February 2019

Queen Anne has been making a comeback over the last few months.

The last House of Stuart monarch to live, the queen’s life has been immortalised in the film The Favourite. Exploring her complicated relationship with two of her courtiers, Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough and Abigail Hill, Baroness Masham, the film has been released to critical acclaim. Currently sweeping the boards during awards season, MBDS has been particularly drawn to the beautiful interiors and architecture which make up much of the film. Filmed at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, the backdrop to the film is just as engaging as the script and acting. We delved deeper into the world of Hatfield House, which plays such a pivotal role in the film.

Home to the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury and their family, Hatfield House has been in the Cecil family for 400 years. Built in 1611, it is an exquisite example of Jacobean style with its imposing red brick façade designed by Robert Lemynge, Simon Basil and Inigo Jones, the latter two contributing to the final look. The house is majestic with primly organised landscaping and a surrounding deer park. Step inside and you’ll be entrenched in highly decorative interior design. Intricate tapestries are mixed with brilliantly bold black and white marble flooring; dark timber panelling with leaded window frames and flourishes of tassels and trims adorn furniture and curtains.

Specifically in The Favourite, the Marble Hall, the gold ceilinged Long Gallery, Library, Winter Dining Room and the King James Drawing Room are featured and form a major backdrop to each scene. Artistic licence has been used, with modifications put in place for the film, including the additions of secret passages to Queens Anne’s bedroom and the servants’ quarters. We are particularly taken by the Marble Hall with its tiered gallery adorned with tapestries, glowing lighting and extravagant oak carved detailing by craftsman John Bucke. Used as the banqueting hall in that iconic dancing scene in the film, the Marble Hall was traditionally used by the Salisburys as a place to entertain guests with lavish banquets, dances and masques. The room also contains the famous Rainbow portrait of Queen Elizabeth I by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, making Hatfield House the perfect location to film such a regal movie.

Photography by Hatfield House and via Pinterest
Hatfield House
Great North Road