Hardwick Hall

Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire is an architecturally significant country house from the Elizabethan era, a leading example of the Elizabethan prodigy house. Built between 1590 and 1597 for Bess of Hardwick, it was designed by the architect Robert Smythson, an exponent of the Renaissance style. Hardwick Hall is one of the earliest examples of the English interpretation of this style, which came into fashion having slowly spread from Florence. Its arrival in Britain coincided with the period when it was no longer necessary or legal to fortify a domestic dwelling.

Hardwick Hall
"More glass than wall"
TypeProdigy house
LocationDoe Lea, Ault Hucknall
Coordinates53°10′08″N 1°18′32″W
OS grid referenceSK 463 637
AreaDerbyshire
Built15901597
ArchitectRobert Smythson
Architectural style(s)Renaissance
OwnerNational Trust
Listed Building – Grade I
Official nameHardwick Hall
Designated11 Jul 1951
Reference no.1051617
Location of Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire
Hardwick's skyline features six rooftop banqueting house pavilions with Bess of Hardwick's initials "ES" (Elizabeth Shrewsbury) in openwork.
Chimneypiece in High Great Chamber
Hardwick's long gallery in the 1890s
Hardwick's long gallery today

After ownership for centuries by the Cavendish family and the line of the Earl of Devonshire and the Duke of Devonshire, ownership of the house was transferred to the Treasury in 1956 and then to the National Trust in 1959. The building was ruinous and required stabilisation and a subsequent restoration.[1]

The Hall is fully open to the public and received 298,283 visitors in 2019.[2]