A look at Chatsworth, the ‘toy box’ of delights where ‘your head becomes dizzy with the richness of it all’

We take a look at some of the magnificent images of Chatsworth which have graced the pages of Country Life over the years.

Every Tuesday, we take a look through Country Life’s archive at some of the wonderful words and pictures that have been produced over the years taking a look at Britain’s greatest buildings. This week, we take a look at Chatsworth, the astonishing country seat in Derbyshire that is undoubtedly one of the finest houses in the country.


‘Chatsworth is one of the houses where your head becomes dizzy with the richness of it all,’ wrote Country Life’s then-architecture editor Jeremy Musson after a visit in 2007.

‘Indeed I think it takes a day to recover from just seeing Chatsworth in the flesh for the first time,’ he added.

Such are the riches of the place that even the owners can’t always get their heads around what lies within, as we discovered in a 2010 interview with the Duke of Devonshire:

We are standing in the courtyard at Chatsworth, and the 12th Duke of Devonshire is looking for something. Hidden among the martial trophies his ancestor had carved between the windows in the 1690s is a modern introduction, added when the carvings were restored as part of the grand redisplay of Chatsworth that has recently come to fruition. It’s a tank. Only he can’t find it: not even a Duke of Devonshire can know everything about this, the greatest of English Treasure Houses, particularly when it’s changing all the time…

An urbane figure, the Duke doesn’t wear his emotions on his well-tailored sleeve. But he almost bubbles when describing the ‘endless things to be done’. Chatsworth is his toy box. ‘There are lots of projects, which is great. Absolutely fascinating.’ The best thing about it? ‘Looking out of the window is not a bad start,’ he smiles.

That, then, seems as good an angle as any from which to admire the place.

 

The casacde from the temple designed by designed by Thomas Archer at Chatsworth House. ©Country Life

The casacde from the temple designed by designed by Thomas Archer at Chatsworth House, pictured in 1918. ©Country Life

 

1918 — The west front of Chatsworth House. ©Country Life

The west front of Chatsworth House in 1918. ©Country Life

 

2011 — The view from the theatre tower (belvedere) at Chatsworth House. The surroundng park was landscaped for the 4th Duke of Devonshire by Capability Brown. ©Paul Barker/Country Life

The view from the theatre tower (belvedere) at Chatsworth House in 2011. The surroundng park was landscaped for the 4th Duke of Devonshire by Capability Brown. ©Paul Barker/Country Life

 

Chatsworth in 1918. ©Country Life

Chatsworth in 1918. ©Country Life

Chatworth House in 1994, with gardender Jim Link trimming the lawns. ©Tim Imrie-Tait/Country Life Picture Library

Chatworth House in 1994, with gardender Jim Link trimming the lawns. ©Tim Imrie-Tait/Country Life Picture Library

 

The south front of Chatsworth, as pictured in 1918.

The south front of Chatsworth, as pictured in 1918. ©Country Life

A view of Chatsworth House seen from over the park in 1994. ©Clive Boursnell/Country Life

A view of Chatsworth House seen from over the park in 1994. ©Clive Boursnell/Country Life

 

The 1968 view from the theatre tower (belvedere) at Chatsworth House. The surroundng park was landscaped for the 4th Duke of Devonshire by Capability Brown.

The 1968 view from the theatre tower (belvedere) at Chatsworth House. The surroundng park was landscaped for the 4th Duke of Devonshire by Capability Brown. ©Alex Starkey/Country Life