Surmounting the posts are snarling lions holding shields of arms, and putti (cherubs), some playing music.
The ceiling was decorated for Queen Victoria’s visit to Hatfield in 1846 and has recently been restored so that visitors will be now able to see it in all its glory. The rich golds and russets are complemented by a deep red silk paper which lines the walls and provides a sumptuous backdrop to the tapestries.
The gates at the bottom of the stairs were put there to stop the dogs of the household reaching the state rooms and bedrooms.
At the top, a carving on a newel post shows the figure of a gardener holding a rake. This is said to be John Tradescant, who was sent abroad by Robert Cecil to collect rare and exotic plants for his new garden at Hatfield. Some of them were hardly suited to the English climate: they included pomegranates, oleander, myrtle and thousands of vines.