Tuesday, 21 July 2015

A Day out at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

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!


  1. Great post BB. It is a stunning house. I agree about the modern chair type thing spoiling the old four poster.

  2. You should have seen some of the other bits of "art". I sat on one (photo later perhaps) but it was just a bit high for my . . . crutch . . . and I pulled a face and some Germans looked at me as if I should be locked up for larking about!

  3. Oh, it's the reddy-orange "chair" beside the lovely malachite table. It was made for someone with longer legs than mine!

  4. I have had a couple of visits to Chattsworth, lovely place did you see the Lotus Blossom that opens to revel a fountain in the gardens :-)

  5. I have a book on Chatsworth, but will probably never get there, so your post was just wonderful for me. That trompe l'oeil is the realest one I've ever seen! Amazing.

  6. That house is so over the top, sumptuous does not even begin to describe it! My favourite was the carved wood room and the scruffy little poodle. A lovely visit, thanks for the photos....

  7. Dawn - yes, we saw that, but if it ever got to being a big fountain, we couldn't hang around any longer. There was just a little drizzle of water out of the top whilst we were there. Cleverly done.

    Nan - welcome. I hope you will enjoy my other posts on Chatsworth and do the armchair travel instead. Just left a post on your blog. An interesting book.

  8. Thanks for the tour BB. I used to live in Lichfield years ago andthat was within striking distance so it was a place we would often take visitors staying with us. My favourite piece has always been the violin - it has always absolutely fascinated me how anyone could make it so realistic.

  9. As a child I grew up close by Chatsworth and whenever I see it I am taken back to those days. I remember being most impressed by the Trompe l'Oeil painting of the Violin, I could not believe that it wasn't real. Oh! I have just noticed that The Weaver of Grass has the same recollection as me.
    The gold leaf was reinstated on the window frames about 4/5 years ago. It was known to have been on the window frames when first built but had disappeared over the centuries.

  10. A lovely post - I've never been to Chatsworth (really ought to remedy that!!) so it was wonderful to see all your photos. What a stunning house - the ceilings are beautiful and I would love to see the geological collection.

  11. Oh my stars, the malachite just sent me into paroxysms of joy; it's one of my favorite Earth Offerings. Many years ago I received a pair of earrings from a girlfriend and I was hooked by the incredible beauty of the small balls of green and black. That slab of table is the largest piece I have ever seen anywhere. (I Want It So Bad !~! )

    The other photos are lovely as well. Thanks so much for sharing all those pictures; you are a great photog.

  12. Pat - I agree, that violin is just amazing. You will know the house well then, and the grounds, from when you lived at Lichfield.

    Rosemary - I see the violin has more than a few admirers! Thank you for letting me know how recent the gold leaf was. Talk about opulent!

    R. Robin - I hope you will get to visit it in the not too distant future. I am glad we did.

    Lynda - Impressive isn't it? It never even occurred to me that malachite was present in such huge slabs when it was mined. You have got me wanting malachite earrings now! Oh well, I DO have Blue John ones and a Blue John necklace too.

  13. I confess that I don't like Chatsworth very much though I do love the trompe l'oeil violin and the malachite table. I like it a lot less now than when the previous Duke and Duchess lived there. The current occupants seem to me to have very poor taste - the juxtaposition of the state bed and that appalling piece of modern design being an example of this. Give me Haddon Hall anytime.