Chatsworth House is a stately home in Derbyshire, England, in the Derbyshire Dales, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) north-east of Bakewell and 9 miles (14 km) west of Chesterfield. The seat of the Duke of Devonshire, it has been home to the Cavendish family since 1549, standing on the east bank of the River Derwent, across from low hills between the Derwent and Wye valleys. The house is set in expansive parkland backed by wooded, rocky hills that rise to heather moorland.
The 4th Earl of Devonshire, who would become the 1st Duke in 1694 for helping to put William of Orange on the English throne, was an advanced Whig and forced to retire to Chatsworth during the reign of King James II. This called for a rebuilding of the house, which began in 1687. Cavendish aimed initially to reconstruct only the south wing with the State Apartments and so decided to retain the Elizabethan courtyard plan, although its layout was becoming increasingly unfashionable. He enjoyed building and reconstructed the East Front, which included the Painted Hall and Long Gallery, followed by the West Front from 1699 to 1702. The North Front was completed in 1707 just before he died.
In 1549, at the behest of his wife, Bess of Hardwick, Sir William Cavendish bought the land from the Leche family (relations of Bess’s) for £600. Recent
work for the Chatsworth Master Plan (2005-2018) has uncovered possible traces of this earlier Tudor house in the Baroque building’s northern cellars. William and Bess started construction of their house in 1552, but William did not live to see its completion, as he died in 1557. Although Bess of Hardwick completed the building work, the house was entailed to the eldest son from her marriage to William Cavendish, “my bad son Henry” and she made Hardwick her primary residence in 1590. Henry sold the house to his younger brother William (who became the 1st Earl of Devonshire in 1618). The Elizabethan house was successively rebuilt by the 1st, 4th and 6th Dukes, obtaining its current form with the 6th Duke’s major additions and alterations as designed by Sir Jeffry Wyatville, which were implemented c.1820-1841.
Timeline of the Cavendish amily and some of their major properties” (PDF)
First impressions count. When guests are welcomed to Chatsworth, this is one of the first rooms they see. William, 1st Duke of Devonshire built the Painted Hall between 1689 and 1694, the only original feature is the painted decoration on the walls and ceiling. Whilst still Earl of Devonshire he chose to flatter the monarch by decorating the hall with scenes from the life of Julius Caesar, he was elevated to Duke in the year the room was completed.
Chatsworth House: room cards (PDF)