Primary Resources

This resource gallery has been developed to be used for pre visit preparatory work and for post visit reference. You will find a range of primary documents and material here that links to the themes in each unit. By clicking on any image below you can access background information on the source and also find out where it came from and where it is currently held.

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Detail of plasterwork in the entrance hall.


The hall is an extremely impressive entrance space, designed to make an impact on the visitor. Just as they do today, houses of the Regency period reflected the character and wealth of those who lived in them. In employing the Morrissons as his architects, John Smith Barry would have wished them to execute a design that would represent him as a man of refined taste and culture, a man who had an awareness of the classical world. As such the hall would have been used to display sculptures and plaster casts collected from abroad on the Grand Tour.

However there are some more subtle clues in the plasterwork alluding to the intellectual and cultured nature of the family and the stucco contains a wealth of classical influences in the decoration. The beams in the hall are decorated with a frieze of laurel wreaths and the Barry family crests, a motif repeated from the portico.

In the vestibules – the spaces to the side of the hall- there are swags or garlands of laurel foliage, these were an ancient Greek form of room decoration. The laurel or Laurus nobilus (laurel or bay) was used as a Victor's crown in Ancient Rome – the crown would have been worn by an emperors or by the conqueror in a triumphal procession. In its inclusion beside the Smith Barry crest the laurel connects the family with noble and democratic Roman Emperors – and also with power and influence.

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