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'that whyche ys nedefoulle and nesesary': the nature and purpose of the original furnishings and decoration of Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire

By Gillian White


This study considers the nature and purpose of the original furnishings and decoration of Hardwick Hall. It analyses surviving artefacts, inventories, accounts and other documentation, as well as other comparative contemporary literary and visual sources. It seeks to reveal more about Bess of Hardwick's motives and processes in creating the interior of Hardwick.\ud The Introduction includes a brief biography of Bess and a survey of existing literature on Hardwick. It also indicates the scope for new work.\ud Chapter Two provides a context for the later chapters by considering the organisation of space within the building and its social significance. In order to understand the relationship between the two Hardwick Halls a detailed analysis of the Old Hall's whole layout is offered for the first time.\ud Chapter Three analyses the furnishings as physical objects. It asks what Bess owned, how she acquired it, how she used it and how her practices compared with other peoples'. Discussion is based on the 1601 inventory, Bess's household accounts, surviving artefacts and other comparative material. Bess's unpublished will and earlier inventories of Chatsworth and Northaw are also included in the analysis and presented as appendices.\ud Chapter Four analyses three iconographic themes: the assertion of identity, the government of the self, and the government of the nation. This is done by making detailed case studies and seeking to interpret the objects through contemporary ideas, sources and examples.\ud Chapter Five summarises the chief fmdings and interprets them in the context of Bess as a patron, her resources, influences and motivation.\ud The principal conclusions are that Bess did not invest heavily in creating Hardwick, that she did not create a palace for her royal grand-daughter and, most surprisingly, that she did not seek to build a house for the Cavendish dynasty. Instead, she created a personal monument

Topics: DA, NK
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