On a visit to Burton Constable Hall over Easter I noticed a whole thing going on with mermaids, dragons and sphinxes throughout the house.

Burton Constable Hall is a country house in the Holderness area of the East Riding of Yorkshire and was the seat of the Chichester-Constable family for many centuries.  William Constable (1721-1791) was particularly interesting because he was a scientist, antiquarian and collector and there is a little ‘museum’ in the house devoted to the unusual objects he gathered.

The photographs I’ve taken are mainly of the architectural details or furniture.  There is a remarkable frieze in the Gallery depicting mythological beasts and strange sea serpents as well as two gilded tables supported by sphinxes.  The Chinese Room is full of dragons – on chairs, in the light fitting, climbing up the windows and as ornaments.


Go figure – a merman with boobs or a mermaid with a beard?!


This one is definitely a mermaid


17th century Italian book with engraving of mermaid


Dragon chair – carved to design by Lady Marianne Clifford-Constable

Dragon chair – the most chair in the house

Dragon light fitting


Dragon statue


A dragon in a bottle?! Actually a small flying lizard preserved in a spirit solution in the 18th century



Sphinx table leg

Sphinx table leg

Sphinxes in a wall frieze