Hardwick Hall

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Robert Smythson, 1535–1614

Derbyshire, UK; 1590–97

Hardwick Hall, which still makes a powerful impression today, escaped the normal financial and practical constraints of house design. It was built for Bess of Hardwick, who was born at the old hall, a conventional manor house, which remains standing in ruins close to its replacement. Bess married well four times, outlived her husbands and inherited from them. As Countess of Shrewsbury, she moved the family seat to Chatsworth, further west in Derbyshire, and commissioned the first house there, but it was replaced at the end of the eighteenth century.

Her house at Hardwick survives ...

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