Burton Constable Hall, home to the Constable family for more than 700 years, is offering visitors a taste of the fashion, feasting and genteel entertainment which helped make the location an instrumental force in Hull’s social scene at the time.
Philippa Wood, curator at the Hall, said: “It’s easy to see historic house museums as a static space. This exhibition tries to highlight the fact that we’re recalling the lives of real people who ate, drank, laughed, danced and sketched – who lived life to the full and saw this great Hall as their pride and their playground.
“We want our visitors to feel at home here – and to see it as the home it has been to generations of the Constable family!”
The exhibition, titled Drink, Dance and Decadence, focusses on the heyday of Burton Constable’s glittering social scene as the Elizabethan hall looks at the last great gasp of extravagance under Sir Thomas Aston Clifford Constable, his first wife the Lady Marianne and her ‘scandalous’ successor, Rosina.
The Constable family’s decadent love of luxury helped craftsmen and grocers in Hull flourish, boosting the city as it grew into a flourishing fishing port and centre for fine crafts. The family’s love for gold in particular transformed the house and its collections as statues, furniture and even bannisters were gilded at huge cost.
With grand house parties for musical soirees and days at the races, family theatricals and grand tours abroad, the display gives a glimpse of how the Victorian aristocracy filled their days of idleness, changing not only the social scene but the economy around the area of the mansion, set in the Holderness countryside.
The exhibition runs until 31 October.