Quick background on the house.
The original house at Chatsworth was built in the mid 16th Century and then rebuilt later in the century by the next owner, the first Duke of Chatsworth who spent the 30 years rebuilding it, essentially only keeping the Elizabethan interior walls.
The 6th Duke later added a library and the stables and bridges over the River Derwent were added by some other Duke with too much money in the 18th century. The gorgeous parkland surrounding the house was landscaped by ‘Capability’ (great name!) Brown. The 4th Duke hired him to reshape the formal garden into a more natural one. We happened to see another Capability garden a few weeks ago when we went to Wrest Park. It was also stunning. I posted pictures a few weeks ago of it.
The house brought several pressing questions to mind. Who the hell dusts a house this size? How did people communicate from one end of the house to the other before intercoms? And how many calories would a person burn every time he/she left something in one room and had to run back up the grand, gigantic staircase and down the corridors to look for the missing object?
The current Duke and his wife, the Duchess, reside in one of the many wings of the house. They didn’t come out and greet us. Most of Chatsworth, and I don’t mean just the house, I’m talking about the town itself, is owned by them.
Also, there was some strange exhibition going on inside the house. Everything you see that makes you go HUH? is part of the installation. It’s totally incongruous in the environment.