Monday, October 1, 2012


       Hardwick Hall is Bess's place.  You know, Bess of Hardwick, best friend to the Queen and all that.

Bess was married four times.  Love may not have been involved but she became wealthier with each union (husbands included a Cavendish and a Talbot (Earl of Shrewsbury).  Good for her.  She built beautiful estates (Chatsworth was the first of many), became the most powerful woman in the land second to Queen Elizabeth I, and eventually (after several hundred years) gave us Queen Elizabeth II.

 This is 14th Century Hardwick Old Hall (owned by English Heritage).  Bess lived in it for a bit, and then decided the view was better on an adjacent property and started building Hardwick Hall (owned by National Trust).

After you purchase your ticket from English Heritage, you can roam around the ruins which are still in pretty good shape.

Look at that gorgeous plasterwork--still beautiful despite being exposed to the wind, rain, and year round damp.

16th century  Hardwick Hall is just a few hundred yards from the ruins (I'm not good at estimating yards, are you?) so let's take a look around at Bess's place.

This refectory table catches your attention when you walk into the entrance hall.  Gleaming polished wood that seems to go on forever.  Yes, I'll need a table that seats 40, please. Oh, and yes, in one long unbroken piece, of course.

                            So much nicer than stating, "DO NOT SIT", don't you think?

Bess was also famous for collecting tapestries which added warmth and texture to these cavernous rooms.

                                 Plaster friezes travel around the perimeter at the top of the walls.

        This is a walnut Eglantine table or, game table, depicting game boards and musical instruments.

                                            More gorgeous tapestries in the Ship Bedchamber.

Has it ever occurred to you to monogram your cookware? Me neither.  But if I had these polished copper pots I just might. Take a look....

                                First, I love the crown atop the simple D above Hardwick.
      Not sure what the "D" represents, it may be the county Derbyshire but no one could confirm.

                          That elegant monogram is on every copper pot and every copper lid.


                                  "Hardwick hall, more window than wall" it was said.
Note the "ES"for Elizabeth Shrewsbury, Bess had her initials placed on at least eight different prominent places around the exterior of her house along with a pretty crown similar to the crown on the copper pots.  The woman had power, wealth, and style.

1 comment:

  1. I just took splendid tours of Hardwick Hall (incredible tapestries, plasterwork, and woodwork) and Haddon Hall (so wonderful to see the old picture of the Long Gallery). I tip my hat.