Or, the art of British country house interiors

April 13, 2013

Englefield House

Englefield House in West Berkshire has a long and involved history. While there is much information available about this Elizabethan house's origin in the 12th century, connection to Queen Elizabeth I, and and 18th/19th century alterations, there are few reports of its actual contents [1]. Several movies have used the interiors of Englefield House, including Jeeves and Wooster: Series 1, Episode 1 (Jeeves Takes Charge) and Match Point.

It seems that the upstairs hall functioned as a kind of picture gallery for Englefield House. There existed a long gallery elsewhere in the house where perhaps the older family portraits were displayed. 

The paintings in the upstairs hall, as best as can be made out in the limited views, look to be more contemporary, particularly the seated man with clasped hands in the second image down. Or perhaps these were less important ancestors, or less impressive canvases; the long gallery might have been reserved for only full-length, large portraits. This space still serves a similar function as the long gallery, however; the room's purpose is as a walkway, but in the decoration, one can view ancestors, living relative, friends, and other faces [2].

Jeeves and Wooster- upstairs hall

Jeeves and Wooster

Jeeves and Wooster

The dining room at Englefield was renovated in the 1770s, as part of a reduction and modernization of the house [3]. As you can see in the scene in Match Point, it is a relatively modest room in comparison with other grand dining rooms of the day. Those ornate rooms would have been meant for extensive public entertaining, while this dining room is perhaps more private, just for the use of the family. The single female portrait on the wall then takes on more significance, as the likeness of a woman greatly esteemed in the family's eyes.

Match Point- dining room

In the stairway of Englefield House hangs a portrait of a forbidding-looking man in a kind of half indoor, half outdoor location. I have found no information about who this man is, or who painted him; however, a portrait of the Reverend Nathaniel Wrighte, who married the inheritor of the estate in the 1710s, reportedly hangs in the house [3]. He is said to have been a stern, no-nonsense sort of man, so perhaps this portrait is of the Reverend Wrighte. The hand on the hip and dour facial expression certainly seem to reflect a seriousness of personality.

Match Point- stairway

Despite a lack of information about the interior of Englefield House, through various movie stills the nature of the house and the owners' attitudes toward artistic display start to become more clear.


[1] The National Heritage List for England. “Englefield House.” Accessed April 13, 2013. http://list.english-
[2] Maroon, Fred J. The English Country House: a Tapestry of Ages. Charlottesville: Thomasson-Grant, 1987.
[3] Royal Berkshire History. “Englefield House.” Accessed April 13, 2013. www.berkshirehistory.com/

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