Explore Kedleston Hall - from Rome to India
Completed under the watchful eye of famous architect Robert Adam, Kedleston Hall was built for Sir Nathaniel Curzon in 1765 as a house to rival Chatsworth. Intended as 'a temple of the arts' and as the location for grand entertainments, the main house was never meant to be a family home, but a show palace in which to showcase the finest paintings, sculpture and furniture.
Kedleston Hall isn't just a prime example of 18th century Palladian and Neoclassical inspired architecture, it is also the ancestral residence of the Curzon family. The Curzons came to Britain from Normandy at the time of William the Conqueror and we estimate that they have been at Kedleston since the 1150s.
The property boasts a number of portraits and pedigrees detailing the succession of such a long standing family. The Hall we see today replaced an earlier medieval house and village of slightly more modest proportions; however the current Kedleston still houses some furniture which we believe came from the previous building.
A building of enduring architectural beauty
Kedleston Hall was always intended as a showpiece rather than a comfortable family home; in fact the family has lived in the private family wing and still do to this day. The large central block was a largely uninhabited entertaining space with the servants' quarters and service areas housed in the West Wing. What is now our restaurant was once the Great Kitchen, catering for the Curzon families' great banquets and dinner parties.
The State Floor
The State Floor reflects the austere grandeur of a show palace and that’s how it was always intended. Purposely designed to showcase the families wealth and power, as a ‘temple to the arts’ to showcase their collection of art and fine furniture. From the moment you ascend the Great Staircase to the State Floor you are transported back to 18th century opulence. Painstakingly restored over the last 30 years, it reflects Robert Adam’s original vision of luxury.
The ground floor is a stark contrast to the 18th century glamour above, decorated to reflect the Edwardian period it was a more functional space and everyday entrance. It still serves this purpose today as this is where you’ll start your journey as you explore the hall.
The museum on the ground floor of the Hall is home to Lord Curzon’s ‘Eastern Collection’, an eclectic mix of treasures he amassed whilst Viceroy of India. From intricate ivory carvings to samurai swords there are hundreds of artifacts collected on his travels to India, Tibet, China and Nepal.
Mary Curzon’s Peacock dress
Not to be missed is Mary Curzon's Peacock dress which now takes pride of place in its own room. You can now admire it's delicate metal embroidery and beetle shell embellishments from every angle as you walk around it. The dress is over one hundred years old but it still able to captivate the room, much as it did when Lady Curzon wore it to the Delhi Durbar ball in 1903. Designed not only as as a beautiful fashion item but also as a deliberate political statement.