Chatsworth (3)

I slept as near as could be to the Sabine Room, one of the state rooms on the third floor on the west front, which was decorated not by Verrio and Laguerre, who had been employed in the previous phases of construction, but by James Thornhill.   Thornhill was unusual at this period in being English, born to a Dorset gentry family in 1675, apprenticed to Thomas Highmore, and completing his apprenticeship in 1696.   This is one of the grandest of his decorative schemes, painted with much more flair and vigour than I would have expected from him, and depicting the Rape of the Sabine Women.   It was done in 1706, just before he was commissioned to paint the hall at Greenwich Hospital, and before the death of the first Duke.


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