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Yesterday we toured around the grounds of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, the home of the Duke of Devonshire. Today we shall visit the interiors,and  ever mindful of the maxim that a picture is worth a thousand words, there will not be many words in this post…but there will be many pictures ;-) The house has recently undergone substantial refurbishment and the tour of the house has changed considerably. So, even if you have been to Chatsworth within the past two years, a visit these days will be a very, very different experience.

The tour proper begins in the Painted Hall, the first ‘real’ room you enter after having gone through the north entrance hall….

The ceiling is magnificently baroque : do note you can enlarge all these photographs merely by clicking on them….

Many of you will of course recognise this room and the staircase as it was used  for one of the interior shots of “Pemberley ” in the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice..more on this later….

For the first time in years the courtyard around which the house is built  is now open to the public.

As you can see it is still in the process of being restored

The gilding on the balcony is simply stunning..we can get very used to a “faded” look in country houses,but  this of course is not how they would have looked when they were first built….then they would have glittered like this in the sun….

The Chapel is a very baroque confection. Probably Fanny Price may have like such a room in preference to the cool  Palladianism of Sotherton Court, which was clearly based on the chapel at Stoneleigh Abbey).And here I apologise for the fuzziness of these photographs. Chatsworth is wonderful in that you are allowed to take photographs of absolutely  everything within the house. This is HIGHLY unusual and laudable in my experience. But even so, I cannot bring myself to use “flash” as I think it is too disturbing to the other visiors.So you will have to put up with my fuzzy pictures in some  rooms on  this tour I’m afraid…..

This is an appalling picture of the family gallery in the Chapel.

The tour then takes you to the top floor where there is a series of State Rooms Drawing Room,  Music Room, Bedroom and closet like Dressing Room, all now furnished as  if they were awaiting a special visit  in the 1680s when the house was first constructed

A 17th century buffet…..

17th century Delft tulipieres..complete with faux tulips

Yet more Deft

A magnificent  gilt dressing table set

More Delft…woud they miss one tiny vase I wonder?

A fabulous Venetian looking glass…I love the dark sensuousness of these rooms. They are terribly atmospheric….

The Picture gallery has been re-hung with a fabulous light green silk and new curtains. All the portraits appear to have been cleaned.They are simply stunning.

Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire by Gainsborough….

And as the goddess Diana, the Huntress

Her son, The Batchelor Duke who was responsible for the enlargement of Chatsworth in the early 19th century is rather difficult to see in his new position….

But luckily an old photograph I have of him , taken from a better position, clearly  shows his odd resemblance to Matthew MacFaddeyn……

Some of the Treasures of Chatsworth are now on display…I adored this wonderful diamond tiara…

And the Staircase Hall has now been re-hung with its newly cleaned portraits:

Even George IV manages to look newly minted…(no mean feat)

For this season only there is a special exhibition to celebrate the life of the Dowager Duchess, nee Deborah Mitford.

This letter to her father, Lord Redesdale, was one of my favourite things. The Duchess ‘s father was of course the model  for the character of “Farve ” in her sister, Nancy Mitford’s  series of books beginning with The Pursuit of Love- one of my favourite series of books of all time (Austen excluded, naturally)

One of Chatsworth’s distinguishing features is the care  it gives to displays. These flowers were in one of the exhibition rooms simply to be beautiful…..

Here is a fuzzy picture of the Duchess’s coronation robes worn at the coronation of Elizabeth II( together with her page’s sweet outfit)

The Library on the ground floor is somewhere  I long to be left alone in…. on a windy winter’s night…next to the fire , book in hand…..(a girl can dream)

And the Great Dining Room always reminds me of Thornfield in Jane Eyre- a room of fire and ice

Silver galore….

The  room where Princess Victoria had her first grown up dinner party…..

Cranberry glass abounds……

And the passementerie is stunning……

The tour of the house concludes in the Sculpture Gallery..which again was used in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice...

It is a cool and lovely space……

With Napoleon’s sister

And his mother overseeing the proceedings…

Darcy is no longer there……

Nor is Lizzy Bennet’s  dress…….

With its beautiful detailing….

But I did see these items there  in 2006 and so I thought you might like to see them too.

So, there , our feet are now aching and we need to find some refreshment,and give Reynolds a very handsome tip….I do hope you enjoyed this little tour:-)

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