[Paper:] The Gothic Drawing Room of Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire. A.W.N. Pugins reception of a medieval interior (Judith Berger)

Gothic Drawing Room of Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire

Gothic Drawing Room of Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire

The United Kingdom possesses numerous seigneurial estates, which form an all-encompassing network and serve as control as well as administrative tool of the monarchy. Their owners use them for their political ascent, the legitimization of their power, and utilize them as symbols of political, social and later economic power.

Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire, combines all of these features. Furthermore, the design of its interiors proceeds with this symbolism. Not the Great Hall, but the Gothic Drawing Room is the room of heraldic focus. A.W.N. Pugin, the pioneer of the arts and craft movement as well as the medieval revival throughout the Commonwealth and Europe, designs Eastnor’s Gothic Drawing Room in 1849 as one of his most complete surviving interiors. He creates a heraldic concept using specific role models, which he transforms according to his design principals. He neither creates a concept which emphasizes on one specific room area, nor displays especially chivalric, legendary, political themes or networks. Pugin designs a three-dimensional heraldic interior concept containing painting, tiles, moulding, metal work and carpet. Viewers plunge into a room of general grandeur, fitted with rather informal comfortable furniture, and many different semantic levels legitimizing the families’ power by displaying their achievements and long lineage. This room is a perfect example of the reception of the middle ages and gives an impeccable prospect of the development of heraldry within interior design during the peak of the gothic revival period in the United Kingdom.

After completing a bilingual school in Berlin, Germany and the training for a building construction draughtswoman, Judith Berger moved to Bern, Switzerland, to study art history and cultural heritage with a focus on architecture at the University of Bern. Currently she is a student of the International Graduate School at Brandenburg Technological University (BTU), Cottbus, Germany and is about to write a doctoral thesis about Eastnor Castle, England, its architectural history in relation to similar country houses, as well as the management of comparable historic houses in this day and age.


The paper will be given at the international workshop: Heraldry in Medieval and Early Modern State-Rooms: Towards a Typology of Heraldic Programmes in Spaces of Self-Representation – Münster, Germany, 16-18 March 2016
Cite the article as: Heraldica Nova, "[Paper:] The Gothic Drawing Room of Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire. A.W.N. Pugins reception of a medieval interior (Judith Berger)", in: Heraldica nova. Medieval Heraldry in social and cultural-historical perspectives (blog on Hypotheses.org), published: 14/03/2016, Internet: http://heraldica.hypotheses.org/4466.

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