One of my regular commutes to work involves a regular visit to Derbyshire. Its a 4 hour round trip but the drive is so beautiful I don’t mind it one bit. Well, except the time the snow came down pretty heavily and I had to make it out of there pretty quickly before they started closing all the A roads.
One of my highlights is driving through the Chatsworth estate and it’s absolutely beautiful. A vast estate, acres of lush greenery as far as the eye can see. I’m not really sure how much belongs to Chatsworth but it looks like a fair bit of it does. Imagine the quintessential Sunday drive through British countryside. Green hills, pretty trees and herds of sheep and deer (as well as the odd grouse) just cantering about carefree, wherever their will takes them. That is Chatsworth. I have found myself having to stop completely many a time to let the deer run across. I once relayed the whole thing fairly excitedly on a conference call. I’m not sure everyone else wanted my many interjections of deer commentary, besides one guy who did pipe up he fancied venison on toast. Which isn’t the picture I was trying to get across. I have to be fairly careful as the sheep are pretty fearless and I have worried occasionally about what I would do if I accidentally found myself knocking over one of them. Luckily that’s never happened, mainly as I tootle through at approximately 5 miles an hour.
I’ve always admired the huge and awesome Chatsworth House that sits within the estate but, in the year and half I’ve been making the trip, never had a chance to see the inside. So last week I decided to make some time to pop in and took my camera to capture some of the fascinating things that reside within.
The historic house is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and has seen 16 generations of family. It houses a massive art collection from 5 centuries and you could spend a good few hours admiring it all learning about significant pieces from the helpful historians dotted about. I was on a flying visit unfortunately but I will definitely be going back with my two Z’s one day to enjoy all their other offerings, including a play farm and children’s play area. There are various events throughout the year. The Pride and Prejudice one sounds really intriguing. Although I’m not sure I would go as far as to turn up in an 18th century gown for a waltz around their ballroom. It would be most confusing to my work colleagues too no doubt.
These are just some of the bits I captured. The veiled lady (as I kept calling her), known more accurately as “veiled vestal virgin” has to be my favourite. The 6th Duke of Devonshrie visited Rafaelle Monti’s studio in Milan in 1846 and placed an order with a £60 deposit. She was completed 6 months later and shipped to England where she was initially displayed at Chiswick House, in London, before being moved to Chatsworth House in the in 1999.
I was a bit surprised to see the big foot, aptly named “Foot wearing a sandal”. I remember seeing an exact or very similar one in Rome about 8 years ago and recall wondering how massive the entire sculpture would have been if it was still intact.
If you do happen to be in the area I would highly recommend a visit here, especially if you love art, followed by a visit to Matlock and Bakewell (to pick up some pudding of course). And if you’re sad like me you should also put on a bit of classical radio and cruise through the estate as you step back in time for a bit. Watch out for speedy deer. And sheep. And grouse.