Thursday, 26 May 2016

Bess's Hardwick - Part 2

The gardens at Hardwick are surrounded by these elegant stately walls. If you look beyond them it is possible to see the old house that Bess abandoned half way through the build in preference for her far grander Hardwick, which was created for her by a cast of thousands in only seven years

Clematis alpina 'frankie'
Pretty Erysimum 'Artist's Paintbox'
Tudor Herb Garden
The ground floor was for services, with pantry and kitchen on either side of the great entrance hall
The Muniment Room - dating back over four hundred years, each box contains legal documents, title deeds, and other documentary evidence relating to land ownership
Many of the embroideries, laces, and tapestries are over 400 years old. It is the largest collection of c16th and c17th textiles to have been preserved by a single English family.
The one above is at least 12 feet high - a monumental piece of appliqué embroidery c1573 being part of a set called 'Noble women and their virtues'
This grand stone stairway leads on upwards to the family rooms on the taller first floor
Entrance doorway to Bess's apartments showing 
a carved stone soldier, symbolically reinforcing the real soldiers who would have rotated guard duty on the stairway landing. There is most likely some symbolic meaning to the closed and open peapods and also to the hand grenade above the soldiers head but I am not sure what.
Another long wide flight of stone stairs leads to the State Appartments where the big windows on the top landing give a contemporary appearance. On this second floor the Great Chamber is hung with tapestries and paintings, but has the most spectacular plaster frieze running around the entire room
Full of symbolism it depicts Diana, Greek Goddess of hunting who is surveying a hunting scene filled with many exotic animals that would have been unknown to the majority of people in the 1590s. Diana is an allusion to Queen Elizabeth I, notably as on the opposite wall to where Diana is sitting is a unicorn, a creature that can only be captured by one of pure heart. The frieze includes the Tudor coat of arms, another reference to Queen Elizabeth I
The Long Gallery is one of the highest and longest in England - just over half of it is shown here.
Next time Bess's final resting place

44 comments:

  1. The copper pots are stunning - is that a real fire in the grate?
    And all the document boxes...

    Ms Soup

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    1. No, it is just a red light simulating fire

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  2. Another lovely post. My in laws are coming up to visit us in our new Derbyshire home on Monday. Our first stop will be Hardwick Hall. Thank you for all the info, really interesting and useful.

    Jean
    x

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    1. Enjoy your visit - there is a final post still to come

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  3. A beautiful house with so much great items, as tapestry and tose documentary boxes!

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    1. The tapestries are main Flemish

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  4. So magnificent building, if only I would be there too, and see all these beautiful details you show us. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I wish you could too Orvokki - I would love to show you around

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  5. Wow -- all those tapestries, lace and embroidered textiles -- WOMEN'S ART! Clearly she valued it.

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    1. I guess that she was a feminist hundreds of years before the term was invented.

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  6. I was delighted to see another wonderful post about this magnificent house. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you Catherine - I am pleased that you enjoyed it

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  7. What a stunning place! The textiles and the frieze are unbelievable!

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    1. I think that you can feel that the house was built by a women for her own use.

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  8. A home and garden for Titti...just me :)
    Lovely place I must say!
    Titti

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    1. If you couldn't afford to heat it in the winter, I expect if you ran up and down the stone stairways a few times you would soon get warm.

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  9. The garden hedges are immaculate.
    Inside is interesting with those copper pots so clean.

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  10. Dear Rosemary,

    Such a wonderful home with all the lovely things, the tapestries to the copper pots. Also love the pretty garden and it must have been amazing visiting here.
    Enjoy the weekend
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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    1. Although it is a stately home it is a place filled with the touch of a women having lots of different fabrics which she obviously loved

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  11. Dearest Rosemary,
    Wow, all that artwork like those meticulous friezes, being done in the 16th Century is quite amazing. Nowadays it would not be possible due to excessive manual labor cost! Bess sure left us with a lot of history and long lasting beauty.
    The grounds and gardens are also quite impressive!
    Hugs and happy weekend,
    Mariette

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    1. There were nearly 400 stonemasons alone building the outside of the building. I really loved the Tudor Herb garden filled with such a large and interesting variety of different herb plants.

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  12. It's an amazing place, I could spend hours and hours looking round. I especially love the gardens, and it's always a pleasure to see everything so beautifully maintained.

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    1. Over the past 20 years the NT seem to have improved and updated so many of their properties which is pleasing to see

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  13. Dear Rosemary, I love these additional photos of Hardwick. The gardens are spectacular. I had forgotten about the wallflower and have made a note to include them into my garden next year. I'm reminded of a special garden nearby where Wallflowers were used as underplantics to tulips and daffodils.
    I would love to see the plaster frieze in person. They are so very special.

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    1. Dear Gina - I think that wallflowers are probably rather overlooked these days and yet they can add so much colour and sweet scent to the borders for much of the summer. I remember that my father used to grow them every year in orange, russet, and red. I particularly like the Artist's Paintbox variety used at Hardwick.

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  14. I would go there just for the plaster frieze. What a wonderful thing.
    Bess must have been absolutely intolerable, but history (and sometimes architecture) needs people like that!

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    1. I thought perhaps she might be a difficult women to deal with but she did have four husbands who obviously fell under her charms, so the jury is still out for me.

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  15. Hardwick hall house and garden look wonderful. That plaster frieze is wonderful it has so much detail. Sarah x

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    1. The plaster frieze just knocks you out when you first see it. It is so detailed and also extremely big. A few craftsmen must have had fun over 500 years ago creating it.

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  16. Dear Rosemary,
    What a beautiful place. Both the castle and the gardens. Stunning! It must be an absolute nightmare to keep warm during winter though and I can see that many of these big estates were impossible to keep for families when the money ran out and the black holes that needed to be filled were too many. So glad you've National Trust who helps you to save these beautiful and historical places.

    Have a wonderful weekend sweet Rosemary.♥

    Charlie
    x

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    1. You are right Charlie it must have been a terrible job to keep warm in the winter time especially. It has huge fireplaces in all of the rooms, but the very large glass windows must have hindered the heating process too.
      We are supposed to have a warm weekend, and hope that you do too♥

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  17. What an incredible house! The stove in that kitchen is to die for!!

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    1. Glad that you have enjoyed seeing it all Marica.

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  18. Can't wait for the next chapter in this thread : ) !

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    1. Thank you so much, this comment has made me very happy.

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  19. Hello Rosemary, I just got back to Ohio, and was delighted to find these two posts about Bess of Hardwick. As handsome as Hardwick New Hall is, I was most fascinated by the existence of the abandoned Hardwick Old Hall, of which I had never heard. Is it possible to inspect close-up?
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - yes, it is possible to visit the old hall which is now just a shell. Even though it is open to the elements quite a lot of the ornate plaster work on the internal walls is still in evidence.
      Hope that you enjoy your time back in Ohio.

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  20. This post is another treat with all the elements I love - some history, beautiful images, flowers and art. Just when I wonder 'what is that' you give an explanation.
    Bess certainly built herself a monument. I have to admire her determination, as it took forever, and a lot of money, even for a woman with her financial resources.

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    1. There were just under 400 stonemasons alone that worked on the outside stonework of the house - she was a strong women to survive in what was a man's world - the courtly intriques that went on must have been a minefield to negotiate.

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  21. There is so much to see there. The house looks immaculate and the gardens very neat. It is interesting to see the art designed to keep favour with the Queen. I hope that the guide to the Muniment room was always kept safe, otherwise it would have been some task remembering which document was in which drawer!

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    1. That was probably quite wise of Bess to keep favour with the Queen, especially Queen Elizabeth I.
      I liked the Muniment room, but yes, the guide would certainly make life very difficult if it was lost.

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  22. It's a magnificent house but so too are the gardens. The Tudor herb garden looks very interesting and what a pretty clematis.

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    1. Loved the herb garden Jessica - I had an Alpina clematis once but seem to have lost it, not that variety, but it reminded me that I have it no longer.

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