I am back from my travels, and as you can see, I went to Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, with our eldest daughter, who proceeded to walk the feet off me in the grounds. Here you can see the front of the house, with the fabulous gold window surrounds - I presume gold leaf. The house has belonged to the Earls of Devonshire for generations, and Bess of Hardwick, who was married to Sir William Cavendish, completed the building he had started back in 1552. Her son Henry Cavendish sold it to his brother William, who became the first Earl of Devonshire. The Elizabethan house became swallowed up within the Classical style exterior, as you see it today. The Wikipedia entry provides a great deal more information.
The Emporor fountain is run by gravity, and can shoot 90 feet up into the air. It was built when there was an anticipated visit by Tsar Nicholas 1 of Russia in 1843, and men worked day and night to complete it in time. Unfortunately, the Tsar died before the visit took place.
Incredible paintings are everywhere. This one is at the top of the staircase in what is known as the Painted Room, which has wonderful artwork everywhere by Louis Lageurre, showing scenes from the life of Julius Caesar.
In a nearby corridor are many examples of wonderful semi-precious geodes and rock specimens. This amethyst geode is huge, and even bigger is the huge piece of rock crystal? in the photograph below. You would expect this to have a big "vibe" but I picked up nothing from it.
More interesting pieces of geological specimens.
This room was very richly carved and the display cupboards above floor level, were full of Delft and lovely pieces of china.
Another stunning ceiling. I could probably have done a post just about ceiling paintings!
Throughout the house are various pieces of modern craftsmanship. This was a resin bench and the black areas were, if I remember rightly, tar, which I think partly dissolves the resin to form an internal shape. It's by Tom Price and there was an adjacent black block of coal.
Another of those ceilings - sorry it's not very sharp . . .
One of the incredibly imposing doorways. The door was solid oak and the surround carved marble..
Photos from the State Apartments now, which apparently get more and more impressive the further in you are allowed to go. These State rooms were designed and furnished in anticipation of a visit by William III, but again, that never transpired.
The marble fireplace in this first State room held wonderful Delft pieces for displaying Tulips, when Tulips were all the rage and could cost a King's Ransom.
Painted and gilded leather wallpaper in another apartment. I think this was the Second Withdrawing room of the State Apartments - the Music Room.
This room became known as the Music Room after this amazing Trompe l'Oeil painting of a Violin was brought from Devonshire House in London. This was painted around 1723 by Jan van der Vaart.
Further still into these apartments, and there were some stunning plates displayed, and other ceramics, with a background of intricate tapestries.
George II's wonderful State bed completely spoilt (for me) by the juxtaposition of this piece of contemporary design.by Marc Newson's Lockheed Lounge, "the most expensive contemporary seat in the world today." Part of the "Make Yourself Comfortable" exhibition at Chatsworth this year.
More semi-precious pieces of agates were made into this amazing solid "stone" bureau.
Ever since the book and the subsequent film, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, is recognized from this portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds. She was quite a lass in her day.
I am used to seeing tiny chips of malachite made into jewellery or sold as gemstones in shops. To see this slab of it as a table top was amazing. There were more examples of sclupted malachite below.
A rare photo of me taking a photo of this wee poodle.
Another table made from a selection of semi-precious stones. My photo doesn't do it justice.
I have taken SO many photos and will have to end for today for fear of losing everything when I press publish!