...it was here that Richard and Mary Wilbraham Bootle entertained Josiah Wedgwood to dinner in 1771.
The octagonal ante-room, connecting the library (the old dining room), the drawing room and the staircase hall, was re-modelled by Hope in the early 1800s. Originally, the room had served as the entrance hall to the house and guests would have entered through the present French window. The exterior of this former entrance acquired its current Doric portico, with inner and outer carved entablature, during continuing modernization by Randle Wilbraham III.
Of particular interest in the ante-room are the copies of Raphael’s allegorical scenes, attributed to Michelangelo Maestri, which Randle acquired on his Grand Tour in 1796. The Regency sabre leg chairs and revolving rent table were amongst the furniture he later commissioned from Gillows.
The Library is a light and comfortable room which was formerly used as a dining-room. It was here that Richard and Mary Wilbraham Bootle entertained Josiah Wedgwood to dinner in 1771. Connections between the Wilbraham and Wedgwood families were well-established by then as Richard’s father, Randle Wilbraham II, had provided useful support to Wedgwood in his campaign to construct the nearby Trent and Mersey Canal while the potter’s wife, Sarah, had grown up in Spen Green bordering the Rode estate. Much of the library’s furniture was specially commissioned from Gillows.