The Banqueting Hall
The Banqueting Hall, like The Keep’s Great Hall, was used to entertain guests and showcase the wealth and political standing of the Lord and Lady. However, unlike The Keep’s great hall, very important guests would have been given their own private chamber to sleep.
Lord Howard de Walden’s restoration included the addition of wooden panelling and an elaborate plaster ceiling, which was cast from a much earlier ceiling from Balfour House. During the recent restoration of the Castle, the ceiling was taken down due to water ingress but was beautifully recreated and replaced in sections. Roundels showing famous people were common and very popular in plasterwork ceilings such as the one in this room which includes Alexander the Great.
This room holds the musical instrument collection which has Recognition Status. The collection of historic musical instruments cared for by East Ayrshire Leisure Trust on behalf of East Ayrshire Council features lutes, guitars, harpsichords, recorders, pianos and harps and boasts one of the earliest violins in existence - an English Renaissance violin made by the Bassano family which dates from between 1550 and 1580. The significance and quality of some of the musical instruments has been compared to those found in the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. However, to see the latest Recognised Collection of National Significance you only need to come to Kilmarnock!
This picture shows what the room looks like before the elaborate plasterwork ceiling and wooden paneling were added. It gives an impression of what it may have looked like in the 15th century when it was originally constructed.