Chatsworth

It’s a long time since I’ve been to the first Duke of Devonshire’s palace in the Peak District, the south front of which was designed by William Talman whilst the Earl of Devonshire (as he then was) was in retreat as MP for Derbyshire, implacably hostile to the actions of the Crown and one of the signatories to the letter inviting William of Orange to invade in defence of protestant liberties.   Quite a medieval act of treachery for such a pillar of the community.   I’ve always been a bit sceptical of the idea that the architecture is in some way a statement of the independence of the post-Revolution nobility, but the internal courtyard is certainly full of martial imagery

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In the past, I found the interiors of Chatsworth oppressively heavy and over-ornate, but spending time going round slowly, I realised how magnificent some of the detailing is.   Caius Gabriel Cibber’s carving in the chapel:

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The wealth of carved and painted decoration:

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Outside I admired the great south front designed by Talman (based on Bernini):

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Hercules:

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The statues surrounding the original London and Wise round pond:

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Thomas Archer’s garden pavilion:

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Paxton’s East India Orchid house, now converted into a Vinery:

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I ended up walking back to Baslow across Capability Brown’s park.

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