Explore Kedleston Hall - from Rome to India

A view of the river and bridge and hall at Kedleston, Derbyshire

Step inside Kedleston Hall to discover the interior of an 18th-century show palace.

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.

Nathaniel Curzon, 5th Baronet and 1st Baron Scarsdale as a baby on his mother's lap, responsible for the commission the Kedleston Hall we see today.
A painting showing Nathaniel Curzon, 5th Baronet Scarsdale 1st baron scarsdale as a baby on him mothers lap
Nathaniel Curzon, 5th Baronet and 1st Baron Scarsdale as a baby on his mother's lap, responsible for the commission the Kedleston Hall we see today.

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 family's great banquets and dinner parties.

The ceiling of the Kedleston Hall saloon
a view up of kedlestons saloon ceiling
The ceiling of the Kedleston Hall saloon

The State Floor

The State Floor reflects the austere grandeur of a show palace. It was purposely designed to showcase the family's wealth and power and to display 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 finishing touches to a mammoth restoration of Kedleston's state bed
a conservator stitching the coverlet on the restored state bed
The finishing touches to a mammoth restoration of Kedleston's state bed

Edwardian Kedleston

The ground floor is a stark contrast to the 18th century glamour above. It was decorated to reflect the fact that it was a 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 ground floor entrance to Kedleston dates to the Edwardian period
A view of the columed Caesars Hall on the ground floor
The ground floor entrance to Kedleston dates to the Edwardian period

The 'Eastern Museum'

The ‘Eastern Museum’ on the ground floor of the hall displays many of the precious objects acquired by George Curzon during his Viceroyship of India and related travels in Asia and the Middle East. With an emphatically colonial provenance, this collection represents a diversity of cultural and artistic traditions as well as the spoils of empire.
 

Look closer at the objects on display in Kedleston's Eastern Museum
a display case in Kedleston's Eastern Museum
Look closer at the objects on display in Kedleston's Eastern Museum

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 its delicate metal embroidery and beetle shell embellishments from every angle. 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. It was designed not only as a beautiful object of fashion, but also as a deliberate political statement expressing British colonial power.

Every inch of the Peacock dress is designed to flatter and wow
The delicate lace draping across the shoulders of the peacock dress
Every inch of the Peacock dress is designed to flatter and wow