucy Worsley’s amusing and informative series about the Regency.