• Chatsworth House visit, Mar '15
  • Author avatar
    Emily Humphrey
Chatsworth House visit, Mar '15
Chatsworth House, just up the road from me in Derbyshire re-opened it's doors for the season this weekend & I think it's fair to say it totally blew me away. I grew up on regular visits to Chatsworth; to the Adventure Playground, Farmyard & for walks on the Estate but was too young to be interested in the house & gardens. So now, quite a bit older & wiser I went along for a nosey & wasn't disappointed. 
I knew the gardens were famous for their fountains but hadn't expected a tropical glasshouse which was crammed full of the most beautiful Camellias, one was patterned like raspberry ripple ice cream which particularly took my fancy & I'm sure will crop up in a print soon! 
Inside the house itself it is just SO opulent! Look at these amazing frescos on the ceiling of the Great Hall, such detail & not a surface left unadorned, just incredible. The violin on the photo below is a tromp l'oeil painting on to a flat surfaced door, even up close I had to double take. Nice surprise to see a special commission with one of my fave wallpaper designers Deborah Bowness for the "Make Yourself Comfortable at Chatsworth"exhibition that was running in the interior of the house, showcasing stand-out contemporary chair design that encourages you to sit & 'experience' the various designs. Bowness' commission used photos of original chairs & back-drops from various rooms of the house but re-worked into her beautifully subtle hued, characteristic tromp l'oeil style.
The various wall coverings were fascinating, see below a close-up of the leather stamped & guilded 'wallpaper' that adorned one room & then there were the bedrooms....
Chinoiserie wallpapers like I've never seen floor to ceiling amongst the richest velvet bed canopies edged in beautifully detailed & lush tassels & trims. The rose devorè patterned fabric shown below (bottom right) was originally used as a wall covering & later re-worked into these curtains. Whole landscape scenes in printed fabric filled the walls of another room creating serious drama behind the gallery of pictures exhibited on top. Love the use of fabrics as wallcoverings, it makes an interior instantly tactile & ooze extravagance!
There were some beautiful collections of minerals around the house & intricately in-laid furniture using the patterning of various marbles & stone strata's. Loved the single, vertical row display method for these plates below against wood panelled walls, really statement & something I'll definitely try & imitate when my antique plate collection grows a bit more & some more tassels, because you gotta love a tassel! 
I used to whinge that the admission fee seemed a bit steep at £20.00 (that's the Yorkshire in me) for the Gardens & House, but worth every penny & I can't wait to return to see how it looks in the Summer & then again with the house all decorated for Christmas. They don't make or decorate like this anymore, it's total Maximalism with no expense spared, all about impressing the visiting gentry & playing Peacock. Downton eat your heart out!
  • Author avatar
    Emily Humphrey