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Gumbo's Pic of the Day, March 29, 2014: Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, England


Notice the initials, ES, crowning this magnificent house and it may give you a clue to the personality of Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury, known as Bess of Hardwick.  Bess became the wealthiest woman in Tudor England, next to the queen, inheriting fortunes from 3 of her 4 husbands and was fully engaged in the politics of her time, the reign of Elizabeth I.

She owned a number of houses and estates, including Chatsworth, also in Derbyshire, but Hardwick Hall was the one she built for herself, between 1590 and 1597.  Glass was a luxury and, symbolic of her wealth and her determination to flaunt it, the house was designed to have exceptionally large windows, which lead to the saying, “Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall”.  The result, for current visitors, is an amazingly modern-feeling house.  It’s belonged to the National Trust since 1959 and is open to the public.  I highly recommend a visit, should you find yourself in the neighborhood.



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