Hardwick Hall is the home of Bess of Hardwick. It was built in the 1590's by Bess and is home to some of the finest tapestries in Europe from Elizabethan England. Visitor details here.
I'm not sure who caught who on a bad day, but not my favourite place.
I haven't finished moaning, but onwards to the pretty bits.
Built by Bess of Hardwick in the 1590s, and unaltered since. It has huge windows in the stone walls that make it look like there's more glass than wall. It has six towers which make a dramatic skyline.
Please note the number of school children in the photo. Great that they're there learning stuff, but you can imagine what it's like to visit a house, to try and appreciate the atmosphere, and concentrate on what you're seeing, with masses of children running around and having lessons in fenced off areas of the rooms, making them no-go areas and filling the space with loud voices, at the same time as having to listen to the teachers trying to keep order and pass on information. Ok, moaning done for now.
Hardwick is a conspicuous statement of the wealth and power of Bess Of Hardwick, who was the richest woman in England after Queen Elizabeth 1st. It was one of the first English houses where the Great Hall was through the centre of the house rather than at right angles to the entrance.
Hardwick Hall contains a large collection of embroideries, mostly dating from the late 16th century, many of which are listed in the 1601 inventory. Some of the needlework on display in the house incorporates Bess's monogram "ES", and may have been worked on by Bess herself.
And into the most beautifully decorated, huge room. Just look at all that needlework on the walls, chairs, and canopy. The Great Chamber with a plaster frieze of hunting scenes
Hardwick Hall has one of the largest long galleries in any English house. The windows are exceptionally large and numerous for the 16th century and were a powerful statement of wealth at a time when glass was a luxury, leading to the saying, "Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall"
Bess of Hardwick, rose from humble origins to become on of the most powerful people in the court of Queen Elizabeth I. She married four times, each time gaining more wealth and her fourth husband was the Earl of Shrewsbury, one of the richest and most powerful of the English nobles of the time.
For many years the Shrewsburys were responsible for the guardianship of that unhappy Queen Mary Queen of Scots. The dynasty created by Bess included many powerful descendants including the Dukes of Devonshire, Newcastle, Portland and Kingston.
Some of the furniture.