Long Gallery

 drawing of the Gallery in 1835

The South wing containing the Long Gallery was built around 1450 but the present layout on the upper floor with one wide passage to bedrooms overlooking the garden was created around 1700. In the Tudor period it was probably a warren of interconnecting small rooms with no main passageway. The panelling near the north corner opens to expose the top of a spiral staircase, now closed up, with a window overlooking the courtyard, (for more see the Towneley Hall architectural histories).

The windows and ceiling were renewed in the early l9th century. The panelled plaster ceiling was based on the oak ceiling of the chancel in the chapel. In 19th century inventories, it was named simply the Gallery. It displayed portraits of the family on the bedroom side and portaits of relations by marriage on the courtyard side. A drawing of the gallery by John Weld in 1836 shows these portraits in situ and the gallery furnished with tall late l7th century single chairs. The portraits were taken away in 1902 but the labels showing their names have remained and were repainted in the 1950s.

In 1903, the ceiling was restored and lowered by Burnley Corporation to provide improved lighting and the entrance was labelled Long Gallery. Initially it displayed oil paintings but with no artificial lighting it was soon used mainly for prints and works by local artists. From 1924 onwards it displayed a mixture of heads and horns, arms and armour. By 1930 it also displayed a growing collection of furniture and this continued for the next half century until the room resembled an antique shop. In more recent years only furniture has remained in place together with a small number of paintings.

Author: tk - August 2016