robert smythson


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).


Hardwick Hall is an Elizabethan country house in Derbyshire. The house was built between 1590 and 1597 for Bess of Hardwick. It was designed by architect Robert Smythson. Hardwick Hall is one of the earliest examples of the English interpretation of the Renaissance style. Bess of Hardwick (Countess of Shrewsbury) was the richest woman in England after Queen Elizabeth I. She also started the building project of Chatsworth House (at the time she was the wife of Sir William Cavendish). Her house was conceived to be a conspicuous statement of the wealt and power. The windows are exceptionally large and numerous for that period, leading to the saying: ‘Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall’. After Bess’s death, the house passed on to her son William Cavendish, 1st earl of Devonshire (who’s great-grandson will become the 1st Duke of Devonshire). Now the house is in ownership of the National Trust. The exteriors of the house were used as the ‘Malfoy Manor’ in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Picture source: x


4,000 Houses for 4,000 Followers: No. 46:

Wollaton Hall, Nottingham, England. 

Built between 1580 and 1588.

Possibly designed by Robert Smythson, the architect of Hardwick Hall. 


4,000 Houses for 4,000 Followers: No 6:

Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, England. 

Built 1590-1597 by Robert Smythson. 


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.