State room

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Un-scaled plan of the piano nobile of Blenheim Palace. The state apartments are the two sets of rooms either side of the principal dining room (Saloon) marked "B". The master and mistress (here the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough) lived their everyday lives in the similarly arranged but smaller suites either side of the smaller dining room marked "O" Blenheim Plan.png
Un-scaled plan of the piano nobile of Blenheim Palace. The state apartments are the two sets of rooms either side of the principal dining room (Saloon) marked "B". The master and mistress (here the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough) lived their everyday lives in the similarly arranged but smaller suites either side of the smaller dining room marked "O"

A state room in a large European mansion is usually one of a suite of very grand rooms which were designed to impress. The term was most widely used in the 17th and 18th centuries. They were the most lavishly decorated in the house and contained the finest works of art. State rooms were usually only found in the houses of the upper echelons of the aristocracy, those who were likely to entertain a head of state. They were generally to accommodate and entertain distinguished guests, especially a monarch and/or a royal consort, or other high-ranking aristocrats and state officials, hence the name. In their original form a set of state rooms made up a state apartment which always included a bedroom.

Mansion large dwelling house

A mansion is a large dwelling house. The word itself derives through Old French from the Latin word mansio "dwelling", an abstract noun derived from the verb manere "to dwell". The English word manse originally defined a property large enough for the parish priest to maintain himself, but a mansion is no longer self-sustaining in this way. Manor comes from the same root—territorial holdings granted to a lord who would "remain" there.

Art Creative work to evoke emotional response

Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author's imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. Other activities related to the production of works of art include the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art.

Aristocracy is a form of government that places strength in the hands of a small, privileged ruling class. The term derives from the Greek aristokratia, meaning 'rule of the best'.

Contents

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom in particular, state rooms in country houses were seldom used. The owner of the house and his family actually lived in the "second best" apartments in the house. There was usually an odd number of state rooms for the following reason: At the centre of the facade, the largest and most lavish room, (for example at Wilton House the famed Double Cube Room), or as at Blenheim Palace (right) this was a gathering place for the court of the honoured guest. Leading symmetrically from the centre room on either side were often one or two suites of smaller, but still very grand state rooms, often in enfilade, for the sole use of the occupant of the final room at each end of the facade - the state bedroom. Unlike the main reception rooms of later houses, state apartments were not freely open to all the guests in the house. Admittance to the state apartment was a privilege, and the further one penetrated (there were many variations, but an apartment might include for example an anteroom; withdrawing room; bedroom; dressing room; and closet) the greater the honour.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north­western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north­eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Facade Exterior side of a building, usually the front but not always

A facade is generally one exterior side of a building, usually the front. It is a foreign loan word from the French façade, which means "frontage" or "face".

Wilton House Historic house and museum in Wilton, UK

Wilton House is an English country house at Wilton near Salisbury in Wiltshire. It has been the country seat of the Earls of Pembroke for over 400 years.

Changes from the early 18th century

From the early 18th century, as aristocratic lifestyles slowly became less formal, there was a move on the one hand to increase the number of shared living rooms in a large house and to give them more specialised functions (music rooms and billiard rooms for example) and on the other hand to make bedroom suites more private. In houses from earlier than around 1720 which survived without major structural alteration, the state rooms sometimes became a meaningless succession of drawing rooms and the original intention was lost. This is certainly true at Wilton House, Blenheim Palace, and Castle Howard. On the other hand, there were a few houses, and royal palaces, most of them exceptionally large, which were laid out in such a way that the state rooms could be left in their original form, while other rooms were converted to meet the new needs of the 18th and 19th centuries, or where funds were available to simply add on extra wings to meet the new requirements. Examples of such residences with surviving state suites which have never really changed their function include Chatsworth House and Boughton House.

Blenheim Palace Country house in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England

Blenheim Palace is a monumental country house in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England. It is the principal residence of the Dukes of Marlborough, and the only non-royal, non-episcopal country house in England to hold the title of palace. The palace, one of England's largest houses, was built between 1705 and 1722, and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

Castle Howard historic house museum

Castle Howard is a stately home in North Yorkshire, England, 15 miles (24 km) north of York. It is a private residence, and has been the home of the Carlisle branch of the Howard family for more than 300 years.

Palace grand residence, especially a royal residence or the home of a head of state

A palace is a grand residence, especially a royal residence, or the home of a head of state or some other high-ranking dignitary, such as a bishop or archbishop.

The term "state" continued to be used in the names of individual rooms in some post 1720 houses (e.g. state dining room; state bedroom), but by then the original concept of a self-contained state apartment for an honoured personage was lost, and the term "state" can be taken more accurately to mean "best".

On board a ship

On board a ship, the term state room defines a superior first-class cabin.

Ship Large buoyant watercraft

A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep waterways, carrying passengers or goods, or in support of specialized missions, such as defense, research and fishing. Historically, a "ship" was a sailing vessel with at least three square-rigged masts and a full bowsprit. Ships are generally distinguished from boats, based on size, shape, load capacity, and tradition.

First class travel public transport

First class is the most luxurious travel class of seats and service on a train, passenger ship, airplane, bus, or other system of transport. It is usually more expensive than business class and economy class, and offers the best service and luxurious accommodation.

Cabin (ship) Enclosed space generally on a ship

A cabin or berthing is an enclosed space generally on a ship or an aircraft. A cabin which protrudes above the level of a ship's deck may be referred to as a deckhouse.

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Studio apartment Type of apartment

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Penthouse apartment apartment on the highest floor of an apartment building

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<i>Piano nobile</i> architectural element

The piano nobile is the principal floor of a large house, usually built in one of the styles of Renaissance architecture. This floor contains the principal reception and bedrooms of the house.

Drawing room room in a house where visitors may be entertained

A drawing room is a room in a house where visitors may be entertained, and a historical term for what would now usually be called a living room. The name is derived from the 16th-century terms withdrawing room and withdrawing chamber, which remained in use through the 17th century, and made their first written appearance in 1642. In a large 16th to early 18th century English house, a withdrawing room was a room to which the owner of the house, his wife, or a distinguished guest who was occupying one of the main apartments in the house could "withdraw" for more privacy. It was often off the great chamber and usually led to a formal, or "state" bedroom.

Buda Castle castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest

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Room distinguishable space within a building or other structure

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Winter Palace historic building in St. Petersburg, Russia

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Enfilade (architecture) suite of rooms along the same axis

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Holyrood Palace official residence of the British monarch in Scotland

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Private Apartments of the Winter Palace

The Private Apartments of the Winter Palace are sited on the piano nobile of the western wing of the former imperial palace, the Winter Palace in St Petersburg. Access to the private rooms, for members of the Imperial Family, from the exterior was usually through the Saltykov Entrance which was reserved for use by only the Tsar, Tsaritsa and grand dukes and grand duchesses. A second access was through a discrete box-like porch, on the western end of the Palace's Neva façade. From the ground floor, it can be accessed from the October Staircase, formerly known as His Majesty's Own Staircase; this double-flighted imperial staircase was a secondary entrance to the private apartments, and provided a more convenient route to the palace's ground floor and private entrances than the more formal and ceremonial public route through the state apartments. During the October Revolution of 1917, this was the entrance by which the revolutionaries gained access to the palace in order to arrest the Provisional Government in the small private dining room. Since that date it has been known as the October Staircase and has a plaque commemorating the event. Despite its size and grandeur, the October Staircase was a secondary staircase, the Jordan Staircase being the principal.

References

Mark Girouard British architectural historian

Mark Girouard is a British architectural writer, an authority on the country house, an architectural historian, and biographer of Sir James Stirling.

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.