Main Hall & Stairs
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The stairwell provided a very dramatic entrance to East Cliff Hall and contains several unique features.
The frieze around the top of the stairwell is a reduced plaster rendition of that of the Parthenon frieze (often known as the ‘Elgin marbles’ and now in the British Museum) produced by William Scott Morton in 1893 for the Tynecastle company.
Clients/customers could purchase any number and combination of panels required to fit the space. Tynecastle canvases, many designed by Morton, can be seen throughout the house used on walls and ceilings. Their dramatic embossing techniques were very effective in imitating earlier leather. The frieze of cupids, around the skylight of the Main Hall, made by the Tynecastle Company, is actually impressed paper.
The motifs of the heavens which can be spotted throughout East Cliff Hall are introduced in a wonderful extravaganza of the night sky rendered through the glass dome depicting bats, owls, stars and comets.
This theme is continued in the Main Hall with the glass roof. This is in fact a replacement put in in 1947 after the original came down with wartime bombing of the cliff top. The signs of the zodiac, the four winds and the sun at rising, meridian (noon) and setting represent the heavens in daylight, reflected in the mosaic pond below.
The Main Hall illustrates what Sir Merton Russell-Cotes described as the combined styles of the “Renaissance with Italian and old Scottish Baronial.” This eclectic mix can be seen in the doors to the drawing room which were taken from a palazzo in Florence and the balcony which owes its influence to Scottish architecture.