Chatsworth, Derbyshire

A Guide to all the Watering and Sea-Bathing places; with a Description of the Lakes ; a Sketch of a Tour in Wales and Itineraries . Illustrated with Maps and Views by Richard Phillips (1803)


This magnificent seat, which is esteemed one of the wonders of the Peak, stands at the easy distance of twelve miles from Matlock, and is commonly visited by such as make any stay at the Baths. It is impossible to say which is most deserving of admiration, the grandeur of the building, or the wild romantic country in which it is situated.

The position of Chatsworth house is no less striking than the pile itself. It stands in a spacious and deep valley, near the foot of a lofty mountain, covered with wood. The Derwent winds before it, over which an elegant bridge is thrown. The architectural beauties of this place are too various to mention. The rooms are fitted up in a princely stile, and adorned with the finest productions of art. Here the unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots was confined sixteen years, and here Marshal Tallard was sent, after the battle of Blenheim.

The extent of the south-front of Chatsworth is 182 feet, that of the west is 180. The window-frames on the south are entirely gilt ; and the splendour of the interior forms a striking contrast with the natural scenery of the environs. It has been the seat of the noble family of Cavendish for two centuries. On the pediment of the south-front is inscribed the family motto


The gardens, though laid out in the ancient stile, still attract notice on account of their singular and fantastic decorations. We describe them in the words of Mr. Lipscomb. The great cascade descends with considerable noise and impetuosity, by a flight of stone steps, down a steep hill, for 2 or 300 yards, and then sinks in the earth, and disappears. At the head of this cascade is a temple, sheltered by a venerable wood.

In the front of the building, over the entrance, the figure of Nilus reclines on an urn, from which a stream of water descends, as also from a dragon, on each side of the cornice, from the mouths of lions, or perhaps sea monsters, and from the urns of two sea nymphs into a bason, in which the water also arises in the shape of two fine spreading trees or fans. When the bason is filled, the cascade begins to play.

There is also a copper tree, the branches of which produce an artificial shower; but these conceits are rather curious than useful. A jet d'eus, however, must be excepted, which, throwing up a strong column of water, to the height of ninety feet, has a striking effect.

The sea-horses in a circular bason, near the south-front of the house , are both clumsy and puerile.

These works are supplied by a reservoir, which is said to cover sixteen acres of ground.

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 Chapter 42 
The town where she had formerly passed some years of her life, and where they were now to spend a few days, was probably as great an object of her curiosity as all the celebrated beauties of Matlock, Chatsworth, Dovedale, or the Peak.

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