Monday, April 14, 2014
I have often wondered about the ruin on the hill when travelling up to Sheffield etc on the M1. Hardwick Hall was built between 1590 and 1597 for the formidable Bess of Hardwick Countess of Shrewsbury and ancestress of the Dukes of Devonshire.The first pictures show Hardwick Old Hall, a slightly earlier house which was used as guest and service accommodation after the new hall was built. The Old Hall is now a ruin. Many of the Old Hall's major rooms were decorated with ambitious schemes of plasterwork, notably above the fireplaces. Remarkably, impressive fragments of these are still to be seen (protected by preservative coatings and rain-shields), though most of the building is unroofed. The New Hardwick Hall was designed by architect Robert Smythson and is famous among other things for the long gallery whose walls are covered with fine tapestries. These have faded over the years though were originally bright and vibrant as in those on the walls of the bedroom.