Chatsworth: It Works So Why Fix It?

What does a wet T shirt, the Crystal Palace and a sycophantic peer have in common?

Chatsworth

It’s one of those very precise stately homes we British do quite well, like queuing and moaning.

possible Slytherins were originally part of the Cavendish family

Built by an extraordinary woman in the 16th century and adapted by her descendants to suck up to the then powerful royals, it is grandiose in a way that today is the reserve of footballers and rappers.

It’s bling – the window frames are covered in gold leaf – it is its own museum and it still purports to be a family home for the Dukes of Devonshire.

Don’t you love that? It’s still their family home even though it survives on we tourists’ income, from estates that were inherited and not earned, and grants from bodies we paid into in taxes and lotteries.

But then again it could be owned by Jeff Bezos or Igor Richbitchovitch so there are pluses to inherited inbreeding.

The house has a lot of compelling history, some smashing artefacts – there’s this marble statue that is beyond description – how do you carve marble so sheer it looks like muslin?

er, gross? Damien Hurt’s St Bartholomew, flayed alive and carrying his own skin like a towel in the sauna. One of those things that you want to view from a distance like Angry Aunts and tsunamis

And the gardens are a vista or ten to die for.

There’s this lake and fountain built by Capability Brown, greenhouses by Joseph Paxton that led to him being commissioned to build the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and a cascade with different pitches to create a variety of sounds as you climb alongside its banks.

Oh and Mr Darcy climbed out of a ditch showing off Colin Wotsit’s torso in Pride And Prejudice. So what’s not to like.

If you’re in The Peaks do go. It’s very splendid. Well apart from this …

It’s a family portrait done in DNA. A quite literal waste of space.

I did wonder whether I should become a republican at this point in my tour, but then I was reminded of the old philosophical joke. Two philosophers went into a bar to discuss the Monarchy. The British Philosopher said to his French counterpart ‘I don’t understand you’re problem with Monarchy and landed gentry – in Britain they work well in practice.’

‘Ah Yes,’ said the French Philosopher, ‘ they may well work in practice but they don’t work well in theory.’

Maybe that’s why we voted for Brexit? Maybe that’s why we still indulge the Cavendish clan and allow them to waste the money from their exploitative past on crap like the above ‘portrait’. Because, in practice, the compromises we all make to be able to enjoy the day out I had make it all worthwhile. Probably. Keep Chatsworth just the way it is, and we’ll keep the tumbrils garaged.

And have a few laughs on the way…

The Textiliste trying to do her camera shy bit using the Beautician’s mum as a shield

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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44 Responses to Chatsworth: It Works So Why Fix It?

  1. willowdot21 says:

    A Grand Day Out!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We colonials love to watch excess no matter where. Chatsworth is lovely and glad the bill is being paid elsewhere. Thank you for the tour, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ritu says:

    Beautiful pics His Geoffleship 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  4. gordon759 says:

    Colin Firth got his shirt wet at Lyme Hall in Cheshire, and you didn’t mention banana’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s times like this I realise I may be a (shudder) Republican or Socialist or some kind of Bleeding Heart Liberal). Such excess and hubris (the DNA display) in times when there are still the uneducated, the hungry the unhoused and the ignorant (wilfully so or not) bothers me. Still the sheer marble carving effect is amazing and the head above that lady looks remarkably modern and a little like someone I ought to know………

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      You do need to grind your teeth a little to get past some of what it means but there are some stunning hands at work to create this. Shame about the chinless partronage…

      Like

  6. Interesting. All that Art looks a bit excessive, though. Not sure Debo would have liked it!

    Like

  7. Erika Kind says:

    Wow, great place. I loved the video!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Nice hats on the ladies. Yours, not the royals’.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Charli Mills says:

    I have no words for such grand gross exclusiveness. Suffice to say I loved the vistas, the crumbling rock wall and the shy smiles of two sister-mums.

    Like

  10. I worked 10 minutes from there a couple of times this past year but never had the time to visit. Now that you mention the sheer extravagance etc. especially that yucky gold statue – is it right to mention that a woman received an award today for starting a charity 20 years ago to feed children breakfast before school and now it’s supporting more schools nationally and not just London?! Inherited wealth certainly makes you grimace when you know that charities are expanding to ensure children receive a second school meal of the day as they won’t get fed at home and their parents are also going hungry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      It’s spot on Ruby. ‘We’ own these places in any meaningful sense and that’s what EH and similar bodies should understand. I get that, sometimes someone living there is a good thing for the fabric of a place, I just feel pissed it’s handed down after some dodgy negotiation with the revenue to keep it in the family

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Visited many times in my Sheffield days and enjoyed it, though these days I seethe more at such places. John once worked with the owner of a stately pile (he was an engineer on the side) and I was enraged to hear his wife talking about the grants they were getting to build a new visitor centre. But then I thought, well, they employ people and attract tourists, which took the edge off my wrath a little bit,

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A typically idiosyncratic, entertaining, tour. The Hurst sculpture is definitely gross

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Widdershins says:

    What a magnificent mish-mash of wonder and wankery! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Twinkle Twinkle, Little Pup, This Time You’ve Really Messed It Up #writephoto #flashfiction | TanGental

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