The Drawing Room
When East Cliff Hall was gifted to the town in 1907, some areas of the house had already been arranged as showrooms, of which this is one. Merton presented the house to Annie six years previously but we have no evidence that the room had a domestic function at that time. It is probable that it remained empty or in a state of preparation for several years, and even after it was 'finished' there was a certain amount of re-arrangement and additions.
The design of the room is based around the double doors which were reclaimed from an 18th century palace in Florence that had burnt down. It is believed that the panels themselves are much earlier and were re-used by the Florentines. The inside of these doors are different to the outside, and it is in the outer panels that you can see the torch and quiver that is found in the stained glass, furniture, fretwork screen, coving and the fingerplates on the doors, and were intended to be left open.
The room has been displayed in a similar manner to that shown in the early photographs, with original display cases and objects where it has been possible to identify them. The objects were mostly the decorative, fine and applied arts from Europe and Asia, the unifying theme appearing to be anything delicate, refined or gilded as befitting the decor. Even a plaster bust of Annie was gilded! The suite of sofa and chairs are recorded as once belonging to Queen Victoria, while the impressive large French cabinet had belonged to the Empress Eugenie.
Click on the floorplan for the virtual tour to explore further.