Having reached the top of the great stairs (with a bit of help and a few stops) and caught our breath, we then made it through he guest bedrooms. This was yet another area of the house that the 6th Duke of Devonshire had pulled through with, converting them into fashionable rooms in 1830 for guests to stay in. Today the bedrooms also displayed some other elements such as contemporary art, alternative furniture and even various hats suspended throughout the air – which truly made me feel like I had walked into the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party!
As I think I have mentioned in a previous post, two of the bedrooms are still known as the ‘Scots Apartment’ due to Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587) having spent various points of her imprisonment here. I should note that these guest bedrooms also share the beautiful view of the Cascade and Cascade House.
The rooms today are laid out in a fashion that they would have been in the late 19th Century. This was the period when large house parties were part of the country house lifestyle of Chatsworth. The rooms materials and furnishings are rich in their decoration, and are aligned with the style of the Regency and Victorian taste during the 19th Century. While some furnishings are showing the toll of time passing, others have been restored with the help of the archives kept at Chatsworth, which was also touched on in a display. While modernity is shown in so much of the art and sculptures that were on display when we visited, it was truly lovely to also see how the current Duke and Duchess have also kept restoring certain elements of the house so they’re not entirely lost through time.
As we left the bedrooms, I was immediately enthralled b the portrait of Georgiana. It is actually the cover of my illustrated edition of Amanda Foreman’s book, Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire which I have a post about right here. This portrait is by Maria Conway 1782 (ikr -rare portrait actually produced by a female artist!) and Georgiana is portrayed as the goddess Diana here. I think I remember reading somewhere that her sound had said this was the closest likeness to her out of all her portraits.
Can you guess which Duke created the Oak Stairs? yes, it’s the 6th Duke. Honestly, I don’t want to think about how much he spent in todays money on transforming Chatsworth into what it is today. He had four floors removed in order to created the grand space that is today known as the Oak Stairs and Leicester Landing. This space connected everything together, it connected the original house to his new North Wing and the variety of reception rooms all built between 1818-1832. The dome above, is not only incredibly opulent but very practical in providing plenty of light for the staircase and the variety of portraits showcased in this space. I have to admit the dome reminds me so much of the film Now You See Me, I’m not sure entirely why but it’s something I just couldn’t shake then and still can’t now.
The walls of the stairs and landing, hold so many generations of the Cavendish clan. These include a portrait of Blanche Georgiana Howard, the wife of the 7th Duke and niece of the 6th Duke. There is also a large portrait of the 1st Duke astride his noble steed. There is also a pair of portraits of the Tsar Nicholas I of Russia (1796-1855) and his Tsarina; whom were close friends to the 6th Duke. A rather grand portrait is that of The Acheson Sisters, depicted in the ‘same-but-different’ costumage and poses that radiate all types of Edwardian Elegance. I must say this was probably one of my favourite portraits. I love the detail of the dresses, especially the translucence of that fabric with the oranges peeking through.
We then went on with the rest of the house but again, I will leave that for next time instead of droning on about it all here.
Cheerio for now!
*If you haven’t checked out my previous posts on Chatsworth House, you can do so here.