In 1769, Arthur Young wrote of the Spencer House interiors:
“The carving and gilding is all unrivalled; the taste in which every article throughout the whole house is executed, is beyond conception just and elegant: No expence was spared by the noble owner...”
Originally called the Little Eating Parlour, this was used by the Spencers as their own private dining room when the House was built but now owes its name and function to the alterations made by Henry Holland for the Second Earl in the 1790s.
The apsidal alcove, a beautiful design inspired from the Temple of Venus in Rome, had originally been intended by Vardy for a buffet or sideboard but, in 1792, the room became the main access to the ground floor circuit through the Library and Dining Room and Holland inserted a large pair of double doors below the apse.
Vardy’s ceiling, cornice and diagonal coffering of the apse survived Holland’s changes and can be seen today.
The unique gilt metal Spencer ‘S’ pattern door furniture, used in all the State Rooms, is copied from the originals now at Althorp.
When to visit
Open every Sunday (except during August) from 10.30am – 4.30pm (last tour).
Access is by guided tour, which lasts approximately 1 hour.