The Landscape Room
This room contains 22 Old Master pictures hung in the 18th century manner, one above the other. It is likely that Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester of 1st creation and the builder of the house, had settled the picture hang by the time he died in 1759, and as such, the detail is recorded in the inventory of 1760. The 7th Earl of Leicester recreated the hang and also had a new crimson damask woven for the walls and sofas using a favourite pattern of the William Kent period.
As the name of the room suggests, all the paintings are technically landscapes, although in fact a number of them use landscape as the setting for biblical or mythological stories. The outstanding feature of this room is the collection of seven paintings by Claude Lorrain (1600-1682), the great French landscape painter.
Claude was most probably the most sought after by English collectors, not least because his idyllic views provided the models which many patrons attempted to emulate in the creation of their own parks and gardens. Thomas Coke bought at least two Claudes on his Grand Tour, another two in 1749/50 and Matthew Brettingham acquired two more from Cardinal Albani’s collection in Rome in 1752 when he also authorised Brettingham to spend what was necessary to secure the two paintings by Claude-Joesph Vernet which now hang in this room.