Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chatsworth: The Chapel

The room that has had the least alteration over the years at Chatsworth is the chapel. In this amazing example of baroque architecture Georgiana said her daily prayers to appease her mother. I'm sure the alter has witnessed many desperate prayers for sons. But what an amazing place to say your private prayers in! The walls are covered with cedars carvings and the brushwork of Louis Laguerre. The ceiling, like the one in the great hall, also contains a Laguerre mural. It shows Christ in Glory and is done in muted tones (compared with that of the hall) of brown which compliment the rich reddish tones of the cedar. The centerpiece of the room is the grand altar, carved out of Derbyshire Alabaster. The allegorical figures of Faith and Justice flank a painting of Doubting Thomas at the top of the altar. Exquisitely carved garlands and drapery is part of the sculpture decoration. For the best view of this magnificent stonework there is a cedar balcony on the opposite end of the room. The Cavendish family flag with the heads of three harts hangs on the balcony.

The most breathtaking aspect of the chapels is the how the murals meld with the architecture. The paintings form trompe l'oeil's so it is difficult to determine whether a pillar on the balcony is real or part of the painting. My favourite aspect of the room was groups of angels painted in the corners of the ceiling. They are executed so perfectly that they appear to be sitting on the rafters. Unfortunately photographs are unable to capture this on film and mine are blurry due to lack of flash to protect the amazing artwork. To grasp the full effect of the chapel one must visit it in person. However, I believe in the upcoming movie they depict Georgiana's marriage being in this very chapel (which it wasn't) so it's beauty will hopefully be captured on film.


  1. I know what you mean about hard to photograph! These were all I could manage:

  2. Wow. I had to do a double take at the first two, they look exactly like ones I took!