Built in 1549 for the Countess of Shrewsbury, Chatsworth House has richly painted walls and water features that are hundreds of years old. It belongs to the Dukes of Devonshire, who still have an influence in how the house is run today.
Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury - often better known as Bess of Hardwick - was the second most powerful woman in Elizabethan England. She and her second husband, Sir William Cavendish, bought Chatsworth Manor in 1549 and built the first house on the site. However, by the late 17th century, the house needed a lot of work, and the 4th Earl of Devonshire got carried away with renovations, rebuilding each of the four fronts with the help of architect William Talman. The 4th Duke, however, wasn’t keen on the formal gardens and employed Capability Brown to replace them with a more natural, gentle landscape. The gardens are a whopping 105 acres and there’s a maze and giant rockeries well as lots of water features. The Cascade is 300 years old, and the Willow Tree Fountain was first built in the 17th century. The house is still the family seat of the Dukes of Devonshire but it’s run by the Chatsworth House Trust. Still, the 12th Duke and his wife have helped to re-establish a 17th-century wooded area called Quebec, and create a sensory garden for guests.
There are several elaborately painted walls and rooms in the house that were designed to impress visitors, including the State Drawing Room (ready to receive a king) and the Painted Hall. More recently, the North Sketch Gallery was set up there in 2009 to showcase a collection of contemporary art and ceramics.