Explore Kelmarsh Hall
The Kelmarsh Hall enjoyed by visitors today, was completed for William Hanbury in 1732, to the designs of James Gibbs (1682-1754), feted architect of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London and the Senate House in Cambridge, to name but a few of his distinguished designs. The Grade II Listed gardens at Kelmarsh have been long-celebrated and enjoyed by visitors throughout the seasons. They include the Triangular Walled Kithcen Garden, Philadelphus and Sunken Gardens and a range of walks and floral borders to enjoy.
Kelmarsh Hall has undergone a number of modifications since the original ‘mannor’ of Kelmarsh was constructed in 1618. The new brick edifice that replaced it was completed in 1732. Since then a number of decorative styles have been and gone, with the present designs having been created by Nancy Lancaster (née Tree) who arrived at Kelmarsh Hall in 1927 and soon transformed the “gloomy” rooms with soft colours, comfortable furnishings and an abundance of floral blossoms. This became the immediately recognisable, Nancy Lancaster English Country House style.
The South Entrance and Staircase to the upper floors remain as they were built, with plasterwork attributed to craftsmen Guiseppe Artari and Giovanni Bagutti and ironwork by the Marylebone blacksmith, Thos. Wagg, who worked for Hanbury in London.
The Chinese Room bears testament to Nancy Lancaster’s passion for antique treasures. The hand-painted 18th century Chinese wallpaper was purchased from Kimberly Hall in Norfolk and brought to Kelmarsh Hall. Here, it was complemented with orchids from the glasshouse, to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
The Saloon (drawing room) opposite the Great Hall is painted ‘the soul of blue’; in the evening the light ‘fills this room like a soft mist’, creating an intimate and personal space, often absent from other large country houses of the period.
During Nancy’s early occupancy, her family enjoyed hosting large parties and used the Ballroom as their dining room. This she painted a warm and rich olive green, with windows dressed in rich gold, red-fringed curtains and a red ‘marbelized’ fireplace which Nancy painted herself.