robert smythson

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Robert Smythson, High Great Chamber (Hardwick Hall, Shrewsbery, England), 1591-97

At Hardwick Hall, a sequence of rooms leads to a grand staircase up to the Long Gallery and High Great Chamber on the second floor. This room, where the countess received guests, entertained and sometimes dines, was designed to display a set of Brussels tapestries with the story of Ulysses. The room had enormous windows, ornate fireplaces, and richly carved and painted plaster frieze around the room. The frieze, by the master Abraham Smith, depict Diana and her maiden hunter in a forest where the pursue stags and boars. Near the window bay, the frieze depicts an allegory on the seasons: Venus and Cupid represent spring, Ceres represents the summer. (Marilyn Stokstad, Art History, Volume Two. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2008, 724).

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Hardwick Hall

Situated on a hilltop between Chesterfield and Mansfield, overlooking the Derbyshire countryside. The house was designed for Bess of HardwickCountess of Shrewsburyand ancestress of the Dukes of Devonshire, by Robert Smythson in the late 16th century and remained in that family until it was handed over to HM Treasury in lieu of Estate Duty in 1956. The Treasury transferred the house to the National Trust in 1959. As it was a secondary residence of the Dukes of Devonshire, whose main country house, Chatsworth House, was in nearby Chatsworth, it was little altered over the centuries and indeed, from the early 19th century, its antique atmosphere was consciously preserved.