Hardwick Hall: building a masterpiece

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The Hall was designed to display and symbolise its owner’s wealth and status and Bess of Hardwick’s extraordinary riches are noticeable well before you enter the house.

Immediately evident as you approach is the symmetrical layout of the house. It is a testament to the design of the ‘architect’ Robert Smythson, marks the house as unusual and very modern for its time. People travelled miles to see the Hall once it was constructed as it was a marvel of its' time.

The stone used is ‘dressed’ meaning it has a smooth finish unlike the rough surface at the Old Hall. This would have taken a long time and was very costly. Included from the initial designs are Bess’ initials topped with a coronet, the symbol for Countess, which are placed all around the outside of the house. Hardwick has Bess’ name written literally all over it.

The huge windows also proclaim Bess’ wealth as glass was very expensive. The sizes of the windows show the hierarchy of the rooms. The smallest are on the ground floor which would have been occupied mainly by servants; the larger windows mark the first floor where the family rooms are and the massive windows on the top floor look out from the grandest rooms.

You won't be disappointed with a visit to see Hardwick Hall.