29 July 2012
Chatsworth ~ The House
No matter how you look at it, Chatsworth is one imposing building/estate/garden/etc. It's hard to imagine just one family living here (though really, countless people did and do live here, just to keep the place functioning).
Throughout the grounds, there are statues from across the centuries. I enjoyed these playful hounds in the courtyard as you prepare to enter!
The entry hall is grand and imposing. All extremely ornate.
How do you being to describe such a sight? Words fail me.
Throughout the house, one of the things I loved the most, was the quality of the wood carving. From these beautiful twisting pillars with their garlands of flowers and the beautiful paneling... (and note the beautiful velvet dress worn by the Duchess of Devonshire at the Queen's Coronation)
to the exquisitely delicate and intricate carving in the chapel...
And the life-like birds on the panels in an adjacent room, which is all of a hunting theme, hence the "dead" birds. Beautiful and amazing to see such wood carving.
So many of the rooms were over the top, such as this Plate Room with its collection of oriental porcelain hung in columns on the high walls. For myself, I found the "State Rooms" to be dark, uncomfortable and a little too much for my simple tastes. Amazing to see? Yes, but who would want to spend much time in those rooms? Really?
I found the house hard to get comfortable with. The grand scale of everything puts it out of reach somehow. I also found much of the interior to be very dark ~ not just because of the conservation efforts, but there was so much dark wood paneling, especially in the formal State Rooms. I couldn't wait to get out of them after a while, as I found myself craving light! It was much better in the guest bedrooms with their lighter walls, but the sheer quantity of ornamentation also got to be somewhat overwhelming for me.
I did love the long hallways hung with artwork ~ so many amazing paintings to see! And didn't Mr. Darcy walk down one of these hallways?
Beautiful crystal chandeliers in the hallways.
Gorgeous tapestry rugs on the bedroom floors.
Amazing handpainted wallpaper on one of the guest bedroom walls.
Everywhere you looked, there was another beautiful piece of artwork, such as this massive painting by John Singer Sargent.
The dining room was enormous. Somehow this room seems so much more friendly than most of the other public rooms here.
My favorite thing to see here in the house at Chatsworth was the statuary, in particular, this lovely piece which is delicate and beautiful and an amazing tribute to the skill of the sculptor.
But this sleeping lion captured my heart as well!
So, here I am, at the end of the day, a little footsore, overwhelmed with all I had seen, and grateful that I will eventually go back to a small home and ever so glad that I don't have to be responsible for taking care of this enormous place and all of its beautiful, if over the top, stuff! It was fun to see, but I'm so glad to live a simpler life!