About this image
It has been written, by Richard Bisgrove ('A History of Gobions Chapter Three - Charles Bridgeman and the English Landscape Garden') that 'The eighteenth century English Landscape Garden, Britain's greatest contribution to the world of art'. In the early part of the eighteenth century a number of great formal gardens were created for the important English stately homes. Demand also increased for artists to paint the resultant gardens. After the Restoration of Charles II, a number of such works appeared in print, but generally devoted to one house. At the end of the century, the Dutch artist Leonard Knyff announced ambitious plans to produce a series of images of all the major houses of England. This project eventually lead to 'Britannia Illustrata', with the views engraved by Johannes Kip (and frequently called after him) and published by David Mortier in 1707. The book was re-issued and expanded over the next thirty years, often under the title 'Le Nouveau Theatre De La Grande Bretagne...', published by a number of publishers, including Joseph Smith. The plates of country houses in this series were generally engraved versions of topographical views, but there were one or two more typical plans of the houses and gardens such as the view of Chatsworth and its gardens, as seen here. Chatsworth House, situated alongside the River Derwent, was built on land purchased by Sir William Cavendish in 1549 for £600. Sir William started construction of the house in 1552, but he did not live to see its completion, as he died in 1557. His widow, Bess of Hardwick completed the building work, and bequeathed the house to her son, Henry Cavendish. Henry sold the house to his younger brother William, who became the 1st Earl of Devonshire in 1618. At first, the Earl only intended to rebuild the south front, but with the accession of William III and the elevation of the Earl to a Dukedom his schemes became grander, and by 1707 he had in fact rebuilt the whole house. The architect, Talman was certainly responsible for the south and east fronts, and Thomas Archer - the architect of St John's, Smith Square and other churches in London built for the north. The designer of the west front remains something of a mystery, but it is possible that it may have been the invention of the Duke himself, who certainly had claims to be a competent amateur architect. The new facade obliterated the Elizabethan exterior, but the 'modern' house retains many of the Elizabethan interior walls and the Hunting tower on the hill above the house dates from the 1580s. The Duke rebuilt Chatsworth in a Classical style , with the Library and North Wing added by the 6th Duke between 1790 and 1858. The house has 26 rooms which are open to the members of the public. These include the Library, which was originally the 1st Duke's Long Gallery and which was re-fitted as a library by the 6th Duke, the Painted Hall, the 1st Duke's ceremonial entrance hall, and the Great Dining Room, where the first meal served was for the Princess (later Queen) Victoria in 1832. The Scots Rooms make up the section of the house which were used to keep Mary Queen of Scots, who was placed in the custody of the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, Bess of Hardwick's 4th husband, by Queen Elizabeth I. The stunning chapel was built between 1688 and 1693 by the 1st Duke, and has remained unaltered ever since. Chatsworth contains a magnificent private art collection which has been built up by the Cavendish family over 450 years. Much of the collection is on display in the public rooms of the house, and includes paintings by Rembrandt, Lanseer, Gainsborough and Freud, and sculptures by Canova and Frink. During the 1760's the park and gardens were landscaped by 'Capability' Brown. Sir Joseph Paxton was employed by the 6th Duke to design a series of greenhouses, build rockeries and plant rare trees and shrubs. He was also responsible for the Emperor fountain which is the tallest gravity fed fountain in the World. The Garden is 105 acres in area, and includes many interesting features such as the giant rockeries(1692), the cascade (1696), the canal (1702) and the gravity-fed emperor fountain (1843) which can emit a jet of water 90 metres into the air. In recent years the Rose, Kitchen and Cottage gardens have been added together with the Serpentine Hedge. The Maze is planted on the site of Sir Joseph Paxton's Great Conservatory. Chatsworth House is still the family home of the Dukes of Devonshire.
This image also appears as part of the Thomas Bateman Collection, see image DCHQ200400.