If you want to visit a quieter, subdued Chatsworth, I suggest a tour of the house at 4pm on a Friday. It was (almost) like our own private palace for an hour or so.
The stables above, with wedding cars outside.
Turning my eye to the house itself, below is that Baroque bling on the inner courtyard that I mentioned last time – proof of how rich someone is because he can bling up the bit the general public don’t see. Or so I thought. I asked why not all the windows are gold and it was explained to me the corridors with the windows that aren’t gold are a later extension. When you’re at Chatworth look into the courtyard and you’ll see where more space has been added. This provided a corridor to avoid having to parade through the suite of rooms when navigating the building. A similar corridor was added at Syon House to provide access to the Victorian bedrooms.
Originally carriages would come through into the house but the courtyard was closed up to make a private inner courtyard. Only the original windows have had their original gold leaf reapplied.
Moving around the ‘later’ inner corridor we revisited the modern pieces on the mantle piece in the corridor where a lot of ‘collections’ are stored. I’m still not sure about those white vases.
See below, the Great Hall. EMPTY!
And just for good measure, another one.
And because I might never get this picture again, another.
I was with S, who tells me “I don’t do dead people’s houses” (despite suggesting the family might like an annual pass to Harewood House!!). It is always interesting to visit houses with someone other than D as it makes me look at things differently; D and I have our quiet rhythm all organised: I gush over the architecture, the side cabinets, the mirrors and the Canalettos while D knows snippets of history, the names of the artists and what the plants are.
S does take photos though and there was a lot of debate about how I should frame this picture.
And so we were upstairs.
Here are the rooms I managed to snap.
A lovely enfilade.
The door carving
The state bedroom
Sadly a monarch never stayed at Chatsworth so the state suite was never used.
A bedroom, one of may Victorian ones put in by the Batchelor Duke in his tail wing.
And another. I’m not a fan of Victorian bedrooms, of bedrooms in general unless they incorporate the magic words “chinoiserie” or “silk bed hangings”. Them and kitchens, I can generally take them or leave them.
Of course, 19th C aristos all went off and shot stuff. Poor pussy cats.
We visited the new refurb’d upper corridor where a lot of family art is displayed.
Give me the library.
Some say the library is the best bit of Chatsworth. I liked the piano outside it, which I was able to play (trust me, if there’s not a “don’t touch” sign or a pine cone on something I love to meddle). Apparently the current Duke would rather his piano is played, and I happily obliged.
The dining table. I can see creases (if you saw the 2012 mini series on Chatsworth you’ll be chuckling with me).
And finally, The Sculpture Gallery, empty.
We didn’t have time to visit the gardens but I left very happy indeed. I still don’t “like” Chatsworth but I “do” appreciate it, and you’ll see two of the reasons why during the next few posts.
When visited: October 2012
House * out of 5: ****
Theme tune: (Some) Starships (were made to shine)