Chatsworth is wonderful and there is so much to see and admire in the house – much to much to go into one review. To make it manageable, I’ve split it into four separate parts.
These occupy the east front of the house and are reached along a dark corridor with rooms off. The rooms are designed to give an impression of what they may have been like during the lavish house parties of the early C20th.
The First two rooms proclaim Marquis and Marchioness of Normanby on the small label on the door. The main bedroom is quite dark with deep red wallpaper and the curtains are kept closed. It has a large four poster bed with a set of stairs to get into it. At the foot is a writing desk and there is a leopard skin rug on the floor. The ensuite bathroom was added in 1938.
Of it is a smaller dressing room with a single bed. This would have been used by the husband if he was drunk or needed to be up early in the morning for a shooting party. On a table is a wash basin set.
The lovely green wallpaper is Chinese. This was first imported in the C17th and was still popular when the sixth Duke refurbished the guest bedrooms. The paper was supplied in sets of rolls and painted with birds and flowers. These could be cut out of scraps of paper and stuck on to the wallpaper to hide joins and fill gaps.
The WELLINGTON BEDROOM was used by the Duke of Wellington when he stayed at Chatsworth during the visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The green and silk bed hangings were made from curtains in 1965. It also has Chinese wallpaper. Again it has a smaller dressing room with a single bed off.
The LEICESTER BEDROOM is in the oldest part of the house and Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester supposedly used this room when he visited Chatsworth. It has Chinese wallpaper and heavy wood furniture. The canopy and hangings were removed from the bed by Evelyn, wife of the ninth Duke who was concerned the old and dirty hangings caused sore throats.
The tour now goes down the servants staircase to the ground floor.
The LIBRARY is in the original Long Gallery and the gilded stucco ceiling with paintings by Verrio is all that remains of this. The Library is the work of the sixth Duke who needed space to house his growing collection of books. The gallery running round the top of the room is accessed via a secret spiral staircase hidden behind a bookcase. There is no access to the room, which is admired from the doorway.
The ANTE LIBRARY was originally a billiard room but was later fitted with bookcases to match those in the Library. It has a grand piano and a huge mirror above the fireplace. The painted ceiling is one of the newest in the house being painted in 1823 and depicts Iris presenting the wounded Venus to Mars.
This leads into the GREAT DINING ROOM, again created by the sixth Duke and was just finished in time for the visit of Princess Victoria with her mother. He also commissioned the silverware on the table. It is a sumptuous room with scarlet wall hangings and a gilded stucco ceiling. The two fireplaces have Bacchanalian figures carved on either side. Apparently the sixth Duke was disappointed by them as he wanted something a little more abandoned.
On a wall table is the Chatsworth Tazza which is one of the largest objects made from a piece of Derbyshire Blue John. On either side are Blue John vases which now act as lights which shows off the opalescence of the mineral.
Beyond are the new gallery and the Sculpture Galleries. The NEW GALLERY runs parallel with the Sculpture Gallery and has family photographs plus also ones of other famous people.
The SCULPTURE GALLERY was built by the sixth Duke to display his collection of contemporary sculpture. His original intention was to collect ancient sculpture but there was little around to buy. Instead he bought or commissioned works of modern sculpture from the leading artists of the time.
The tour now exits through the Orangery shop, again the work of the sixth Duke and into the “gardens”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/gardens/england/east_midlands/chatsworth/index.html , which merit their own review.
There is more information and a lot more pictures “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/stately_homes_castles/england/eastmidlands/chatsworth/index.html