Part of the Ilkeston Cam "Days Out" Series

Chatsworth - A Taster
w/e 28 October 2007
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490


Chatsworth has long been described as a jewel in England's crown and the estate has many famous features so all I can do here is show a few of them in what can only amount to a taste of what is on offer. To discover more follow this link to the Chatsworth's official site.

Salisbury Lawns

During the autumn of 2007 Chatsworth is hosting an exhibition of more than twenty monumental sculptures set alongside pieces of a more traditional nature. Examples of both can be seen here on the Salisbury Lawns that were originally laid down in 1760 by Capability Brown when formal gardens and terraces were removed. According to the blue information board, they have been mown ever since, except during wartime, and lime and fertilisers have never been applied. This has resulted in many varieties of grasses, sedges mosses and wild flowers thriving.
The Cascade

Another famous feature of Chatsworth is the Cascade. Designed by a French engineer, Grillet, it was built for the First Duke of Devonshire and completed in 1703. Water is piped from man-made lakes four hundred feet above the house and the Cascade is entirely gravity-fed with no water being pumped back up the hill. From the bottom of the Cascade the water is used twice more in two fountains before finally entering the River Derwent. The Temple at the top of the Cascade was designed by Thomas Archer and as the water descends from it down the twenty four steps, the sound is varied as each is different to the ones both above and below. Both Temple and Cascade were restored between 1994 and 1996.
The Emperor Fountain

Another water feature is the Emperor Fountain which is the tallest gravity-fed fountain in the world. Commissioned by the Sixth Duke and built by Joseph Paxton in 1843, it is normally restricted now to a height of 200 feet although capable of reaching 298 feet.
The Ring Pond

Another less grand fountain, also gravity-fed, sits in the middle of the Ring Pond. This duck-shaped fountain spouts water from its open beak and, according to at least one guide book, led to it inevitably being nicknamed the Sick Duck Pond. The metal arrangement squatting like some futuristic giant frog at the side of the pond is another piece in the 'Beyond Limits' exhibition of modern and contemporary sculpture.
The Rock Garden

Joseph Paxton was instrumental in much of the design of the Chatsworth gardens and in 1842, he began to build a rock garden for the Sixth Duke. His aim was "to copy the most picturesque assemblages of natural rocks", to ensure "the fragments employed are massive" and that "all vegetation that accompanies an extensive rockery should be subordinate to it ... and so disposed as to give relief and diversity to it." I think he succeeded on all counts, don't you?
The Coal Hole

A few years prior to his work on the Rock Garden, Paxton had constructed the coal hole and tunnel in the 1830s to supply the boilers that heated his Great Conservatory. Requiring 300 tons of coal every winter, coal was brought the three miles from Rowsley Station by horse drawn carts to be transferred into small bogies at the foot of the hole. Men then pulled the the coal-laden bogies on rails through the tunnel to the seven boilers that heated the Conservatory. The Conservatory was demolished in 1920 and the hole and tunnel gradually filled with rubble and garden waste until they were once again excavated in 2002-3.
The Willow Tree Fountain

Paxton also had an involvement with the willow tree fountain which is sometimes called the Weeping Tree or as referred to by Princess Victoria, later to become Queen in 1837, a squirting tree. This was originally built in 1692 and was made of copper and lead. The unsuspecting visitor could be drenched by water spurting from its branches and leaves. By 1826 when Joseph Paxton was made head gardener by the Sixth Duke the fountain had fallen into disrepair but Paxton arranged for a new one of copper and brass, not in the original location in the centre of the Ring Pond, but in a partially concealed glade near his new rock garden. Since then, the willow tree fountain has been replaced twice and was most recently restored in 1983.
Chatsworth House Entrance

As I wrote earlier, this is only a taste of what is on offer at Chatsworth and there is much more to be seen in the grounds of the Estate but our visit also included a tour of the House. This is the approach to the House dominated at the moment by the huge Damien Hurst sculpture of "The Virgin Mother".

Forward to Part 02

Back to Days Out Index
Special Features Index
Terms & Conditions of Use
This website is copyright but licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence.
Please credit the photographer Garth Newton, or add a link to these pages.