Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Palace of the Peak

If the weather was fine and father did not have a golfing fixture, mother would pack the picnic hamper, strap it to the back of the family car, and off we would go for a day out in the Derbyshire dales.
A Morris Ten resembling my fathers vehicle and painted in the same coachwork colours of black and British Racing Green. Our car was already old by todays standards when father purchased it to replace a smaller Morris car. I recall its dark green shiny ribbed leather seats, a front window that could open forwards on hot days, and funny orange 'trafficators' which popped out from either side when we turned left or right. 


As we drove up hill and down dale my siblings and I would sing.  We would bounce up and down in unison across the back seat whenever a steep incline was reached in an effort to encourage the old car up the hills. 
Trundling along the roads I would notice the lodge gates and long driveways to the many fine Derbyshire country houses, but none equalled the spectacular view of Chatsworth House nestling in its unrivalled Derwent Valley location. During my childhood Chatsworth was not open to the public, but whenever I return for a trip down memory lane those tantalising first glimpses are rekindled.
Welcome to the Palace of the Peak
Sir Wm Cavendish and his wife Elizabeth, better known to us today as Bess of Hardwick, bought the land where Chatsworth stands in 1549 for £600. Despite what was then an isolated moorland location, they started to build a new house, however, almost nothing of that original Elizabethan building remains. The Chatsworth House we see today was built in the architectural English Baroque/Italianate style which was completed in 1696. The current owner is the 12th Duke of Devonshire.
The Painted Hall with its impressive stairway which
sits beneath a ceiling painted by the French artist Louis Laguerre between 1692-94 for the 1st Duke of Devonshire. He began working at Chatsworth as assistant to Antonio Verrio, the Italian artist, who painted Chatsworth's ceilings above the Great Stairs and in the Great Chamber.
The Dukes have always been great patrons of the arts which continues today. In the chapel beneath a further ceiling painted by Laguerre sits the grand altar made out of Derbyshire Alabaster.
Standing resplendent in gold at eight-foot high is Damien Hirst's Saint Bartholomew entitled 'Exquisite Pain' -  This is part of a temporary sculpture exhibition taking place in and around Chatsworth until mid October
This staircase was a design revelation to visitors in the 1690s, its cantilevered steps appearing to hang in the air. 
Staircase ceiling painted by Antonio Verrio
An elaborate display in the Great Chamber showing off some Delft and silver gilt ware along with a fine pair of Delft tulip vases - Tulip vases are the legacy of 'Tulip Mania' which swept through Holland and into Europe during the 1630s

Antonio Verrio painted the ceiling in the Great Chamber. It depicts the Return of the Golden Age, representing the new reign of William and Mary, and shows the Virtues  conquering the Vices of ancient mythology. Whilst at Chatsworth Verio argued with the lst Duke's housekeeper, Mrs Hackett, so much so that he included her in the ceiling as one of the Vices
Mrs Hackett forever floating on the Great Chamber ceiling painted as one of the three Fates, Atropos, cutting the thread of life with her much 'abhorred shears'.
Trompe l'oeil (deceives the eye) painting of a violin in the State Music Room painted by Jan van der Vaart in the 1700s. The painting is on a real door, and the knob on which the violin seems to hang is also real, both of which help the illusion 
Portrait of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Thomas Gainsborough
I am showing this piece of furniture by William Kent because I mentioned him in a recent post about Rousham. Devonshire House, the family home in London was destroyed by fire in 1733 and the 3rd Duke commissioned William Kent to design a new house, both inside and out, as well as new furniture, much of which is still in the collection at Chatsworth today.
A myriad of colours reflected in one of the crystal chandeliers at Chatsworth
The Acheson Sisters - John Singer Sargent
This painting was commissioned by Louisa, Duchess of Devonshire, wife of the 8th Duke, and grandmother to the girls; the three sisters were frequent visitors at Chatsworth. Sargent visited Chatsworth to discuss the commission during the winter of 1901-02. 
Veiled Vesta - sculptured by Raffaella Monti, 1848
The Chatsworth Tazza
One of the largest objects made from one piece of Derbyshire fluorspar 'Blue John'
Reaching the end of the house visit, the 6th Duke's Sculpture Gallery awaits. He had it built to display his very large collection of classically inspired sculptures, including several by Antonio Canova
Two Crouching Lions by Francesco Benaglia (after Canova) guarding the exit leading to the gardens - one has decided to take a nap!
Next visit - the gardens
Bravo Chatsworth - no restrictions are placed on photographers - you can even use flash if you wish 

45 comments:

  1. Amazing pictures of the Chatsworth House, what a beauty. That violin is very well painted, I hadn't seen it was not real. Such nice memories with the family car riding into the country.

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    1. That violin is a little gem and of course it was painted by Jan van der Vaart one of your fellow countrymen

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  2. Quite incredible. Such opulence. A palace of the peak indeed!

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    1. It is one of those places that it is difficult to do justice to.

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  3. Ooh lovely. I haven't been there since my eldest, now 18, was a baby. Would love to go back. I love the veiled woman, so very clever. And the tablecloth asking visitors questions is my kind of thing.

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    1. It is many many years since I last went inside, and I wasn't disappointed at all

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  4. What an array of wonders are to be found at Chatsworth House: no wonder it is so famous! The glorious ceilings and architecture are so majestic, and I love the artistic gems. Hirst's gold Saint Bartholomew must be amazing to behold, the violin is brilliant, the Veiled Vesta very intriguing as well as lovely, but the John Singer Sargent triple portrait makes my heart sing with his beautiful faces and lustrous silk gowns. What a dear little girl you are in that photo Rosemary, alert and enjoying the world. Your family car excites me too - we had one the same shape and colour, which I can barely remember...so long ago! Thank you for sharing it all.

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    1. There are so many exquisite pieces that catch the eye Patricia - I find it is surprising just how many memories do flood back once you start writing and reliving them - I am so pleased that you enjoyed the post, thank you♡

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    1. The lions were beautifully sculptured

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  6. You certainly never disappoint. What a wonderful intro to this amazing place.

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    1. Thank you Janey I am so pleased that you enjoyed it

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  7. Wow! Never visited, but read Georgiana, a biography of the Duchess and one about the Mitford sisters, the current Duchess being one of them said her ambition was to be a duchess.

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    1. The Mitfords make for a very good read

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  8. Great photos of the inside of Chatsworth House, love the majestic stairway and the painted ceilings, but also the trompe l'oeil painted by Jan van der Vaart, well I think in it's total it's fabulous. Most impressive however, are your memories, driving along in the old Morris with your parents enjoying the view of Chatsworth.

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    1. I am pleased that you enjoy sharing my trip down memory lane Janneke

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  9. Yes, it is beautiful and festive.
    Stunning architecture and artwork.
    Greetings

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    1. It is a beautiful house filled with wonderful treasures

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  10. Dear Rosemary, Oh what splendor and so expertly photographed by you. Still, among all that beauty is my favorite photograph...a little girl in pigtails!

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    1. I can still remember having that school photo taken Gina - I wasn't keen on having it done then and the same still applies today - definitely no selfies from me.

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  11. Dear Rosemary, oh my gosh, this house seem to outdo everything. It is bombastic, gorgeous, incredible beautiful, totally over the top... The wealth of this family is hard to comprehend and maybe accept by a "normal person". Nonetheless one can't help but has to love the house! Can't wait to see your next post about the gardens!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. It is difficult to do the house justice Christina as it really is such a beautiful building both inside and out - we were fortunately that the weather was good for walking around the garden.

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  12. We were just at Chatsworth last week! I took many photos of exactly the same things as you, but not nearly as well as you did!! It was lovely to see your take on it and to read the things you shared. The gardens and the house are spectacular aren't they. I look forward to seeing your garden pictures! xx

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    1. Dear Amy - we must have just missed one another! I hope that you had a good day? Whilst going round the house it poured with rain, but luckily after lunch the sun came out for us and the skies turned blue.

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  13. Welcome back Rosemary, trust you had a lovely time.
    This house if just so lovely outside and in.
    The paintings are beautiful, all of them..such a delight to see all that you have shown.
    Looking forward to seeing the garden..

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    1. Thank you Margaret - I usually like to revisit my roots once during the year. Derbyshire has beautiful countyside with lots to offer the visitor, and it also has a wealth of many lovely grand old houses.

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  14. Well...Rosemary I like to be creative, but it is way past my bedtime and I just couldn't resist seeing if you'd added your post about your childhood! Now, after reading the other's comments... "DITTO!!!"

    I do especially love the Violin and of course, the John Singer Sargent!!! Good night, Rosemary!!!

    Mary in Oregon

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    1. Thank you Mary and I hope that you slept well!
      There are many fine treasures to be seen at Chatsworth which makes choosing difficult.
      Glad you enjoyed what I showed - it is not easy to do justice to this beautiful house.

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  15. Such a beautiful post on Chatsworth Rosemary - it's a place I've wanted to see for so long and, although I doubt I'll get there now, I must say your fabulous photos have brought all the beauty to me here - thank you so much!
    Loved the story of the drive in the family Morris Ten with your siblings - it was such a lovely car in British Racing Green.
    That Singer Sargent of the Acheson Sisters - oh my!!!!! Everything is absolutely gorgeous and I know what you'll show us in the gardens will be awesome - and can't wait!
    Off to France tonight - hoping to take lots of pix to share later!
    Hugs - Mary

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    1. Dear Mary - how kind of you to comment when you are off on your trip tonight - have an absolutely wonderful time, and I know that you will return with some lovely images from France. It will be great to be with your brother and his family as well.
      I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing Chatsworth, it always evokes strong childhood memories for me.

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  16. What a wonderful palace !!!
    You have had a amazin car, and your memorias are lovely.

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    1. Thank you Orvokki - glad that you enjoyed my memories and seeing Chatsworth House.

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  17. I enjoyed your photo's of Chatsworth Rosemary! My daughters and I loved it too. It's such a grand place with so much history and breathtaking scenery.

    Looking forward to see your photo's of the garden!

    Happy weekend!

    Madelief x

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    1. Thank you Madelief - so pleased that you and the girls enjoyed your trip to Chatsworth and also the Derbyshire scenery

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  18. It was lovely to read about your memories of car trips with your family. It is so easy these days to not appreciate how lucky we are to be able to visit these magnificence homes and enjoy all their treasures. Sarah x

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    1. It is amazing how things move on and change - there was a time when all of these wonderful properties and their treasurers were hidden away down long drives, and most people were unaware of their existence.

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  19. Dear Rosemary,

    Your image of the Morris Ten with its trafficators brought back happy memories of the car my parents drove in the 1950s. It was an English Ford, called an Anglia, and though it was a 50's car, it resembled to us the U.S. auto designs of the 1930s. Maybe you remember such a car.

    The views of Chatsworth are spectacular, even to the design of the runner going up that grand staircase! And I much prefer the thistles on the chair, rather than the ubiquitous ropes.

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    1. Dear Mark - I haven't visited the interior of Chatsworth for a long time, and on the last visit I recall a red carpet runner, so this one must be fairly new. I liked both the colouring and design and to my eye it complimented the surroundings more the previous runner.
      Yes, I do recall the Ford Anglia, in fact you can still see them at vintage car rallies - it is surprising how many of these old cars are still around, but they were built to last!!!

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  20. What an impressive building with just as impressive interiors , love that incredible trompe l'oeil ! And the photo of you ( I suppose it is you ) as a child is ADORABLE !

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    1. The child is me - a school photo which I recall not being keen to have taken!
      Chatsworth is often top of the list of favourite stately homes in the UK

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  21. I loved your intro - wonderful, evocative, description. And you've excelled yourself with all of those amazing, excellent, photos of this astonishing place. Enjoyed it very much. There's something about that Veiled Vesta...

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    1. Thank you Mike - the Veiled Vesta is an incredible piece of marble sculpture - I have no idea how you go about carving a face in marble with a veil in front of it.

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  22. British Racing Green, I heard such color name for the first time. I really like the color because it looks chic and made me imagine mingling to the forest green when racing through your homeland with windows wide open. Derbyshire reminds me of Darcy and the appearance of the fictional Pemberley would be like Chatsworth House. Inside looks too gorgeous and I’m a little overwhelmed. Sweet memories in Derbyshire and nice and comfortable life in Cotswold, you’re so blessed, Rosemary.

    Yoko

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    1. It is firmly believed that Pemberley was actually based on Chatsworth House from Jane Austen's descriptions. She was staying just a few miles away from Chatsworth at Bakewell when she wrote Pride and Prejudice.

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  23. From a childhood memory to a visit through the enchanting Chatsworth House, thank you, Rosemary, for sharing your memories, past and new ones, with us. You have a natural way of guiding us on tours that makes it feel as if we were right there with you. I just read your last answer above my comment and it's funny because I did get the feeling that I knew this place. It is definitely magnificent enough to be Pemberley.

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