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Gassiot & Swan Rooms

The Gassiot Room

The Gassiot Room is named after Charles Gassiot (Master 1894), and is used for committee meetings and lunches.

It is part of the 1990s redevelopment. It was built to replace the Smoking Room of 1899, demolished to make room for Vintners’ Place. One fireplace is from the old Smoking Room, and bears the date 1899; the other is dated 1992. Paintings above the two fireplaces depict the Thames in the early 19th century, and during HM the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. Other paintings of interest are of the Court in 2000, by Julian Barrow; "Vintners’ Gifts”, by Paul Brown, presented in 1999; a painting attributed to Lucas Achtschellinck (1626-99) of the Apple and Grape Harvest; and a Dutch painting from the circle of Pieter Angillis (1685-1734) depicting the wine making process, with three men treading grapes.At the east end of the room is a fine collection of antique bottles and decanters.

The wallpaper is in the colours of the Royal Tank Regiment, which is sponsored by the Company.

The Swan Room

This room, like the Gassiot room, is part of the 1990s redevelopment, and is in recognition of the Company’s association with swans. It is designed to have an ‘outdoor’ feel, and is often used for wine tastings. The Company's right to own swans on the Thames is by prescription, ie before legal memory. It predates the Company’s first surviving records.  The first mention of swans in the Vintners' archives is a payment for looking after them during the "Great Frost” of 1509.   The care of the swans is entrusted traditionally to the junior warden, or ‘Swan Warden’. The Swan Warden’s banner hangs at the western end of the room. The swans are counted and the cygnets ringed on an annual Swan Upping Voyage in July. On the north wall is a pastel of Swan Upping by Patricia Ashmore. On the east wall are portraits of Richard Turk, Swan Marker for 56 years (1904-60), by James Dring, and of Bruce Todd, Swan Warden in 1964, by Aubrey Davidson-Houston.           

Facing the french windows are three false arches. The three trompe l’oeil paintings within them were executed by Colin Failes in 1996. They depict scenes on the south bank of the Thames at different times in the Company’s history. Also displayed in the room are archaeological finds from the excavations for Vintners’ Place, and various antique bottles.Also on the north wall are the armorial bearings of three recent Vintner Lord Mayors, Sir Denis Truscott OBE TD (1957-8), Sir Noel Bowater GBE MD (1953-4) and Sir Lionel Denny GBE MC (1965-6). A painting of all three hangs in the lobby between the Gassiot Room and the Livery Hall.

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