This is normally the view you get of the Library at Chatsworth from the doors as you are not allowed in for various reasons. However DH and The Boys saw a Library Visit in July at Christmas and bought it for me as my Christmas present. So DH and I went last Friday. Warning: Picture Heavy Post!
We got a tour of the house before we got to visit the Library. The above pictures are of the main hall, known as The Painted Hall, for obvious reasons.
After that we were shown into a side room where the Library Archivist told us all about the history of the library and had several books out for us to look at which are unique to the Library here, mainly written by various Dukes of Devonshire or their wives.
A lot of family letters have been put into volumes as well as books written by family members. One book containing handwritten poems by various guests who had stayed at Chatsworth.
Of the eighteen thousand books in the Library, the majority were bought by the Sixth Duke of Devonshire, William George Spencer Cavendish (1790 – 1858) who was known as The Bachelor Duke for never marrying, although he did have several affairs. He was the only son of the Fifth Duke and his wife Georgiana and became the Sixth Duke when only twenty one years of age. He loved books and spent many years travelling around to various estate auctions buying whole libraries. Not only is there 18,000 books in the Library there are even more stored in the attics at Chatsworth, which the Archivist and her team are slowly going through.
It was the Sixth Duke who created the Library as we see it today, adding shelves to the room which was originally called The Long Gallery and used for exercise on cold, wet days. I think it is much nice as a Library.
We got to go into the Library and sit on the chairs, whilst we listened to the Archivist tell us about the creation of the room.
One of the Treasures of the Library is a First Edition of Pride & Prejudice (one of my favourite books). A lot of people think that Jane Austen had Chatsworth in mind when describing Darcy’s home, Pemberley although Chatsworth is mentioned in the book.
The Books in the Library are not in alphabetical order and do not follow the Dewey Decimal System either. They were originally but in topic order and large to small! Over the years this had changed so many times by the different Dukes & Duchesses that the original order has been lost.
A Contemporary of The Sixth Duke was Charles Dickens who stayed at Chatsworth on several occasions.
A lot of the fiction stories in Dickens times were printed as Novellas on paper weekly and then when the story was completed were then printed as a book. The Bleak House book in the Library was printed into a book but they kept some of the Novella booklets and put them in the book too.
It was a lovely morning and great to actually go into the Library and also sit down!
DH and I then went to The Deveonshire Arms Hotel for lunch in their new Conservatory, which was great although it was raining by the time we got there so we could not sit outside!
The weekend was a busy one as DH was out at a swimming event on both days so I got lots done at home and Sunday I actually managed to have a lie in!!! Monday and Tuesday were busy and I have been up to Eldest’s garage today to help out there. Tomorrow I have home jobs to do, washing & Ironing and grocery shopping. Starting to also get things organised for our vacation.
Hope you are all having a wonderful week.
Hugs & Love, Susie & Coco xx