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The Adam & Eve Staircase - Hatfield House
The Adam & Eve Staircase - Hatfield House

The Adam & Eve Staircase

The name of the staircase goes back to the late 18th century, when two pictures of Adam and Eve were hanging here.

Although the staircase itself is 17th century, most of the carved panelling on the walls was introduced by the 2nd Marquess in the 19th century, re-using some older pieces.

The large picture on the upper landing shows King George III reviewing the volunteer forces of Hertfordshire in Hatfield Park on 13 June 1800.

It was painted by Richard Livesay. The King, Queen and other dignitaries dined in King James’s Drawing Room but thousands of soldiers and spectators were fed outdoors at Lord Salisbury’s expense on mutton and roast beef. They ate at the long tables shown in the background, near the House. The old man wearing a brown coat in the foreground was something of a local celebrity: John Whitemore (1698-1801) lived in three centuries and is buried in Hatfield churchyard.

At the foot of the stairs is the Chinese ‘Temple of the Moon’, carved in ivory. A bill in the archives records that two men carried it on foot from London to Hatfield in 1786. It is thought that it may have been a diplomatic gift from the Chinese Emperor to King George III.

On the wall hang portraits of James, 4th Marquess of Salisbury (1861-1947) by Sir W.B. Richmond (1842-1921); Robert, 5th Marquess (1893-1972) by Derek Hill (1916-2000); Robert, 6th Marquess (1916-2003) by Joaquim Torrents Lladó and Robert, 7th Marquess by Michael Melbye.

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