Archive for the ‘Hardwick Hall’ Category

The state bed canopy at Hardwick

July 7, 2015
Full-length portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, English School, 1590s, oil on canvas, at Hardwick Hall, acquired through the National Land Fund and transferred to the National Trust in 1959,  NT1129128. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Full-length portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, English School, 1590s, oil on canvas, at Hardwick Hall, acquired through the National Land Fund and transferred to the National Trust in 1959, NT1129128. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

The previous two posts about textiles at Hardwick Hall gave me the idea to show some images of the Long Gallery there.

This imposing, almost hieratic portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, which hangs in the Long Gallery, illustrates the importance of textiles in Elizabethan interiors and court display. In her spectacularly embroidered clothes, encrusted with jewels, the queen is effectively en suite with the hangings behind her, the upholstered chair next to her and the carpet beneath her feet.

The late seventeenth-century silk canopy in the Long Gallery at Hardwick, originally part of a state bed made for Chatsworth by Francis Lapierre in 1697. Acquired through the National Land Fund and transferred to the National Trust in 1959, NT1127772. ©National Trust Images/Nick Guttridge

The late seventeenth-century silk canopy in the Long Gallery at Hardwick, originally part of a state bed made for Chatsworth by Francis Lapierre in 1697. Acquired through the National Land Fund and transferred to the National Trust in 1959, NT1127772. ©National Trust Images/Nick Guttridge

Near this portrait is a red silk bed canopy and headboard. It was originally part of the bed in the State Bedroom at Chatsworth and is one of the most magnificent surviving examples of late-seventeenth-century English upholstery.

The interior of the canopy in the Long Gallery. National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The interior of the canopy in the Long Gallery. National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

It was brought to Hardwick by the 6th Duke of Devonshire in the nineteenth century and set up as a kind of romantic stage set.

The portrait of Queen Elizabeth I hanging on top of one of the Gideon tapestries in the Long Gallery. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The portrait of Queen Elizabeth I hanging on top of one of the Gideon tapestries in the Long Gallery. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The walls of the Long Gallery are hung with a set of thirteen Flemish tapestries, probably made in Oudenaarde, showing the Biblical story of Gideon and his triumph over the Midianites.

These unusually tall tapestries were purchased by Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, the builder of Hardwick, in 1592. Originally they were the sole wall decoration in this room, but by the second half of the eighteenth century a number of paintings had been added on top.

Cut-velvet at Hardwick

July 3, 2015
The voided cut-pile velvet hangings and headboard of the bed in the Cut-Velvet Bedroom at Hardwick Hall. NT1127838 ©National Trust Images/Nick Guttridge

The voided cut-pile velvet hangings and headboard of the bed in the Cut-Velvet Bedroom at Hardwick Hall. NT1127838 ©National Trust Images/Nick Guttridge

In the previous post about the flossy silk hangings at Hardwick Hall I mentioned the Cut-Velvet Bedroom next door. Here are some images of that room, with its cut-velvet bed.

The Cut-Velvet Bedroom at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

The Cut-Velvet Bedroom at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/Nadia Mackenzie

The bed was made in about 1740 by Thomas Vardy and was originally at Chatsworth. It was brought to Hardwick by the 6th Duke of Devonshire as part of his antiquarian redecoration of Hardwick during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Detail of a voided cut-pile velvet curtain at Blickling Hall. NT355834 ©National Trust/Robert Thrift

Detail of a voided cut-pile velvet curtain at Blickling Hall. NT355834 ©National Trust/Robert Thrift

Velvet is made by raising warp threads over wires so that a looped pile is created on the surface of the cloth. Sometimes these loops were left uncut, or ‘unshorne’ in early-seventeenth-century parlance. But if they were cut in order to create a short tufted pile the resulting fabric would be called cut-velvet or cut-pile velvet.

Eighteenth-century mahogany chair from the Cut-Velvet Bedroom at Hardwick Hall, upholstered with voided-cut pile velvet en suite with the bed. NT1127929.2 ©National Trust/Robert Thrift

Eighteenth-century mahogany chair from the Cut-Velvet Bedroom at Hardwick Hall, upholstered with voided-cut pile velvet en suite with the bed. NT1127929.2 ©National Trust/Robert Thrift

One way of forming a pattern on velvet was to leave some areas pile-free or ‘voided’, as has been done here. The similar voided cut-pile velvet curtains at Blickling Hall show bright the colours originally were.

Flossy silk at Hardwick Hall

June 30, 2015
Detail of the flossy silk hangings in the Cut-Velvet Dressing Room at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Detail of the flossy silk hangings in the Cut-Velvet Dressing Room at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

One of the meanings of the word ‘floss’ is fine silk in spun strands not twisted together. I was looking this up because apparently the hangings in the Cut-Velvet Dressing Room at Hardwick Hall are made of ‘flossy silk’ – and they look rather good.

The Cut-Velvet Dressing Room. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

The Cut-Velvet Dressing Room. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Another meaning of ‘flossy’ is ‘showy or overdressed’. I suppose these hangings are quite showy, but in the context of Hardwick, which was all about show when it was built in the late sixteenth century, they don’t look out of place.

In fact much in this room, including the silk hangings, dates from the late seventeenth century, when the 1st Duke of Devonshire created two new apartments on the first floor at Hardwick, one for his wife and one for himself. But of course this is not really surprising in a many-layered house such as Hardwick.

Detail of the flossy silk hangings. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Detail of the flossy silk hangings. ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Even the name ‘Cut-Velvet Dressing Room’ is layered in a characteristically country house way. There is no cut-velvet in this particular room, and the name actually refers to the fact that it is the dressing room to the Cut-Velvet Bedroom next door. The splendid cut-velvet bed in that room, in turn, was a relatively late addition, having been brought to Hardwick by the 6th Duke of Devonshire in the nineteenth century.

The immediate inspiration for this post was the beautifully illustrated post about Hardwick over at the ArchitectDesign blog.

 

The tragic Arbella Stuart at Hardwick Hall

June 4, 2015
Lady Arbella Stuart as a child, 1577, at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Lady Arbella Stuart as a child, 1577, at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

2015 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Lady Arbella Stuart, granddaughter of the redoubtable Bess of Hardwick and at one time a candidate to succeed Queen Elizabeth I.

Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury, by Rowland Lockey, 1590s, at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/John Bethell

Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury, by Rowland Lockey, 1590s, at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/John Bethell

To mark the anniversary, the colleagues at Hardwick Hall have put on an exhibition about Arbella’s privileged but tragic life.

The south front of Hardwick Hall seen from the Orchard. ©National Trust Images/John Millar

The south front of Hardwick Hall seen from the Orchard. ©National Trust Images/John Millar

Orphaned at the age of seven, she was brought up by her grandmother, Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury – known as Bess of Hardwick – at Hardwick Hall. She received a princely education, studying several languages and learning to play the lute, the viol and the virginals.

Lady Arbella Stuart aged 13, by Rowland Lockey after an unknown artist, 1589, at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Lady Arbella Stuart aged 13, by Rowland Lockey after an unknown artist, 1589, at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Through her father’s side Arbella was the great-great-grandaughter of King Henry VII of England and therefore potentially in line to the throne. Ultimately, however, the influential courtiers Lord Burghley and his son Sir Robert Cecil invited Arbella’s cousin King James VI of Scotland to become Elizabeth I’s successor.

Lady Arbella Stuart, by Robert Peake, 1605, in the National Galleries of Scotland. ©National Galleries of Scotland, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Lady Arbella Stuart, by Robert Peake, 1605, in the National Galleries of Scotland. ©National Galleries of Scotland, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Because of Arbella’s connection to the royal line, the question who she might marry was a fraught political issue. In 1610 Arbella secretly married William Seymour, Lord Beauchamp, who himself was sixth in line to the throne. King James imprisoned them for marrying without his permission. They managed to escape separately, but Arbella’s ship was overtaken by the King’s men just before it reached France.

The Tower of London, by Wenceslaus Hollar, 1647. Source: Project Gutenberg

The Tower of London, by Wenceslaus Hollar, 1647. Source: Project Gutenberg

After being imprisoned in the Tower of London, Arbella refused to eat, fell ill and finally died on 25 September 1615. Her life and death are a poignant illustration of the uncertainties and upheavals of Elizabethan and Jacobean Britain.

Restoring the stable yard gate at Hardwick

April 14, 2015
The stable yard gate at Hardwick Hall following restoration. ©National Trust

The stable yard gate at Hardwick Hall following restoration. ©National Trust

One of our building surveyors, Richard Lambert, was recently involved in restoring a historic stable yard gate at Hardwick Hall.

Part of the Hardwick stable yard gate affected by rot, with the markings delineating the sound and unsound sections. ©National Trust

Part of the Hardwick stable yard gate affected by rot, with the markings delineating the sound and unsound sections. ©National Trust

The colleagues at Hardwick had noticed some rot in part of the gate. When Richard inspected the gate the rot turned out to be worse than expected. As this entrance is used by all of the visitors to Hardwick there was added pressure to get it sorted out quickly.

A rotted section being chiseled out. ©National Trust

A rotted section being chiseled out. ©National Trust

Richard commissioned the local joiners and builders L.B. & J. Mather to repair the gate. He worked closely with them to achieve a historically appropriate result.

New and old sections of wood being connected with a scarf joint. ©National Trust

New and old sections of wood being connected with a scarf joint. ©National Trust

Richard marked up the extent of the required repairs, so that as much as possible of the old wood could be preserved. The wood used was Douglas fir, matching the original material.

The gate coming together again in the yard of L.B. & J. Mather. ©National Trust

The gate coming together again in the yard of L.B. & J. Mather. ©National Trust

All the joints were hand-cut. Mathers were asked to match the new joints to the existing mortise-and-tenon joints (i.e. a piece of wood fitted into a hole in another piece) and to use scarf joints (or overlapping joints) to fit the larger structural members into the existing framework.

Part of the ironmongery being reforged. ©National Trust

Part of the ironmongery being reforged. ©National Trust

Some of the gate’s ironmongery also needed refurbishing, but fortunately Mathers could turn their hands to that as well, having a forge and blacksmith expertise available.

Part of the gate's refurbished locking mechanism. ©National Trust

Part of the gate’s refurbished locking mechanism. ©National Trust

All the stages of the work were recorded in photographs, some of which are shown here.

Virtue and vice at Hardwick Hall

October 29, 2013
Detail of a painted wall hanging, depicting the conversion of Saul, c. 1600, in the Chapel at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Detail of a painted wall hanging, depicting the conversion of Saul, c. 1600, in the Chapel at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

An exhibition at Hardwick Hall explores the political, religious, and social upheaval of the Reformation. It shows how these new ideas and beliefs were reflected in the historic interiors and collections of the house.

The virtuous Penelope, in an appliqué wall hanging in the Hall at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/John Hammondbyshire

The virtuous Penelope, in an appliqué wall hanging in the Hall at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/John Hammondbyshire

The exhibition, called Virtue and Vice, has been curated by the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at the University of York. It has also benefited from the Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project European Conversion Narratives, c.1550-1700.

The Eglantine table, inlaid with musical instruments, sheet music, games and arms, crests and mottoes, possibly c. 1567, in the High Great Chamber at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/Nick Guttridge

The Eglantine table, inlaid with musical instruments, sheet music, games and arms, crests and mottoes, possibly c. 1567, in the High Great Chamber at Hardwick Hall. ©National Trust Images/Nick Guttridge

In this video Dr Helen Smith, reader in Renaissance literature at the University of York, talks about the concept of the exhibition. And in this one a choral group performs the motet ‘Oh Lord in Thee is all my trust’ inlaid in the so-called Eglantine table in the High Great Chamber. At Hardwick, at least, Virtue seems to have found an ally in Beauty.

Traces of the Bachelor Duke

October 20, 2010

The Long Gallery at Hardwick ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

Hardwick Hall is one of those places that look deceptively unchanged. In a previous post I referred to the building of the house by Bess of Hardwick in the late sixteenth century. In fact, a huge amount of change took place there subsequently, particularly during the time of William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire (1790-1858).

The canopy in the Long Gallery, from a bed made by Francis Lapierre for Chatsworth in 1697. ©NTPL/Nick Guttridge

The ‘Bachelor Duke’, as he was known, inherited the title and the huge Cavendish estates in 1811, at the age of 21. He was spoilt and extravagant, but also lively and loveable, and he greatly enjoyed entertaining, in spite of his increasing deafness.

Early-eighteenth-century bed in the Green Velvet Room. ©NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie

The Bachelor Duke combined an abiding interest in the past with a Regency love of splendour. At Hardwick he restored the fabric and the interiors of the house, but he didn’t hesitate to move things around and add furnishings from some of his other properties.

Bed from about 1740 in the Cut Velvet Bedroom. ©NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie

He greatly increased the number of paintings hung on the tapestries in the Long Gallery, for instance, effectively making it into an art gallery. He also added the tester and head of a 1697 state bed brought from Chatsworth halfway down the Gallery, in a romantic recreation of the state canopies of Bess of Hardwick’s day.

Cupboard in the style of Jean Goujon set against Flemish tapestries in the Withdrawing Chamber.©NTPL/Nick Guttridge

The early eighteenth-century green velvet bed at Hardwick was brought by the Bachelor Duke from Londesborough Hall in Yorkshire, which the Cavendishes had inherited from the Earl of Burlington in 1753. The cut velvet bed in another room, by Thomas Hardy and dating from about 1740, came from Chatsworth.

Conservation work being done on one of the Gideon tapestries from the Long Gallery at Hardwick, part of a long-term programme of conservation being undertaken at the textile conservation workshop at Blickling Hall. ©NTPL/John Hammond

The Bachelor Duke was also responsible for adding more tapestries to the walls of Hardwick, using it almost like wallpaper. It appealed to his romantic eye, as well as providing some protection against the perishingly cold Derbyshire winters.

The Cavendish connection

October 11, 2010

Although inscribed as a portrait of Queen Mary, this painting probably represents the young Elizabeth Hardwick. ©NTPL/Angelo Hornak

In response to the previous post the Columnist asked about the link between Hardwick Hall and Chatsworth House, the principal seat of the Duke of Devonshire. It all goes back to Elizabeth Hardwick, who built Hardwick Hall and who laid the foundations for no less than three Cavendish dukedoms.

The south front of Hardwick Hall, with Bess of Hardwick's initials along the roofline. ©NTPL/Robert Morris

Elizabeth came from a modest gentry family, but each of her four successive marriages carried her further up the social ladder. The initials on the ramparts of Hardwick stand for Elizabeth Countess of Shrewsbury, which she became through her fourth marriage, to the Earl of Shrewsbury.

Sir William Cavendish (1505?-1557). ©NTPL/Hawkley Studios

But the only one of her marriages to result in children was the second one,  to Sir William Cavendish. He was a government servant who had made his fortune under Henry VIII.

The second son from that marriage, William, is the ancestor of the Dukes of Devonshire, while from the third son, Charles, descended the Cavendishes, Dukes of Newcastle, and the Cavendish-Bentincks, Dukes of Portland.

The High Great Chamber at Hardwick. ©NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie

Bess of Hardwick, as she became known, built Hardwick Hall between 1590 and 1597. This was after her fourth husband’s death, when she had become one of the richest people in the country.  

She would dine in state in the High Great Chamber, almost like a queen. An extraordinary coloured plasterwork frieze runs along the walls with figures repsresenting Diana, Venus and Summer in a forest setting. The Brussels tapestries below depict the story of Ulysses.

Figure of Penelope in an embroidered hanging depicting famous historical and mythical heroines, created in the 1570s. ©NTPL/John Hammond

Bess particularly identified with Penelope, Ulysses’s long-suffering and ultimately triumphant wife, who appears in an embroidered hanging now in the Hall. Hardwick has one of the most important collections of embroidery created for and by one household.

A corner of the Long Gallery. ©NTPL/Nick Guttridge

The colours of the textiles at Hardwick are now mostly rather faded, which gives it a mellow beauty. But originally the colour schemes would have been bright, brash and glitzy, befitting a country girl who had ‘made it’. In spite of the passing of time, Bess’s personality is still very much in evidence at Hardwick.

From the attic

October 8, 2010

Morquette carpet by Piat Lefebvre et Fils, Tournai, early nineteenth century, lot 662 in the Chatsworth sale. ©Sotheby's

We have just secured two lots at the Sotheby’s Chatsworth ‘attic’ sale, at which the Duke of Devonshire was selling a few odds and ends which were clogging up his store rooms. There were actually about 20,000 objects in all, but that’s ducal housekeeping for you. 

The entrance front of Hardwick Hall. ©NTPL/Mike Williams

We were trying to get things that had been at Hardwick Hall, the iconic Elizabethan house in Derbyshire which used to be owned by the Cavendishes (Dukes of Devonshire). We were bidding for a number of items, but the competition was stiff, with many lots going way beyond their upper estimates.

The Drawing Room at Hardwick. The Tournai carpet was shown in this room in a late nineteenth-century photograph in Country Life magazine. ©NTPL/Nick Guttridge

It was an interesting example of the ‘country house effect’, where the association with a historic house and an old family causes bidders to compete for objects that might not get a second glance in another context. 

Cavendish family deed boxes, lot 902 in the Chatsworth sale. ©Sotheby’s

But then we understand the value of context at the National trust too – the Devonshire deed boxes we bought will add a bit of family atmosphere to Hardwick. And the proceeds of the sale are said to be going towards improvements at the Chatsworth estate, which already has an excellent conservation programme, so that must be a good thing.


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