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Chatsworth House and the Emperor Fountain ©Austenonly

Chatsworth House and the Emperor Fountain ©Austenonly

It has been a pleasure to visit country houses this Diamond Jubilee Year, for most  I have visited have celebrated the Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by creating displays of their own Coronation memorabilia. I visited Chatsworth some weeks ago for my annual treat, and yes, as expected, their displays were the best I saw this season. Chatsworth is, as you are no doubt aware, the Derbyshire home of the Duke of Devonshire, whose family name is Cavendish. And of course, Chatsworth is one of the places Elizabeth Bennet visited with the Gardiners  in Pride and Prejudice, and some would contend that it was the model for “Pemberley ( not me,however!) and so it holds a special interest for Janeites .

The West and South façades of the house have now been stunningly restored, and it was simply breathtaking to see it glinting- with all the newly re-gilded windows and stone ornaments on the roof- in the summer sunshine, and to enjoy the refreshing (and very welcome!) spray from the fountains.

The Emperor Fountain ©Austenonly

The Emperor Fountain ©Austenonly

In addition to having a display of the clothes worn by the 10th Duchess, the 11th Duke and Duchess and their son,who is now the 12th Duke, at the 1953 Coronation, Chatsworth also put on show the carriage that the 11th Duke  his Duchess and their heir used to travel to Westminster Abbey.  Their State Chariot, plus liveried footmencoachman and a phantom horse were on display, to great effect, in the wonderfully large Painted Hall. You might remember this room from the “Pemberley ” scenes in Joe Wright’s production of Pride and Prejudice of 2005, which I discussed some time ago, here.

The Chariot in the Painted Hall ©Austenonly

The Chariot in the Painted Hall ©Austenonly

This is the view of the Chariot display from the top of the stairs seen in the phonograph, above. It is testament to its great size that  having a carriage and “horse” set out in the Hall did not make it feel at all crowded.

The view down onto the Chariot from the stairs in the Painted Hall

The view down onto the Chariot from the stairs in the Painted Hall

As, quite unexpectedly, we seem to have been covering the theme of Jane Austen, Livery and Heraldry this year, I thought you might like to see photographs of this display, as they help to reinforce and explain various points that we have discussed before.

The Devonshire State Chariot ©Austenonly

The Devonshire State Chariot ©Austenonly

Though this Chariot may have been made slightly later than our period, (it came into the Cavendish family upon the marriage of the  8th Duke to the Duchess of Manchester in 1892) you can see, by comparing it to William Felton’s engraving of a Neat Town Chariot, below

"A Neat Town Chariot" from Felton's "Treatise on Carriages etc." (1797)

“A Neat Town Chariot” from my copy of Felton’s “Treatise on Carriages etc.” (1797)

and his engraving of an Elegant Chariot

An "Elegant Chariot" from Felton's "Treatise on Carriages etc." (1797)

An “Elegant Chariot” from my copy of Felton’s “Treatise on Carriages etc.” (1797)

that this version would have been very familiar to Jane Austen. The Devonshire State Chariot is, as we have now come to expect, decorated with many details which would make the identity of its owners easy for those “in the know” to recognise.

Side View of the Chariot, showing the Cavendish Arms on the Door Panel ©Austenonly

Side View of the Chariot, showing the Cavendish Arms on the Door Panel ©Austenonly

The door and side panels are decorated with the Cavendish coat of arms

The Cavendish Coat of Arms painted on the Door of the Chariot

The Cavendish Coat of Arms painted on the internal side  of the door of the Chariot

and with emblems associated with the family…

Close-Up of the Cavendish Coat of Arms ©Austenonly

Close-Up of the Cavendish Coat of Arms ©Austenonly

You can compare the painted example, above, to the example of the newly restored and painted stone version of the Cavendish Arms on the West Front of the House, below:

The newly restored and coloured Cavendish coat of arms on the West Front of Chatsworth House ©Austenonly

The newly restored and coloured Cavendish coat of arms on the West Front of Chatsworth House ©Austenonly

The side panels of the Chariot were decorated with the Ducal coronet, with its strawberry leaves, and with the Order of the Garter (and its chain), the highest order of chivalry that can be awarded by the monarch in England and Wales. All the Dukes of Devonshire, with the exception of the current Duke, have been recipients of this very important Order .

The Cavendish Arms on the Side Panel ©Austenonly

Detail of the Side Panel: the Garter Badge and Chain ©Austenonly

Around the roof of the Chariot, silver versions of the Cavendish emblem, the coiled snake, can be seen…

The Cavendish emblem of the Snake in silver, adorning the Chariot side Panels ©Austenonly

The Cavendish emblem of the Snake in silver, adorning the Chariot side panels ©Austenonly

The Hammercloth, which you can see below, and which covers the coachman’s seat, is a  very extravagant affair and is made up in the colours to be found in  the Devonshire family’s coat of arms, that is, their heraldic colours. I must admit that I prefer these  to Sir Walter Elliot’s colour scheme:

 ”He is rear admiral of the white. He was in the Trafalgar action, and has been in the East Indies since; he has been stationed there, I believe, several years.”

   ”Then I take it for granted,” observed Sir Walter, “that his face is about as orange as the cuffs and capes of my livery.”

Persuasion, Chapter 3

Here is William Felton’s  plate showing the different styles of Hammercloths from his Treatise on Carriages,etc (1797)

Examples of Hammercloths from Felton's Treatise of Carriages etc (1797)

Examples of Hammercloths from Felton’s Treatise of Carriages etc (1797)

As you can see, the Devonshire Hammercloth was also adorned with the Ducal coronet and with a version of the Cavendish arms,  in silver:

The Cavendish Coat of Arms( in silver) on the Hammercloth

The Cavendish Coat of Arms( in silver) on the Hammercloth

The family’s heraldic colours were also used in the sumptuous interior decoration of the Chariot.

The Interior of the Chariot ©Austenonly

The Interior of the Chariot ©Austenonly

You can clearly see that the status of the family is reinforced at every point: the representations of their arms, emblems and heraldic colours advertise to the world exactly who  are its exalted and rich owners:

The Upholstered Interior of the Chariot

The Upholstered Interior of the Chariot

The Leather-covered Folding Steps

The Leather-covered Folding Steps

The heraldic theme is even continued on the horse’s harness and reigns. Only one example was on show- on a ” horse” armature which reminded me of the animated horses in the National Theatre’s production of  War Horse!

The Harness, embellished with silver mounts ©Austenonly

The Harness, embellished with silver mounts ©Austenonly

Made of leather, the harness set is embellished with silver mounts, some which depict the Cavendish arms…

The Harness, embellished with silver ornament

The Harness, embellished with silver ornament

and some the Ducal Coronet:

Detail of the silver embellishments on the reigns and harness ©Austenonly

Detail of the silver embellishments on the reigns and harness ©Austenonly

You will recall that if a family were possessed of the right to bear arms, their servants-  the footmen and coachmen-, could, in Jane Austen’ era, wear uniforms made of colours dictated by the heraldic colours used in the family’s coat of arms:

A gentleman may wear garments of any colour his fancy may dictate, but he is not permitted such license with regard to the uniforms of his servants: the colours of these depend entirely on the tinctures upon his Escutcheon. In both, the dominant colour should be the same: the subsidiary colour of the livery ( or, as a tailor would call it, the trimmings- that is, the collar, cuffs lining and buttons) should be the colour of the principal Charge.

(The Handbook of Heraldry etc., (1869,  John Cussans, Page 314.)

Do note however, that these liveries were made, IMHO, at a later date than the mid 19th century, as the colour yellow- to represent gold( or more correctly, Or) was used, and that was not thought strictly correct at that time. The colour of the Coachman’s uniform of great-coat and tricorn hat,  was derived from the Cavendish family’s heraldic colours: the black hat decorated with silver thread, and his coat made to match the blue of the hammercloth

The Coachman's Uniform

The Coachman’s Uniform

The footmen’s livery again complied with the rules we have previously learnt: their bicorn hats were decorated with silver thread as were their jackets and waistcoats:

The Cavendish Footmen's Livery ©Austenonly

The Cavendish Footmen’s Livery ©Austenonly

The livery  jackets were yellow, but the cuffs, waistcoats and breeches were blue, again to comply with the rules regarding the use of heraldic colours . The silver buttons on the livery were also embossed with the Cavendish arms,not the crest:

Buttons should always be of the dominant metal in the Arms and charged with the master’s Badge- not his crest. The latter belongs exclusively  to the bearers of the Arms; servants have no right whatever to them. 

(Cussans, as above, page 316)

You might care to note that, because he had admired them on visit to Chatsworth, the 11th Duchess sent a set of these 18th century silver livery buttons to President John F. Kennedy as his inauguration gift .

The rear view of the Chariot ©Austenonly

The rear view of the Chariot ©Austenonly

This rear view shows the step where the footmen stood while they travelled with the family, and also gives a good view of the detail of the back of their liveries. Here is a slightly closer view:

View of the Footmen's Livery

View of the Footmen’s Livery

This is, I hope you will agree, a wonderful example of the use of coaches and liveries to make a statement, according to the heraldic rules and regulations.

If you would like to see the clothes worn by the 11th Duke and Duchess ( and their son) at the Coronation, then do go here to my Pinterest Page on the Coronation of Elizabeth II. I won’t continue it here because it has precious little to do with Jane Austen, but you might like to know that the robe worn at the Coronation by Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire was thought originally to have been a set worn by Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and they are  quite breath-taking and very beautiful.

The 11th Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and their son, The Marquess of Hartington on the way to the Coronation in 1953 ©Austenonly

The 11th Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and their son, The Marquess of Hartington on the way to the Coronation in 1953 ©Austenonly

I shall be writing more about Chatsworth next year…in my celebration of the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Pride and Prejudice and I do hope you will join me.

Chatsworth House from the south-east @Austenonly

Chatsworth House from the south-east @Austenonly

Sue S commented ruefully yesterday on this post here, that not many ordinary people would have been able to purchase items for the Chatsworth sale due to the vastly inflated prices the lots realised. This is most probably true, but at least the National Trust bought some items on our behalf which will be put on display at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire.

Emile de Bruijn, my jolly and very interesting correspondent, informs us via his fabulous blog Treasure Hunt of the successful real Treasure Hunt he recently conducted  to bring back to the  Hall two lots that were on offer to the public at the  Sale. Go here to read his article ‘From the Attic, in full.

©NTPL/Mike Williams

And the reason the Trust bought items from the sale? Hardwick Hall- more glass than wall- the magnificent Elizabethan country house designed by Robert Smythson, and once the home of an English She-Wolf, Bess of Hardwick, was owned until the 1950s (when it was given to teh nation by Andrew the 11th Duke in lieu of death duties) by the Cavendish Family and so to have some objects once owned by the Dukes to place into the rooms there was thought to be a desirable thing. I quite agree.

(But as the Earl of Hardwick was one of Mary Queen of Scots captors during her long imprisonment in England, I am not at all certain that Jane Austen would be equally enhusiastic…..)

The interim results are in – and yes-  once again the country house sale effect has resulted in massively inflated prices. The sale was expected to realise a total of £2.5 million from 20,000 lots. On the first day it raised £4.4 million, and a further £2.1 million on the second day, making a total of £6.5 million.

An item from the now demolished Devonshire House -shown above- that once stood in Piccadilly opposite Green park, attained the  highest sale price.

It was a white marble George II chimneypiece dating from circa 1755.

Here it is shown in situ, in the Saloon at Devonshire House circa 1900. It was probably designed by William Kent and carved by John Bosun. Estimated at between £200,00-£300,000 it sold for £565,250.

A magnificent mahogany bookcase dating from 1805-1810, attributed to the makers Marsh and Tatham after designs by Thomas Hope, shown below in his fashionable Ottoman Empire garb, in a portrait by Sir William Beechey dating from 1798, was also for sale.

It was commissioned by William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire in association with his then wife, Lady Elizabeth Foster, as part of their plan for remodelling the Duke’s bedroom at Devonshire house, and is  also sold well.

It has a central door that opens and is similar to  bookcases commissioned by the Prince Regent. Estimated for sale £60,000-90,000 it sold for £145,250.

The enamel, diamond and ruby brooch shown below, sold as the property of Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire,the present Duke’s mother and only surviving Mitford sister, was estimated at £80-100.

It eventually sold for £8,500. My goodness….now that’s what I call an attic sale.

I thought you might like to take a look at the e-catalogues for the Chatsworth and Ashdown Attic sales, both houses having connections to Jane Austen as I explained in my posts here (Chatsworth) and here (Ashdown),  and which are now available to view online at the Sotheby’s website.

The Chatsworth e-catalogue is available here

and the Ashdown House e-catalogue is available here.

There has been tremendous press interest in the Chatsworth sale recently;  it has been featured in magazines, newspapers and TV news programmes. The sale will take place next week and I promise to broadcast some of the results here.

Be warned, you can lose many, many hours on-line gazing at the marvellous and varied contents. My imaginary bid list is getting longer by the day…

I thought you all might enjoy seeing this video about the items on at Chatsworth…Go here to view it.

The catalogue to the Chatsworth Attic sale ,which I wrote about previously here, and which is to be held at Sothebys in London on the 5th -7th October landed on my doormat with a satisfyingly heavy thump yesterday. And while I have only had  time to scan through its 512 pages(!), I thought you might like to see what I think are some of the more unusual items for sale. The scholarly catalogue is organised Duke by Duke time wise and my favourite items all hail from the times of the 5th Duke, husband to the famous Georgiana, and of the era of his son,The Bachelor Duke. Items from the now demolished  Devonshire House, the Cavendish family’s London mansion and Chiswick House are included in the sale and it will be an architectural antique dealers paradise, so many great architectural pieces included, having been saved from the houses when remodelling or demolition took place.

First,a lot to outrage Marianne Dashwood:  Lot 347, a George III mahogany, ebony and boxwood strung satinwood banded piano, which has been adapted to serve as a writing desk. Can you imagine the horror! Id quite like it,however…. It was made by the London piano makers, Broderip Wilkinson of 13 The Haymarket , and dates between1798-1807. it was included in the Chatsworth Inventory of 1818. There is also a Broadwood square piano circa 1815, Lot 568…. was it a gift from Frank Churchill?…No, it was brought by the 6th Duke and is estimated at £2000-3000.

Lot 365 is a delicious George III ebonised and parcel gilt work table circa 1800,probably owned by the Countess of Burlington at her home in Compton Place, Eastbourne. Estimate £500-1000. Below is a selection of lots of object of virtu-I  covet Lot 451, the seed pearl brooch in the shape of a lyre, circa 1820 which has an estimate of £250-350.

Lot 301 is a miraculous survivor: a collection of 14 18th century turned oak canon ramrods. Nine have their original canvas bags which protect the sheepskin covered heads,and four have wrought iron sprial finials.Estimate £2,000 to £3,000. I would love to bid for these for my military history obsessed husband….

Lot 303 is a set of eight triangular wooden carriage stops(essential in the hilly surroundings of the Peak  where Chatsworth is set).Estimate £30-50.

More quirky objects can be found in the ceramics that are for sale. Lot 765 is a collection of seven rare English creamware Bourdaloues, two marked “Wedgwood”. These were used by ladies in the 18th century to relieve themselves when in church  or at the theatre. Named rather unkindly after the French Jesuit preacher Louis Boudaloue who gave long interminable sermons. These are estimated at £400-600

This trout head stirrup cup made by the Derby porcelain factory is delicious and dates from 1800. It has an estimate of £800-£1200

If I coud buy something,then I’d like these: early 19th century theatre lights used, one presumes, in the Bachelor Duke’s theatre at Chatsworth. I adore them.

I’m sorry, I just lied to you. Barefacedly. Forgive me. What I’d really like from the sale is this magnificent sleigh, with wrought iron runners and upholstered in leather which was acquired by the 6th Duke possibly when he was ambassador to Russia in  1817 .It is only estimated at £20o0 -£3000

Im sure the Mitford, Cavendish,Chatsworth associations are, as in the Althrop sale, going to make these estimates look exceeding low…when the auction takes place I’ll report back to you.

Following on from the Althrop Attic Sale held at Christie’s earlier in the year, the Chatsworth Attic Sale is now confirmed to take place between the 5th and 7th October at Sotheby’s in London. Mentioned in Pride and Prejudice as a place Elizabeth Bennet visited while on her tour of Derbyshire with the Gardiners, Chatsworth is a magnificent place, homes of the Dukes of Devonshire and their families since it was built in the late 17th century,and was even the location for the exteriors and some interior shots of Pemberley House in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightly.

The grand viewing of the many, many articles on sale will take place  at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire betwen 1st and 4th October. Full details of the opening times, etc can be found here. Sadly, I won’t be able to get to the sale but I will be able to buy the catalogue, which you can also do by going here. Buying the catalogue gives you free admission to the viewing at Chatsworth, note.

The sale sounds stupendous: some of the items to be sold include a pair of George II simulated-stone, carved-wood brackets, circa 1735, based on a design by William Kent, estimated sale price of £20,000-30,000; forty meat and poultry covers, made from Sheffield Plate and Electroplate, dating from the 19th Century, together with an iron-bound oak plate chest, with a brass label engraved with “His Grace The Duke of Devonshire No. 1″, estimate sale price of £3,000-5,000; a ruby and diamond brooch, circa 1900, belonging to The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, estimated sale price of£80-100.

Sotheby’s  press release ( full details here) gives some further details of the individual lots:

The sale will have at its core a wealth of fine, rare architectural fixtures and fittings, the existence of which had been obscured by time. Discovered beneath layers of dust, these magnificent pieces – handsomely carved fireplaces, architraves, doors and shutters – were once part of the fabric of the many great houses that have featured in the Devonshire family’s extraordinary history, including Chatsworth itself, Chiswick House, Hardwick Hall, Lismore Castle, Compton Place, Bolton Abbey and, most of all, their palatial London residence, Devonshire House, on Piccadilly – for centuries the centre of London’s social, political and cultural elite.

Devonshire House on Piccadilly, opposite Green Park, now the site of an office block, has long been of interest to me: it is shown below as it appeared in the late 19th century.


– so sad that this palace in town was demolished in the 1920s. I would love to have seen it and its contents:

Devonshire House, Piccadilly, was the centre of London society in the 18th century – it was there that Georgiana (Duchess of Devonshire-jfw)

ran an alternative court – a hedonistic palace where fortunes and reputations were lost and won. The house contained the finest of all the family’s possessions, more than Chatsworth or any other properties of the estate; Devonshire House was a showroom through which the most influential figures of the day passed. Designed and built by William Kent in the 1730s, Devonshire House was demolished almost 200 years later in the 1920s, whereupon much of its interior, from doors and original furnishings to elegant, gilt chairs, was carefully removed to the attics of Chatsworth. A unique opportunity to re-create this “lost palace of London”, the surviving objects featured in the sale include all manner of architectural fixtures, furniture and objects of everyday life.

The sale comprises 20,000 objects in over 1,000 lots, ranging in estimated values from £20 to £200,000 .They trustees of the Chatsworth estate hope to raise what seems to me to be a rather modest sum £2.5 million from the sale.What is the betting that, like Althorp, the amount raised in total from the sale will be  much, much higher?

Laurel of Austenprose has kindly asked me to contribute some posts for her Pride and Prejudice Without Zombies Group Read. Today I am writing about Country House Tourism in the early 19th century,and next week will be writing about William Gilpin’s influence on Jane Austen’s writings…So let’s apply to the housekeeper, shall we? I’m sure she has some interesting tales to tell…

******************

Tourism in the United Kingdom, visiting grand country houses and the untamed countryside, developed apace in the 18th century. The diaries of the period reflect this trend containing as they do many, many accounts of visiting differing parts of the country, and of course, the trip that the Gardiners and Elizabeth Bennet make to Derbyshire  in Pride and Prejudice is an example of the typical tour that those who could afford to would want to make. Their original destination,The Lakes of  Cumberland, Westmoreland and Lancashire, were terribly popular.

The Gardiner’s second choice, Derbyshire, was almost as celebrated.

Why this growth in domestic tourism? First, because of the developments in travel: if you couldn’t “get” to a country house/pleasant vale easily you simply couldn’t visit it. Improved roads-both routes and road surfaces- and the system of posting horse and carriages for hire, made travel easier for those who could afford it.  Secondly ,The Grand Tour of Europe , as undertaken by Edward Knight, Jane Austen’s brother, was tourism on a grand lavishly expensive and foreign scale, but it became impossible to complete. The wars with Napoleon curtailed safe travel to Europe to a large extent,  and so people turned to touring England and Wales for  leisure and educational purposes.

The interest in viewing country houses and their grounds  increased as the concept of ‘taste” was taken up in England . Originating in 17th century France, taste, -le gout- and by that I mean the idea of expressing one’s superior education and good breeding by one’s possessions, house and gardens,  was taken up rather rapidly by the English, of nearly all classes.

If you were unsure as to what actually constituted good taste help was at hand. Edmund Burke, in his book, “Philosophical enquiry into the Origins of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful “(1757) and Jane Austen’s favourite, William Gilpin, with his series of books on The Picturesque-the correct way to view landscape and country houses,as compositions for pictures,- led the way in explaining what was de rigueur.( More on Gilpin from me next week, by the way)

As Adrian Tinniswood comments in his  wonderful book on the history of country house tourism, The Polite Tourist, when talking about visiting  Lord Scarsdale’s magnificent house, Kedleston House, also in Derbyshire:

It is no coincidence that Kedleston Hall should have been the most consistently praised of all new houses in the later 18th century. It conformed absolutely to the educated classes’ conception of what modern architecture ought to be : costly, but not showy; elegant but not effete; convenient and in line with the accepted canons of classical taste, but at the same time spectacular enough to stand out from the mass of country houses. Together with its collection to became a symbol of the ideal: and by noticing and approving of the paintings, the proportions and the grandeur of the whole, tourists could share in the owner’s statement of his culture and taste. They were able to demonstrate that they belonged to that collective elite which constituted polite society at the end of the 18th century.

Provided people were correctly attired, polite and genteel and could travel, then, by the early 19th century the cultural world of the English country house was open to them. The English began to explore their own country and its contents, equipped with these sophisticated guides for the evaluation of art, architecture and the natural scenery around them.  It gave people an opportunity to develop and exhibit their own sense of  “taste”, something Elizabeth Bennet quite naturally does while walking around Pemberely House and its grounds.

The housekeeper came; a respectable-looking elderly woman, much less fine, and more civil, than she had any notion of finding her. They followed her into the dining-parlour. It was a large, well-proportioned room, handsomely fitted up. Elizabeth, after slightly surveying it, went to a window to enjoy its prospect. The hill, crowned with wood, from which they had descended, receiving increased abruptness from the distance, was a beautiful object. Every disposition of the ground was good; and she looked on the whole scene — the river, the trees scattered on its banks, and the winding of the valley, as far as she could trace it — with delight. As they passed into other rooms these objects were taking different positions; but from every window there were beauties to be seen. The rooms were lofty and handsome, and their furniture suitable to the fortune of their proprietor; but Elizabeth saw, with admiration of his taste, that it was neither gaudy nor uselessly fine; with less of splendor, and more real elegance, than the furniture of Rosings.

Pride and Prejudice Chapter 23

In order to be able to criticize Darcy’s taste Elizabeth needed to be able to  understand what was acceptable and correct,and more importantly, what was not. Something she did with ease, though she found criticising oil paintings in the Pemberley gallery  rather more difficult. An example of Mrs Bennet, yet again, failing her daughter in her education: even if masters were to be had, they had patently failed to provide Elizabeth with an education in the appreciation of art.

I’ve dealt with some aspects of opening these country houses to the pubic in the 18th and early 19th centuries -the problem for visitors and owner alike and the role of the housekeeper in an old post here on Austen Only, which  I do invite you to read, for  in this post I want to concentrate on a different aspect of country house visiting: the practicalities of such tourism, and to answer such questions as how did the visitors find out about these houses and estates? And what was on show once they were there?

To the first question. Obviously the houses in one’s locality would be known to the prospective country house visitors, but when travelling how did the traveller know where these places were to be found, especially if you were not in the company of a knowledgeable former resident like Mrs Gardiner?

The answer again is to be found in books. Detailed publications like John Britton and Edward Baylake Bayley’s  The Beauties of England and Wales; or, Delineations, Topographical, Historical and Descriptive of each County ,

Or, John Cary’s Traveller’s Itinerary,

proliferated in the early 19th century to guide the determined traveler, and are one of my favourite types of antiquarian books collect. The one probably of more use to us today was written by a woman, Georgiana Kearsley whose Traveller’s Entertaining Guide Through Great Britain is a favourite of mine.

Cary’s book is a masterpiece detailing all the roads and cross roads in England and Wales ( with some of the main routes in Scotland)

and he does give some descriptions of houses –the seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen – to be seen along the route you are taking while riding in your comfortable carriage or hired post-chaise. Both books, note, contain a chapter amounting to 60 pages each, giving  details , set out alphabetically, of most of the known country houses in the kingdom

(Do note that you can enlarge all the photographs of the pages of the books in order to be able to read the detail:

I do recommend it as I find them fascinating.)

But Georgiana Kearsley’s book is far more detailed. For example, on this page we have her version of part of the route from London to Manchester, passing through the towns of Matlock, Darley, Rowsley and Bakewell in Derbyshire.

The entry for Bakewell, is very useful for the traveler, and tells him all he really needs to know:

Bakewell is the best town on the north side of the Peak, on the Wye. It is supposed to have been a Roman town, because of altars dug up near it at Haddon-house. Three miles on the r. is Chatsworth a magnificent seat of the duke of Devonshire. It is reckoned among the wonders of the Peak. It is a most magnificent house, built of stone dug on the spot and is a most beautiful structure. This was one of the prisons of Mary queen of Scots. On the road, three miles on the r. is Hassop, F. Eyre esq.

Inns: George, New George.

Let’s deconstruct this entry.

She tells us a little of the ancient history of the place, important for the early 19th century traveller as  interest in antiquities was then a very gentlemanly pursuit. Then she informs us of the direction to Chatsworth, with details of what might attract us there and a little of its history.

And finally Georgiana points out another house where we might want to apply to the housekeeper to see its gardens and contents. Then once we have decided to linger in Bakewell to see these  attractions we are told of the two inns where we can stay overnight, or refresh ourselves and our horses on the way. All very useful information, I’m sure you will agree.

Once the travellers arrived at a country house, what would they see? Well, of course, the route and content of such a tour depended on the owners of the house or  the housekeeper’s patience or desire for a gratuity. We know that Elizabeth Bennet’s tour of Pemberley House included viewing  the hall, dining parlour,other rooms,including Georgina Darcy’s sitting room, the picture gallery and some bedrooms.

Was this typical?

Lets compare it to a tour of Osterley House just outside London, the home of the wealthy banking family, the Childs, which was made by Sophie von La Roche, the German authoress in 1786. The house was originally a Tudor building which was  aggrandized in the 18th century by Robert Adam. Her account is full of delicious detail and prefect for our purposes today and here are some extracts from it, illustrated with pictures of the rooms she is describing:

Today we made a pleasant trip to Osterley Park, Madame Child’s country seat, widow of the late banker of this name, whose property amounted to 500,00 guilder. We would never have imaged such a place had we not seen it It lies eight miles from London, in the county  of Middlesex almost opposite the Duke of Northumberland’s fine property Sion House, and indeed they are the joint owners of equal shares of the Sion Monastery estate….

As friendly Mr Burth, whom I met at Count Reventlow’s had sent us a ticket admitting five people, we were led into the breakfast room until the caretaker arrived. Where we looked at some nice pictures, had a view on to the park and the very portion of the wood where the fallow deer were and had the pond on one side and some field and Richmond hills in the distance on the other.


Fr0m here the friendly woman conducted us into the magnificent library….the dining room is very large with delicious decorations and looks out onto flower beds…


From here we came through a fine tapestried apartment into a gallery 130 feet long with large windows onto the garden…


This gallery led into the drawing room, where are some superb hangings and chairs of Gobelin Tapestry


We entered a green bedroom next,


Then one where all the draperies and curtains  are richly yet prettily embroidered. Another lovely room follows and yet another called the Etrurian cabinet since its wall paintings are copied from one similar found in Pompeii…

Upstairs we saw Mrs Child’s apartments; she is away in Switzerland at the moment. These are dainty boudoirs contining all the  most delicate porcelain, gold and silver ornaments and miniatures. More especially a collection of enamels being the portraits of the Child family and a number of them by the famous Petitot.


I was pleased to find my “Sternheim” in English translation amongst Mrs Child’s book and on the fly leaf I wrote down  something of the joy and pleasure I had experienced at Osterly Park- in English too as well as I was able…

We went down to the very lowest floor where are all the sevants quarters-kitchen,

bake-house, laundry housekeeper’s lodge- all as spruce and clean as I myself could have desired my whole life long

The dairy and milk room however surpassed all my expectations. There was an entrance in which  milk and milking pails and butter tubs stood in splendid array al white with brass rings gleaming like gold; then down a step into the dairy where the milk was standing in large flat china pans, especially made with broad spouts for pouring off the milk, around the four walls on grey marble tables….we were brought each a glass of cream with bread and  butter in it…

And the housekeeper led us on though the poultry run and across a fine spot reserved for the washing, bleaching and drying back to her own part where we had to partake of some cherry brandy and very good cakes so that the milk should not chill in our stomachs..

We visited the garden especially the Chinese summer-house where all the furnishings come from China…

Into a vegetable garden there again were whole hosts of  a thousand different flowers besides the vegetables; hot houses containing hundreds of pineapples of unusual size; one for growing rapes…Beehives made with particular care so that their work should always be visible.

Sophie’s tour was long and more detailed than Elizabeth’s. Viewing the domestic offices is an unusual thing to do for the time, as was being offered refreshment. But I can’t imagine Mrs Reynolds allowing visitors -even celebrated authors- to deface her mistresses’ book….In the last few years many people has asked me if bedrooms would really have been on show at Pemberley, as they felt that this would have been too intrusive. I think you can see that it was clearly not  an outrageous thing to have done when compared to the extensive tour of Osterley house,which included both state and private bedrooms,and so the answer is, “yes’.

So there you have it-the practicalities of touring a grand country house in the early 19th century. Sophie von La Roche’s tour compared rather well with Jane Austen’s imaginary tour of Pemberely as experienced by Elizabeth Bennet, but of course it had one vital difference:  she didn’t manage to marry the  intriguing owner of the estate…. I do hope you have enjoyed this post and it will add a little something when you tour Pemberley in the company of the Gardiners and Elizabeth Bennet in Chapter 42.

***************

If you are intrigued by this subject and want to know more I can do no better than recommend my Twitter Buddy and fabulous historian, Adrian Tinniswood’s great and entertaining book( to which I referred above ), The Polite Tourist.

Sadly, it is currently out of print and quite hard to find secondhand, but Adrian tells me he has six copies of the book and he is willing to sell his remaining copies to the first comers.You can contact him here: he is a wonderful author and a smashing chap so do try and get his book (s) if you can. You wont regret it :-)

Like the idiot I can sometimes be, I forgot to inlcude images of  The Veiled Vestal Virgin in yesterday’s Chatsworth Interiors post.

She used to reside in the Sculpture Gallery and that is of course where she was seen by Elizabeth Bennet ( played by Kiera Knightley) in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice.


Last year she was moved to  the exhibition space on the top floor of Chatsworth, but now she lives in the Oak Room next to the Chapel.

The Veiled Vestal Virgin is lifesize and is incredibly intricate as you can see from the photographs,(which can all be enlarged by clicking  on them),and was made from marble by the sculptor, Raffaelle Monti (1818 – 1881). She was commissioned by the sixth Duke of Devonshire -The Bachelor Duke-  on 18 October, 1846. She was  completed in 1847

My apologies for the omission ….

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:-)

(The West Front of Chatsworth House,with its gilded window frames glinting in the sun:

note you can enlarge all the pictures in this post merely by clicking on them)

The time fixed for the beginning of their northern tour was now fast approaching, and a fortnight only was wanting of it, when a letter arrived from Mrs. Gardiner, which at once delayed its commencement and curtailed its extent. Mr. Gardiner would be prevented by business from setting out till a fortnight later in July, and must be in London again within a month; and as that left too short a period for them to go so far, and see so much as they had proposed, or at least to see it with the leisure and comfort they had built on, they were obliged to give up the Lakes, and substitute a more contracted tour, and, according to the present plan, were to go no farther northward than Derbyshire. In that county there was enough to be seen to occupy the chief of their three weeks; and to Mrs. Gardiner it had a peculiarly strong attraction. The town where she had formerly passed some years of her life, and where they were now to spend a few days, was probably as great an object of her curiosity as all the celebrated beauties of Matlock, Chatsworth, Dovedale, or the Peak.

Pride and Prejudice ,Chapter 42.

I will be discussing some of  the history  of the house and of  visiting  Chatsworth during the early 19th century in my post for Laurel Ann of Austenprose’s Group Read of Pride and Prejudice without Zombies on Friday, but recently I made my annual pilgrimage to  the Duke of Devonshire’s Palace of the Peak and  I thought I’d share some of my memories and photographs with you here .

Today we shall look at the exterior and the grounds, and in my next post the sumptuous interiors.

Here to give you some idea of the scale of the house and gardens is a link to Chatsworth at Google Maps:

If you dive into the zoom function you can see all the details of the grounds with astonishing clarity….

This is the South front of the house which overlooks the Canal Pond( excavated in 1702) and the Emperor Fountain

here seen from the windows of a room on the  third floor of the house.

It was designed and engineered by the 6th Duke’s great gardener and inventor , Joseph Paxton(the man who eventually designed the innovative Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition).

The fountain waas built with the thought that  Czar Nicolas of Russia might visit Chatsworth while on a state visit to England in 1844 .Sadly he did not arrive but the fountain was named after him in any event.

It  is on record as having reached the astonishing  height of 260 feet, and is gravity fed from the great reservoirs  created in the hills high above the house and gardens.

I can confirm that the author’s small son loves to be drenched by it on hot days….

The south facade of the house over looks this part of the garden,and fans of the 2005 production of Pride and Prejudice will recognise the steps where Darcy and Elizabeth “met’ at Pemberley.

The garden on the West front is private, but can be viewed from the upper stories of the house. It is laid out in golden box, in the pattern of the floor plan of Chiswick House, Lord Burlington’s magical Palladian villa, once owned by the Cavendish family.

To the east of the house is Thomas Archer’s magical Temple, sitting majestically

a top the Casacde built for the first Duke in 1702-1711. As you can see people are allowed to paddle in it and I confess that on a hot summer’s day dipping my feet into the freezing water is a refreshing delight.

The gardens are full of magical garden features…

serpentine beech walks…

and the Willow Tree Fountain first planted in 1692. Which again is a delight to the author’s son( Note to visitors with children-be advised to bring with you  towels and changes of clothing!)

The house and surrounding scenery, viewed from the higher ground  above the level of  the casade is so beautiful…

The view is , in my very humble opinion, breath taking..one of Capability Browns best designs, maintained wonderfully ever since….

And here is a small video of the house and the cascade, compete with giggling children to give you some idea of the very happy relaxed atmosphere alway to be found in the grounds at this magical estate.

Please do join me next time,when we shall apply to the housekeeper  for a tour of the house….

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