I love to visit Chatsworth! So much to see and do. Lots of art and lots of history. Famous people. Gardens and country house. Plus, you may take photos everywhere. Inside and outside there’s so much variety. It’s hard to decide just where to start.
The South and East Fronts today
The South and East fronts from my 1970s Guidebook
The best thing about my recent visit was meeting up with the online book discussion group friends. Hopefully we have now established a tradition of having a summer outing in the country alongside our winter/Christmas ‘party’ in town. The weather on the 10th July turned out to be abominable – weather alerts, floods, torrential rain – but we all managed to get to Chatsworth, eventually, although instead of a jolly picnic on the grass we had a delicious hot meal in the Carriage House Cafe. Now and again the rain stopped and we ventured into the gardens but we did spend quite some time in the house and made three visits to the Cafe.
During the 1950s, ’60s and early ’70s my granny and grandad used to visit stately homes travelling from Norwich at first by motorbike and sidecar and in later years in my uncle’s Austin A35. They travelled very long distances but always within the day as they never stayed away from home overnight. I now have the collection of guidebooks which they bought at the time and I have two for Chatsworth.
It’s interesting to look through my old guidebooks – most of which were published by Pitkin (but not the above Chatsworth guides)- comparing the houses as they were then and as they are when I visit. So I’ve made this the theme of my Chatsworth post today.
A couple of times during today’s tour of the house you pass through the Painted Hall. This year, with it being the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Year, the Devonshire state chariot, used by the 11th Duke to attend the Coronation, is on display in there. I loved reading the little anecdote about the party getting lost on their way to attend the coronation in 1953.
The Painted Hall in 2012 with State Chariot on display
The Painted Hall and Tijou Balcony, 1970s
The Tijou Balcony today
From the Painted Hall and nearby corridor you can see out into an inner courtyard and the Tijou-designed balcony which would have been sparkling in the sunshine – had there been any!
Here is the Chapel today with its modern art and in the 1970s looking very traditional and rather OTT.
The Chapel Corridor now displays modern art sculptures and pots. I noticed a large group of Edmund de Waal pots on a mantlepiece.
One of the last rooms you visit on the tour today is the Dining Room :
Then there’s the sculpture gallery and the Orangerie now houses the shop.
My favourite wonder of Chatsworth is just a smallish painting. It’s a Trompe L’Oeil violin on the back of a door. Watch out for it next time you visit Chatsworth.
Trompe L’Oeil 2012
Isn’t it amazing?
And finally, just to show that we did get into the gardens :
The Knot Garden
Herb beds in the Walled/Kitchen Garden
The Emperor Fountain