About this image
Chatsworth House is the ancestral home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. The house 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. The house was added to over the years by successive Dukes of Devonshire. In 1686 the 4th Earl, later 1st Duke of Devonshire, began to demolish parts of the house to make way for the Baroque palace designed by Thomas Archer. He also rebuilt the west front and lived just long enough to see his house completed. Only the state dining room and sculpture gallery remain from the original building. The 6th Duke added a new wing 130 years later. The statue of the sleeping lion, seen here, was one of many statues in a classical style commissioned by the 6th Duke of Devonshire who tells us in his Handbook, he actually went to the studios of the sculptors themselves and commissioned works to be specially carved for him. He had the lions done in Rome. It was carved c 1825 by Rinaldi for a fee of £366. The lion has been moved inside Chatsworth since this photograph was taken, and can now be seen, together with others, in the sculpture gallery.