Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Sunny Day at Chatsworth

The front of the house is under cover for stone cleaning, so we have to do with a line drawing.

The entry gates have been cleaned and painted; 24K gold leaf.

We had planned to go to Chatsworth, rain or shine.  Fortunately, we had shine!  The skies are never completely clear of clouds, but the ones this day were fluffy and white.  The drive over took us across barren moors, up and down valleys and through some woodlands.  Arriving at the entry to Chatsworth, we drove down a long drive until it opened into meadows after crossing a small creek.  The house and gardens were in front of us, but we were directed onto the meadows to park, along with several hundreds of other cars.

There was a Jaguar show going on in the parking lot, but we found this Morgan much more interesting.

You thought this was the house, right?  It was originally the stables, now converted to a cafĂ© and restaurant with outdoor seating. Oh, and don't forget the gift shop!

There was a 3 pound fee for parking, which allows you to wander the land outside the formal gardens.  Several people we saw, brought their dogs to walk, others came prepared to have a picnic lunch, with maybe a hike thrown in for good measure.  The folks like us, came to see the house and gardens; entrance fee 14 pounds each for seniors!  We discussed not going, but decided this was our only chance, so......

The Grand Hall where are the visitors first enter.

Don't forget to look up; you're being watched.

The doors are really, really big.  I only come half way up.

Chatsworth is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, who set up a trust in 1960 which owns the house and land, while they now pay yearly rent to live there.  Their son, who will be the next Duke, is very environmentally concerned, so has helped the estate become more green in it's use of fuel, recycling, and amount of bags used in a year.  They also recycle their water for use in the toilets. The lands outside the formal areas are being cleaned and replanted;  as older trees die, they are harvested for their timber and new trees are planted. He says he wants to make the estate viable for the next 100 years. Impressive.

The family library was opened for viewing, but you could see that at times the doors were closed for privacy.  There was a table fully stocked with wines, liqueurs and mixers.

  Apparently one of the former Duchess' decided it let in too much light, so had it covered over.  During the recent renovations, the ceiling was removed to let the lovely light come in over the staircase, the walls of which are covered in paintings of kings, the tsar and tsarina, as well as family members. 
 The house is undergoing renovations and conservation.  Several sections of the outside have been cleaned and repainted in the style of the 1600's.  Gold trim on window sills, gold trim on the gate ornaments, stone facings cleaned.   The inside is also getting refreshed and repainted, again with great care for accuracy of date.  This is the best maintained of the grand homes or chateaux we have seen.

This lion is a copy of one in the Vatican.  The pope wouldn't sell it to one of the past Dukes, so he had his own carved.  The hall where this lives was the one seen in the most recent movie of  "Pride and Prejudice", which used Chatsworth as Pemberley.

Several current art works were being installed in the gardens in anticipation of a show opening in September.  Sotheby's is the curator. 

In the gardens, there are beautiful glass houses, the oldest being built in the 1600's.  One was planted with grapes, the vines being 200 years old and loaded with a muscat!  The family has a favourite dessert wine made from them.

The Cascade was completed in 1703.

It's too cool to grow grapes out of doors, so they built a glasshouse.  Looks like they have a good crop.

There is a section of the gardens designed by Joseph Paxton, who loved to use stacked rocks for effect.  He even built a mountain to climb up.  One of our favourites, that we would not have known about, except for overhearing a man who had visited there many times before, was the balanced rock.  Said to weigh 80 tons, I could make it rock back and forth.  It would have been great fun to have a load of kids riding on it making it move! 

The left side of the house......

the right side of the house.  When we get back to being able to use our computer, we will put them together.
After visiting Chatsworth, Bill and I have decided that in the future we will pick different ancestors.  This place was fabulous and the family still uses it every day.  At Christmas, the house and gardens are closed as all 36 family members come for the holidays.  They stay in the bedrooms that we walked through, eat at the dining table and probably have a huge Christmas tree, or two, or three, in one of the big rooms.  I bet the grandchildren even play hide and seek in all those amazing halls!  At least I hope they do!

No comments:

Doune Castle

Doune Castle was rebuilt by Robert Stewart, the Duke of Albany, a man who was the power behind the throne as Regent for James I of Scotland,...